Last October, we blogged about Google’s solution to inbox overload. A year later and your newsletter subscribers have inboxes filled with only important content. That’s because, thanks to Priority Inbox, Smart Labels and filters, the Gmail inbox can prioritize mail according to reading habits and avoid spam altogether. When an email is read, it gains a higher priority in the inbox; and when a message goes unread or deleted, its sender gets pushed to the bottom of the list.
- Who you email: If you email Bob a lot, it’s likely that messages from Bob are important.
- Which messages you open: Messages you open are likely to be more important than those you skip over.
- What keywords spark your interest: If you always read messages about soccer, a new message that contains those same soccer words is more likely to be important.
- Which messages you reply to: If you always reply to messages from your mom, messages she sends are likely to be important.
- Your recent use of stars, archive and delete: Messages you star are probably more important than messages you archive without opening.
The new Smart Labels feature is currently available in Gmail Labs and can be activated by each Gmail user who wants to take advantage of it. Email users are looking for ways to reduce noise. All’s well for the subscriber, but Smart Labels are one of the many up-and-coming tools that will pose a challenge for email marketers.
As a marketer, best start planning for these potential changes now:
- Combine email with other channels like blogging and social media.
- Increase email marketing engagement. If your recipients engage with your emails by clicking on them and sharing them, it is more likely that your messages will stay out of the bulk mail folder and land in the inbox.
- Set expectations at opt-in. If a person isn’t anticipating your message and offers, your email will most likely get assigned to the bulk mail folder and ignored. When you are clear with subscribers from the beginning – how frequently they will receive your emails, why these messages provide value – you increase the odds that your emails will be seen, even if they are trapped within a Smart Label.
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