August 9, 2013

Google’s Getting Between You And Your Customers

small business google appsGoogle’s recent ‘Tab’ addition to Gmail was initially celebrated until some folks started realizing that the newsletters they were sending out – the newsletters their customers had opted into – were being categorized under the ‘Promotions’ tab.  Not surprisingly, people spend most of the time in their ‘Primary’ tab which meant these emails were being left unopened.  (This might also explain why, if you subscribe to the Small Food Business newsletter, you haven’t see it yet today even though it was due to be sent out at 10:30a EST).  So how do you remedy this?

Solid, interesting, informative, and engaging e-newsletters remain one of the best ways to stay in touch with your customers.  With the changes to Facebook, it’s now hard to get your  message to all of your fans and Twitter can be fleeting and easy to miss a message, but e-newsletters at least ensured that your message was getting into customers’ inboxes.  Whether or not they chose to open those newsletters was another story.

The problem, folks are finding, with Google’s changes to Gmail is that now those e-newsletters are getting automatically shuttled over to the Promotions tab which most people don’t spend a ton of time looking at.  MailChimp, a e-mail marketing company (in full disclosure, I use MailChimp to design and send the Small Food Business e-newsletters), found that open rates had declined slightly based on all of the e-newsletters that are sent through their portal.  Whether that will be long-lasting remains to be seen.

So, most importantly though, you’ve cultivated this list of e-newsletter subscribers and you want to make sure they receive your newsletter.  Now what?  First of all, keep in mind that the tab changes only appear to affect personal Gmail inboxes and not business email accounts that are using Gmail and Google’s Small Business Apps.  This means that only your customers who have asked to receive your e-newsletter into their personal Gmail account will be impacted – not anyone using any other forms of email service.

However, with Gmail being the largest email service out there, this is not small worry.  As such, the best you can do for now is to ask your customers to check their Promotions tab and, if your newsletter is there and they want to continue to receive it in a timely manner, they need to move it from their Promotions tab into their Primary tab.  The good news is that once they’ve alerted Gmail once, those e-newsletters will show up in your Primary tab from now on.

Steps To Move e-Newsletters From Your Promotions Tab To Your Primary Tab In Gmail

1. I tested this out in my own personal Gmail account.  In the below screenshot, I checked my Promotions tab and found the SmallFoodBiz e-newsletter there.

gmail newsletter

2. All your customers need to do is drag and drop the e-newsletter and other messages they want to receive into the Primary tab.

gmail impacting enewsletter open rate

3. A box will appear asking if you want to permanently move all messages from this sender to your Primary tab. Clicking yes ensures that your customers will receive your e-newsletters from now on.

sending newsletter gmail

Moving the newsletters, as you can see, is not that hard, but it does require that your customers take the extra step of moving them into the primary tab. Because not too many people are yet aware of how the addition of tabs to Gmail impacts e-newsletters, make sure your customers know and provide them with information on how make changes.

I hope it goes without saying that I’d love it if you could move the SmallFoodBiz e-newsletter to your Primary tab if your receiving it via your personal Gmail account.

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