It’s been quite some time since Gmail introduced tabs to its inbox. While all of your emails use to land in one inbox, now they are automatically separated into multiple categories (Primary, Social, and Promotions tabs) via a Google algorithm.

As a Gmail user, I – like many marketers – was taken aback by the changes that took place to my inbox overnight, and fearful of the dive my open and response rates would take.  But here we are in 2014, and email marketing hasn’t taken the catastrophic hit that we may have anticipated.

Here’s why:

3   Gmail Tab Realities and How They Affect Your Small Business Email Marketing


1)      Gmail Tabs Don’t Actually Affect Too Many Gmail Users –

While Gmail is the most popular email provider with 425 million users, the new inbox change hasn’t even affected a fourth of the overall user base.

Why such a low number of email users affected by the change?

It’s due to the rise in popularity of mobile devices.

As of now, the tab feature is only supported in official Gmail apps for Android and IOS. This means that those who read email through the mail device on their iPhone or Android device are not affected by the email layout change.

Litmus recently conducted a study on 5 million Gmail users and found that only 19% of Gmail users actually open their emails using Gmail. The take away? The new tabs feature might not affect as many Gmail users as we originally thought.



2)      Relevancy is now more important than ever

If you consider your email strategy blasting out a one-size-fits-all newsletter to all of your contacts, think again! Not only will this land you in the Promotions tab, but will most likely result in you getting disregarded all together.

The key to Email Marketing is to provide relevant content over time that provides value to your contacts. The way to do this is by segmenting your contacts into identifiable groups and providing content that meets their interests or solves a problem they are facing. In small business CRMs, like Hatchbuck, you can segment leads in the sales pipeline or tag them by their interest category.


3)      Ask and You Shall Receive

If you have a large following of dedicated readers, supply them with the information they need to receive your content into the Primary tab with no problem!

All a Gmail user needs to do is to take your email and drag it into the tab they would like to receive your emails in. Gmail will then pop up an alert and ask the user if they would like to this for all future emails from you. It’s easy for your contacts to do, and will guarantee you always land in the Primary inbox!

This paid off tremendously for Gap when they sent an email asking their customers to move them back into their inbox. Sometimes all you need to do is ask and you shall receive! Make sure you continue to provide relevant and engaging content for your followers after asking them for a favor!





As you see, the Gmail tab feature doesn’t have to be a detriment to your email marketing! As of a rule of thumb, make sure you are always sending to a list that has opted-in to receiving your content. Once you have a confirmed group of contacts, make sure to segment them according to their needs or interest and provide them content that is relevant to them. This is the easiest way to ensure you land in Primary tab, and continue to see high percentage of open rates and click throughs!