Beware the deadly Promotions Tab, the latest “improvement” for Gmail users! That’s what communicators like us have have been sweating about in the past few weeks.
In case you haven’t heard, Google is now automatically filtering Gmail users’ email messages to pre-defined content tabs. They’re sending emails from friends and family to the Primary Inbox (where we’re used to looking all the time), and sending most e-newsletters and other emails from organizations (including the Getting Attention blog and e-news) to the new (secondary by default) Promotions tab.
If you’re a Gmail user, you won’t see Getting Attention and other content you rely on in the location it’s always been in (Inbox). And, if you’re not aware of this change, you may not see it at all. But far worse, members of your organization’s email list who use Gmail addresses are no longer seeing your emails in their Primary inboxes.
Take a deep breath! Most of us have been setting up filters for years now to sort the mass of emails we receive on a daily basis.
This change is going to impact your organization’s ability to interact with your supporters and partners. Email vendor MailChimp reported that open rates were down right after the change. But take these four actions right now to make sure users who want to read your content will find and read it:
1) Size the challenge for your organization: Take a look at your current email list to see how many members have Gmail addresses. Then extract that segment and analyze it. If your Gmail users are a significant percentage of your most active supporters—the ones who open, click and act most regularly—the impact of the change is serious, and you’ll want to respond quickly and strategically.
2) Walk your Gmail addressees through the change (if they see your emails!) to ensure they know how to find and manage your emails in the new Gmail. Provide easy how-tos to:
- Turn off tabs to leave Gmail the way it was before the changes happened
- Move favorite email content (like yours, I hope) to the Primary Tab
- Use the Promotions tab (or create a custom tab) for the top email content they receive. Some users claim to be paying more attention to marketing emails now that they are not mixed in with family and friends emails.
3) Work harder than ever to provide timely, relevant content to your community. That’s a long-time must but this latest Gmail change—making it easier than ever for users to never see your content—ups the ante.
Be in close touch with your people via email, Facebook and whatever it takes to keep on top of what they want. Overlap that with your nonprofit’s priorities to find the sweet spot of relevance—daily!
This can be a real game-changer for your nonprofit, since most email content providers don’t do this right. That makes it even more advantageous for your nonprofit to do so.
4) Measure like you’ve never measured before. It’s the only way to test relevance and fine-tune the next time round.
BTW, I don’t think this change signals the end of email any more than those that came before it. What it does signal is that email, like other channels from the US Postal Service to Facebook, is now in a state of continual evolution, as are the wants and preferences of our audiences.
For you as for me, keeping on top of the major changes among them, and evolving our communications approaches accordingly, is only way to strengthen relationships and motivate supporters and partners to take action. If you resist, you’ll fail to connect. Please join me in going forward.
P.S. Get this free Right-Things, Right-Now Marketing Plan Template to shape and execute the most relevant marketing possible. Includes guide to measurement, assessment and revision.