If you use Gmail as your email provider, you may have noticed a very big change recently – and it has the potential to greatly hinder your email marketing campaigns. In fact, if you’ve noticed a sudden drop in open-rates and clicks, this could very well be the reason why, as Gmail is a very popular email provider.
Basically, Gmail now separates users’ emails into separate subcategories, one of which includes “Promotions.” What this means is that your emails may not ever be seen at all by the recipient at all unless they make it a point to go directly to see what’s in their Promotions folder, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that is unlikely to happen without some extra effort on your part.
Google Promotions
This can be quite convenient for people who are tried of the inbox filling up with promos, but if you’re a marketer it can be a tad concerning. Your emails aren’t going to get opened often if they never even get seen. So what can you do about it?

1. Create Newsletters People Search For

If you’re not already, you need to creating the type of email lists that people crave. In other words, you want to make the information sent out in your email sequence so valuable that people go looking for it, and on top of that you need to create a state of expectation.
The best way I’ve found to do this is by offering an online “course” in the form of your email sequences. A step-by-step delivery of information, like a 10-part series, for instance. This gives you a way to grab attention with your free course and then win your readers over for the long run.

2. Make Your Messages Easy to Find

Also, make your emails easy to spot so when they do open the promo folder they don’t have to do a lot of looking around. Try using an identifier for your newsletter or course – you can use the same subject line in every email, a brand, or simply begin it with an acronym.
For example, if you name your email newsletter “Weekly Internet Marketing Updates,” you can start off each subject line with [WIMU].
It’s also a good idea to walk your readers through automatically labeling messages from your email with a color code.

3. Drop Time Bombs On Them

Create urgency by creating a “time bomb” for your readers. Make the offer you use to get them on your list time-sensitive, so they only have so much time to claim your offer before it expires. This will send them rushing to retrieve the beginning messages before they forget about you.

4. Walk Them Through the Change

The biggest strength you have in fighting this Gmail change is your level of communication with your customers. Walk them through it. Explain to them, step-by-step, how to designate your emails to be immediately sent to the inbox in Gmail instead of the promo box. Explain to them that doing so will ensure they don’t miss out on any of the solid information you’re sending over, and hit those pain buttons!
You may want to mention this is possible at the bottom of every email you send out, like you do with your unsubscribe link.

5. Remind Them of Important Emails

Leverage your other contact points with your readers to make sure they know when important emails are coming. This typically only works if you’ve got the type of business that people are paying attention to (and you should). Then you can mention in your blog and on social media that a particularly important message has been sent, recommending Gmail users check their promo folder as well.
Source: flickr.com/photos/ian_munroe/
Does Gmail’s change spell the end of email marketing? No, of course not. But it is a sign that you’re going to have to make your email strategy more robust than ever, with more valuable, informative messages to get attention and keep it. Are you ready to up your game?