What Consultants Need to Know about Gmail’s Tabbed Inbox

Many consultants and small businesses rely on email newsletters to market their businesses to clients and prospects.  If this sounds like you, you might be concerned about the new ‘Promotions’ tab in Gmail.  By default, Gmail will now put your opt-in email newsletters under a Promotions tab instead of the Primary inbox.

Emails from WIC in the Promotions tab of the new Gmail interface

Emails from WIC in the Promotions tab of the new Gmail interface

The industry is talking about and researching these changes daily.  MarketingProfs* has published a series of articles on the Gmail changes, including the optimistic assessment Email Marketers, Start Thanking Google for the New Gmail Interface.  And ReturnPath, which studies email inbox placement, noted very little drop-off in read rates after the roll-out of tabs (Gmail Tabs Analysis: Don’t Panic Just Yet).


Here’s what you need to know right now.

Your mileage may vary

The consensus is that it is too early to tell exactly how this will affect you:

  • Not all of your recipients will be affected.  Even for Gmail users, many use other clients to read email.
  • Your email ‘opens’ may be lower when your emails end up in the Promotions tab.
  • On the other hand, click-throughs could be higher if your prospects are actually in a shopping or reading mood (rather than in a sorting and deleting mode) when they visit the Promotions tab.

You’ll need to track your own results over the next several months to see if this change is having a negative effect.


What you can do today

If you think that your email results are suffering, educate your readers about how to make sure they see your emails.  Ask them to either select your email and drag it to the Primary inbox, or click on the gold star by the email.  Gmail will ‘learn’ that this email is important to you.  Watch your own email for examples of instructions – major retailers have already started campaigns to get people to redirect their emails.

Clicking on the star by an email in Promotions redirects it to the Primary inbox.

Clicking on the star by an email in Promotions redirects it to the Primary inbox.

Stay focused on your content and relationships

The most important thing that you can do, of course, is to provide content that your clients and prospects want to read.  As a consultant or small business, you have an advantage over bigger companies – a more personal connection.  Make sure you stay relevant and engaging, and people will keep opening your email.


For WIC members who are Gmail users:

If you’re either a full or community member of Women In Consulting and use Gmail, your WIC emails will end up under the Promotions tab by default.  These include:

  • Regular emails from the WIC office about upcoming events
  • WIC Community, Off-Topic and Members-Only email list digests – an important benefit of membership
  • Any special announcements from the WIC office

The WIC Community and Members-Only lists often have time-sensitive listings for consulting opportunities.  If you don’t want to miss out on these queries for consulting services, then hit the gold star on these emails.  Gmail will learn and redirect future messages.

*MarketingProfs, a WIC partner, is a valuable resource of marketing information.  WIC members get a considerable discount on their MarketingProfs memberships.  See WIC’s partner discount page for details.


About Anne Janzer

Anne Janzer is a professional writer who has worked with more than one hundred technology companies. She is author of the books The Writer’s Process and Subscription Marketing.

She enjoys working with writers to improve their processes and help them bring new books into the world. Follow her posts at annejanzer.com.

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