How E-mail Marketers Can Use Google Priority Inbox

If you are an email marketer—or a user of Gmail—you know that Google recently rolled out a new version of the inbox view for its email product called Priority Inbox.

In a nutshell, Priority Inbox arranges the items in your Gmail inbox by priority, grouping email you are more likely to be interested in and placing it above the rest of your email. Google does this based on email you have opened before, and continues to refine its prioritization by your ongoing interactions with your inbox.

So what does that mean for email marketers?

First, it means that best practices for email relevance are more important than ever. And it also can be a reason to send a highly targeted message.

Focus on best practices.

If you thought open rate was important before, now it could also mean the difference between appearing at the top of a recipient’s inbox—or at the bottom.

The List Engage blog highlights some key factors for keeping your opt-in list emails a high priority, including segmentation, subject line, urgency of your call to action and optimization of send frequency.

In other words, it comes back to the things that have always mattered:

  • Relevance. Are you sending the right offer to the right people at the right time? Segment, segment, segment. Then A/B test your subject lines and test them again.
  • Urgency. Why should your email be opened now?
  • Frequency. What is the optimal number of times a week or month you can send to your list before open rates (and conversion rates) drop? It may not be the frequency you think; test this, too.

Ask loyal subscribers to help.

One of our favorite responses from an email marketer was from Moosejaw Mountaineering. Subject line: “Google’s Priority Inbox made especially for Moosejaw.”

The message begins by saying “We’re pretty sure that Google designed their new Priority Inbox to make sure that you get your Moosejaw emails ahead of the less important stuff from your family, friends and work. Rumor has it that they were going to automatically make all Moosejaw emails high priority, but The Wang Foundation got wind of it and Google had to just launch as-is.”

It then goes on to give detailed instructions on how to mark its email messages as high priority in Gmail. Your email messages may not be able to take the same fun, cheeky tone as Moosejaw, but you can let your Gmail subscribers know how to keep your promotions at the top of their inboxes.

Your Turn

  • How has Priority Inbox affected the way you do email marketing?
  • If you’re a Gmail user, has it affected the way you interact with inbound messages?
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