Remember when Gmail added tabbed inboxes to Gmail?
Email marketers were freaking out because promotional emails were suddenly being relegated to a “Promotions” tab instead of the cherished “Primary” inbox.
The common wisdom at that time was to plead with subscribers to drag these emails back into the primary inbox – as if marketing emails were as important as emails from your boss, or your mom. Yes, common wisdom is often an oxymoron.
Well, now Google is up to more shenanigans with Inbox.
Note: Inbox is now invite-only for gmail users (send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for an invite).
The Google Inbox App seeks to solve email overload with several new features:
1. Bundled Emails with the Google Inbox App
Inbox automatically groups similar e-mails into bundles, like in the screenshot below.
With the Google Inbox app, users simply click the bundle to view emails in that bundle.
Inbox has several standard bundles, including “Travel”, “Purchases”, “Updates” and “Promos”. Plus, you can create your own custom bundles, which makes sense since everyone processes email differently.
2. Better Email Processing with the Google Inbox App
Inbox includes email management and reminder features that let you pin e-mails to the top of your inbox, mark e-mails as done, and even hit a “Snooze” button if you’d rather respond to certain e-mails later.
3. Highlighted Summaries in the Google Inbox App
Inbox also has a feature called “Highlights” that makes scanning emails easier.
Highlights calls out critical info in each email, such as subject line, pre-header text, and even the time and date of events in calendar invites (as shown above).
The goal with the Google inbox app is to make e-mail management for breeze for you and me.
But as you can imagine, inbox creates new headaches for email marketers.
Here are just a few considerations for how you should adjust your email marketing strategy to deal with Inbox:
- Create a Gmail segment: Create a new segment for gmail subscribers in your email marketing software. This will give you an easy way to measure the impact of Inbox, and tweak your content specifically for gmail users.
- Write a Preheader: With the Google inbox app, one line of preheader text is displayed next to the subject line. Make sure you use this pre-header to sell subscribers on why they should open your e-mail.
- Google+ Profile Pictures: With Inbox, the sender image is pulled from your verified Google+ page, so make sure you have a profile picture that stands out in the inbox.
- Optimize Images: Images are automatically downloaded in inbox, so make sure that you use alt-text in images.
- Create useful content: If you continue to write compelling relevant emails, you’ll have a huge advantage over other brands and nonprofits who are competing for inbox attention. This will always be the case, regardless of how much email technology changes.
Don’t Tell Your Email Subscribers What to Do
E-mail is personal. Everyone has a different way of processing theirs.
Don’t waste your time sending an e-mail telling your subscribers how to make sure they don’t miss your email. The best way to do that is to offer value in your e-mail, which you should have done regardless of inbox.