What Small Businesses Need to Know about Gmail’s New Inbox

Google recently announced that Gmail will be getting a brand new inbox on both desktop and mobile, designed to help users stay organized and on top of their email.

This new inbox separates email into five tabs:

Primary – Person-to-person conversations and messages that don’t appear in other tabs.

Social – Messages from social networks, media-sharing sites, online dating services, and other social websites.

Promotions – Deals, offers, and other marketing emails.

Updates – Personal, auto-generated updates including confirmations, receipts, bills, and statements.

Forums – Messages from online groups you belong to, discussion boards, etc.

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You can pick and choose which tabs you want to use (by default, Primary, Social, and Promotions will be checked) or you can un-check all of the tabs if you aren’t interested and go back to the Gmail inbox that you are used to.

Gmail will automatically categorize your email for you, but it will also learn as you move emails around and sort messages on your own (just drag and drop messages into the different tabs).

Here’s a look at the new inbox with all five tabs in action:

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Gmail’s new inbox has been rolling over the past few weeks. To check if you have access to it, just click the “gear” icon in the top right of your inbox and select Configure Inbox.

What it means for you

First, it’s important to note that Gmail is not requiring this change for anyone right now. Users will have to opt-in to get the new inbox.

From what we can tell so far, it looks like Constant Contact emails will show up in the Promotions tab. While this means that there’s now an extra step for someone to see and read your email, there are things that you can do to make sure you won’t get lost in the shuffle:

  1. Great content is what makes people look forward to receiving your emails. Focus on creating content that is relevant and valuable.
  2. Always ask for permission. If your subscribers have actively signed up for your emails and you are sending them great content, they will find it.
  3. Remind Gmail users with the new inbox to move your emails into the Primary tab. They can do this simply by dragging and dropping the email into the Primary tab or by starring the email.
  4. It’s never been more important to follow all of the standard email marketing best practices. Here’s a quick list of resources that you can use to help you get meaningful business results from your email marketing efforts.

Tell us what you think about Gmail’s new inbox in the comments below.

Want to learn more about Gmail Tabs? Read this interview with Constant Contact’s CEO – Gail Goodman on InformationWeek.com.

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