How your newsletter can cope with the new Gmail Inboxes

If your non-profit’s newsletter has a lot of subscribers who are using Gmail, then you might have noticed a dip over the summer. The reason might not only be that ice cream and BBQs are more enticing than your newsletters, but might be caused by Gmail’s new inbox design.

For a couple of months now, Gmail users who are using the default inbox have a tabbed layout that de-facto splits the inbox into four inboxes: the “Primary inbox” as well as three additional tabs called “Social”, “Updates” and “Promotions”.  Take a look at the video below to see what it’s all about.

Using Gmail? Don't miss the Social Media for Good Newsletter

The email I sent to my Gmail subscribers.

As a recipient of email, I welcome anything that helps me separate the important emails from the rest. But as a communicator, I want to make sure that my communication doesn’t get pushed into the “promotions” or “updates” tab – but that is exactly what has been happening. Mailchimp noticed that opening rates of their customers have consistently been going down since Gmail introduced the new design.

The reason is obvious: while your newsletter used to arrived in the users inbox chronologically, he/she is now more likely to see it whenever he decided to deal with all the promotions and updates he/she get’s. The mindset is probably similar to when we go through a stack of flyers before deciding what to throw away – this is not how and when you want to reach people.

Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet. All you can do is ask your subscribers to manually tell Gmail to always put your emails into their primary inbox. Here is an example of how I did that a couple of weeks ago for the Social Media for Good Newsletter. Ideally you should already include these instructions for all new subscribers who come from a Gmail-address. Of course, these instructions will probably not arrive in their primary inbox, but there is simply nothing you can do about that

To give credit where credit is due: I didn’t come up with this text myself, but copied it almost complete from the Tablet Hotels newsletter, a hotel booking website I sometimes use for boutique hotels.

Have you noticed changes in how many Gmail users are opening your emails?