As you probably know, Google has recently decided to sort our email for us into tabs. Now, unless turned off, or a specific action is taken, email marketing messages will land in the Promotions tab. According to this post on MailChimp, it is affecting open rates, but so far not by much.

If you are a marketer relying on email open rates to earn a living, rather than try to outsmart Google, you might want to ask your subscribers to manually make some changes so that your emails end up in their Primary mailbox.

Many people are educating their subscribers immediately on the confirmation and thank you pages, and many others are also adding extra info to the bottom of all outgoing emails. It’s probably a good idea to follow suit and do both.

gmail tabs

How Do We Make Certain Subscribers Are Getting Our Emails In Their Primary Inbox?

Like I said, we must tell the subscribers how to set their inbox up so that they get our emails into their Primary inbox. Our first opportunities are on the confirmation and thank you pages right after they sign up.

And while we can pass their email address back to our pages, we shouldn’t assume that we should only show these instructions to those with emails. As an example, I personally have a Google Account mapped to my domain and I use the Gmail interface, so just showing the message to everyone is probably best.

And before you think that only advanced users have Google Accounts (thank you, you’re very kind) and they won’t need tab instructions, consider that Google Accounts can be setup by the IT department for an organization. The user might not be sure about any of the “techy” stuff.

There are a few different ways that you can inform subscibers what to do.

You can use one or more of the following: text, animated gifs, images, and/or video (screencast).

All have their place, and all can get the message across. I would personally recommend using something more than just text though.

I use a Chrome add on called Awesome Screenshot (free) to take screenshots. And I use Screencast-o-matic (free or $15/year) to make screencasts. You can get away with a cheap goose neck mic plugged into the soundcard but I recently bought a better USB mic and it makes a world of difference.

What Do We Tell Subscribers To Do?

First, ask if they are Gmail users. If they are then direct them to the brief tutorial that you setup.

There are three different ways the Gmail account can be setup to have emails go into the Primary box rather than Promotions. Provide a simple route for your subscribers to follow.

  • Drag and Drop – Drag an email from promotions to primary. The user will be asked to confirm that all messages from that email address be sent there automatically from there on out. Tell them to click on the ol’ Yes link.
  • Right Click – Right click an email, choose “Move to tab,” then select Primary. The same yellow box will appear asking if the change should be automatic moving forward. Note that the right clicking approach won’t work in all browsers.
  • Remove tabs completely

In might be a little much asking users to remove the tabs completely, and since the right-click approach may not work for everyone, my suggestion is to assume that everyone can drag and drop, and demonstrate that method.

I know we are already coaching subscribers how to click the confirmation link, etc. but we must adapt as things change. And things always change.

Watch the video below as I demonstrate how to move emails from the promotions tab, plus I’ll show you how some other marketers are informing subscribers.