Gmail Tabs: A Game Plan for Marketers


Does your business rely on email?

Are you wondering how Gmail tabs will impact your marketing?

If email is a part of your business, you’ll want to pay close attention.

In this article I’ll provide a simple 5-step plan that any marketer can use in response to Gmail tabs.

More About This Show

Social Media Marketing Podcast w/ Michael Stelzner

The Social Media Marketing podcast is a show from Social Media Examiner.

It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing.

The show format is on-demand talk radio (also known as podcasting).

In this episode, you’ll learn what the new Gmail tabs mean for your business.

You’ll also pick up some tips on what you can do and I’ll talk about my concerns for the future.

Share your feedback, read the show notes and get the links mentioned in this episode below!

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Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:

Why should marketers pay attention?

Chances are that email plays some role in your marketing. Maybe you email your subscribers when you have a new blog post or newsletter. Perhaps you have some sort of online form (for lead generation or just a simple contact form).

Email indeed plays an important role for most businesses.

Gmail is auto-filtering all emails for all users.

This means your marketing newsletters and emails will get stuck in a slightly hidden folder, no matter what you do. In that very same folder, Gmail is posting unsolicited ads that look like emails.

The bottom line with regards to these new Gmail tabs is that you will likely see a drop in your email marketing effectiveness unless you take action.

In 2012, there were 425 million Gmail users. That’s a huge number!

Social Media Examiner has 75,000+ Gmail users. Yes, 34% of our readers subscribe through a Gmail account!

There’s a pretty good likelihood you have more Gmail users than you realize.

What are Gmail tabs?

Gmail is rolling out tabs that organize your mail.

There are three default tabs: Primary, Social and Promotions (shown below).

If you haven’t already received this update on Gmail, it will likely come soon.

gmail tabs

Gmail now organizes your inbox in tabs, and places newsletters in the “Promotions” tab.

Your emails are likely going into the Promotions tab.

Tabs default “on” for all Gmail users unless your subscribers change this setting. If your subscribers don’t know how to change it, this is how they will be finding your emails.

At the time of this post, not all subscribers have tabs, but it is rolling out very quickly.

What are the marketing implications?

Gmail is becoming like Facebook.

If you use it, you use it by their rules.

I’m also concerned by the possibility that other email providers may follow Google’s lead.

This may be the beginning of the end of email as the one platform you can at least get delivery into.

With social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you can never be sure that your messages get in front of your audience.

Email has always been the one way that you could be certain of getting in front of your audience, assuming subscribers gave you permission to send them emails.

Will this change with Gmail tabs? I think so.

The updates in the Promotions tab reset each time you visit Gmail, meaning it is very easy for a Gmail user to never realize there is mail waiting in the Promotions tab.

Other email providers may follow suit. There could come a time when marketers will have to pay to play.

Your 5-step plan for dealing with Gmail tabs

Here are tips you can move on right now to help educate your Gmail readers. These are all proactive steps we have taken at Social Media Examiner.

1. Make a video educating your Gmail users.

First, educate your subscribers by making a video like the one below I made for our audience.

In this video, you’ll learn how your readers can make sure your emails show up in their Primary box. Show people how they can drag your message in the Promotions or Social tabs into their Primary inbox.

You can copy this embed code and use this video for your customers:

<iframe src="//" frameborder="0" width="420" height="315"></iframe>

2. Promote this video on your social channels.

We did this on Facebook because we have the most fans there. Consider paying for a Sponsored Post if you have a large audience on Facebook.

Here’s how we got the word out on Facebook.

3. Embed video on your email Thanks for Registering page.

The third thing you can do is to embed the video on your Thanks for Subscribing page. If you don’t have one, make one and point your successful subscriptions there.

Here’s how our subscription confirmation page looks.

4. Alter your subscription follow-up email.

Let your Gmail subscribers know what this tab does to your emails. I simply added “Use Gmail? Watch this quick video to make sure you get our updates.”

Here’s how we mentioned it in our email follow-up.

5. Segment your Gmail users and send them the video.

You should be able to search your email list and look for emails that end with

I sent out this message to our Gmail subscribers:

gmail tabs

Here’s the dedicated blast we did to our 75,000+ Gmail subscribers.

These are all things I’ve done for Social Media Examiner and I think you should do something similar if your emails are important to your business.

Key takeaways mentioned in this episode:

Ways to subscribe to the Social Media Marketing podcast:

What do you think? What are your thoughts on the new Gmail tabs? Please leave your comments below.

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