With around 1,454,989 other things to worry about in your day-to-day activities, one of the last things you may consider a threat is email. But the new Gmail tab interface could really impact your marketing strategy.

Overview Of The New Gmail Tabs

gmail-tabs-impact-business-inbox-settingsYou may have noticed that your Gmail interface has changed a bit. Tired of the all-in-one email format, Google decided that your inbox would be better organized if your email was divided into 3 tabs: Primary, Social, and Promotions (w/ Updates and Forums tabs available, too)

There has been a lot of mixed reviews on the change. I’ve seen complaints of people’s important bills being categorized wrong, so the organization of emails into the separate tabs is something that may take a different shape later on. If you don’t like it, you can simply change the format in your Gmail settings.

For a quick overview, check out the intro to Gmail tabs below:

How the New Gmail Tabs May Affect Your Business

Many people will decide to keep this new Gmail interface. As a result, your business may be affected by one culprit: The Promotions Tab.

Promotions includes everything that Google considers an offer, deal, or general marketing email. As you can see from my Promotions tab below, Google has automatically stuffed everything from LivingSocial, Banana Republic, and the World Rugby Shop in there.


There’s a good bet that you don’t enjoy being solicited, at least not regularly. Now that Google separates these messages from my normal inbox feed, I don’t ever have to see these promotions again if I don’t want to. 

That “if” clause is what this whole conspiracy about the impact of Gmail tabs comes down to. If your email marketing is good, and your recipients recognize this, they will continue to read your emails. If your email marketing is bad (or even just so-so) your recipients will probably forget your emails exist.

Good-to-great email marketing can mean a couple of good things:

  • Your marketing emails are no longer cluttered among a lot of other (and often more important) work and personal emails, where they can quickly be forgotten
  • Your audience recognizes that they want to keep seeing your emails on a regular basis and drags your promotion from Promotions to the Primary tab (where the good stuff is), prompting this box:


Bad-to-average email marketing can mean a couple of not-so-good things:

  • Your marketing emails that have previously been seen and opened may just pile up in the Promotions tab and never see the light of day
  • Your promotions may not look as good sitting next to other (perhaps more appealing) promotions
  • If you have a time-sensitive deal, the email recipient may not choose to browse his/her promotions until it’s too late


How You Can Control The Impact of Gmail Tabs

Simply put, you need to up your email marketing game if you want to attain the coveted “drag to the Primary tab.” Here are some ways:

  • Write better subject lines: Don’t let your subject lines drown among other promotions. You have about 10 words to captivate a reader’s attention, so make your subjects to-the-point and a little provocative. If you’re just pushing content, provocativeness is key.
  • Inform your audience of changes: Why not just tell your audience about the update to Gmail tabs? This makes it easier for the recipients that really like your emails to see it on a consistent basis. Especially let them know that they can drag the email to the Primary tab.
  • Build anticipation: This is just another way of saying “create awesome content.” It’s hard to get your audience to look forward to your content or promotions but not impossible. Content/promotions NEED to provide a lot of utility to your audience because email marketing is all about providing treats. This way, you can condition your recipients to open or seek out your emails because they’ll know that there’s always something generous and nifty inside. Specifically regarding content, if you create numbered/ordered series that provide a lot of utility (i.e. giving out a lot of useful information), you may further encourage your audience to seek out your content.

Mastering your email marketing strategy can really make this whole Gmail tabs thing as non-threatening as the Gmail Blue update.

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