A huge modification has quietly been introduced for the Gmail Inbox. Or should I say - if you know about it.
It seems to me unbelievable that such a HUGE modification to Gmail (for the better) slipped by unnoticed. Quietly. Without fanfare or announcements. Yet for those who get a large amount of email it's utterly marvellous. Potentially devastating for marketers.
If you haven't heard about it, let me introduce you to the new feature you can turn on, and how it works.
Google has created an automatic filter which does a darn good job of separating your inbox in up to five predetermined categories. You can activate a few or all five tabs, which appear across the top of your inbox. The five categories are:
1. Primary: Email that's sent specifically to you, person to person conversations or that you find important.
2. Social: Notifications from social sites - LinkedIn, Facebook etc. as well as media sharing sites.
3. Promotions: Promotions, offers, newsletters, marketing emails.
4. Updates: Personal automatically generated updates, confirmations, receipts, invoices.
5. Forums: Messages from online groups, discussions, mailing lists.
(Watch my quick 1 minute overview video)
Let's look at it with our personal user hat on.
Your new inbox will open with the primary tab, holding emails that are important to you. When done, you can then go on to the other tabs for easy skimming.
Just like Outlook has rules to read and put your email into folders, you can, and have always been able to simulate that with Gmail - using filters and labels. While this new tabbed system eliminates the need for many of your old filters (if you used them), you can still keep them with the new Inbox to further fuel your productivity in sorting what to read first or not at all.
Drag and Drop
Even better Gmail has now introduced one of the best Outlook tricks - Drag and Drop (watch my Outlook how-to video here) You drag an email from one tab to another which re-categorises that email (and all others like it - past, present and future).
You wouldn't believe how easy it is to change to the new inbox. You simply hit the settings gear dropdown which is located on the top right of your inbox (to the right of the number of emails) and select 'Configure Inbox' from the menu. If you don't like it, you can easily change it back.
Now with our business marketing hat on, what Google has enabled people to do is with one click of a button, (the 'select all' one), delete a category of email - with or without reading them. So if your newsletter falls into the promotions tab, along with 30 other items, that person can go click, delete all without even giving it a moment.
My advice for marketers? Top up your game. You've got to make your newsletter even more compelling than ever to get people to seek out your email.