Google Inbox offers users a new way to sort and view email, which could make it more difficult for many email marketers to stay visible.
The Bundle feature in Google Inbox allows users to more easily sort related content, such as bank statements and promotional offers. According to the Google blog, the intention behind Bundle is to group similar email in order to “swipe them out of the way,” which doesn’t bode well for marketers already caught in the no man’s land of Gmail’s “Promotional” tab, which filters most marketing email away from the primary inbox.
Content, and not a misleading headline, is key to staying relevant in Google Inbox, according to Jesse Noyes, senior director of content marketing for Kapost. “Bundle will make it harder to break through within the noise of Inbox by neatly categorizing messages by promotional nature,” says Noyes. “Many marketers will try to game this system, much in the way content farms tried to game Google search results, but this is an ultimately doomed strategy. Marketers need to adapt by creating content that offers a fresh look at a trend, ties into the intended audiences concerns and issues, and doesn’t overtly push product.”
Content should add value to a customer’s Inbox before pushing offers and promotions, says Noyes. For example, a sneaker company announcing a new type of running shoe will probably be sent straight to a seldom-seen Bundle. But an email that offers tips on improving running times adds value and is more likely to be read.
Noyes says that with Inbox, marketers must try harder than ever to anticipate customers’ needs. “Understand what drives a person to open your email. Is it because they desperately want new running shoes or because they want to improve their running performance and avoid injuries? If you can establish value first through your content, you’ll have a much better chance of getting into the inbox.”
Google Inbox is still invitation-only, and audiences may be slow to adopt the new technology. Noyes warns that marketers need to wait “to see if this is Google’s next Gmail or Googles next Wave” before making any adjustments. Google Wave was the company’s short lived 2009 messaging and file sharing system that turned users off with its complicated features and difficult-to-navigate configuration.
However, if Inbox does take off, marketers need to be aware that fewer emails will show up on users’ screens. “If that stays true,” Noyes says, “the chance of getting ignored will likely go up. You need to be recognizable to stand out.”
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