You’ve probably heard the news that Google just pimp-slapped anyone who sends marketing emails. This is what our friends at the Googleplex have done to your friendly neighborhood blog marketer –
Email sent to Gmail users that have required CAN-SPAM information such as unsubscribe links are routed directly to a Promotions Tab bypassing the user’s primary inbox entirely. As you could imagine, the Promotions tab is a tough and seedy neighborhood. Your clean-cut, friendly, and honest emails are competing for attention with Viagra wholesalers, Nigeria scam artists, and the latest phishing attack attempts.
This is a devastating blow unless you take immediate and decisive action.
How to Survive in the Triple-Optin World
Until now, marketers had to double opt-in their subscribers. Essentially, the first hurdle was getting readers to subscribe and the next challenge was getting them to confirm via an email link that you could send them additional email.
The Promotions Tab is the third hurdle. I don’t think that Google will be changing their policy soon. After all, the promotions tab results in a cleaner inbox. But your legitimate email messages aren’t getting through. Here’s what you need to do:
- Change your confirmation email: The first email you send new subscribers should beg them to add your email address to their contacts list, disable promotions, or star your email messages. Google assumes that contacts aren’t jerks and routes these emails to the primary inbox.
- Alert every channel: Remember Gmail users probably won’t see your email messages unless they check the Promotions tab. So, write a blog post. Send a tweet. Post a Facebook update. Do the same on LinkedIn. Alert your fans that you are being held hostage in the Promotions Tab and they need to add you as a contact or simply “star” your email.
- Change Your Subject Line: If you choose to send an email to your subscribers, use a subject line that cuts through the promotional spam clutter. Here’s an example:
“It’s Stan, please get me out of of here”.
Remember to clearly explain how to add you to the contact list on Gmail or how to configure gmail to transfer starred / favorited emails to their primary inbox.
- Be Persistent: Add this to end of every blog post you write for the next couple of months:“Warning: If you are a Gmail user its very likely you aren’t getting the blog updates you’re requesting, here’s how to continue receiving notifications via email.” Link them to a page or blog post with (you guessed it) clear instructions for adding your email address to their personal contact list.
- Double-Down on Value: Step up your email game. Your subscriber inboxes are the digital equivalent of a gated community. If you get kicked out for bad behavior, it’s extremely unlikely you’ll be allowed back in.Make sure you email messages favor non-promotional content. Plan your promotional messages carefully. Don’t send too many marketing messages in a short period of time. Don’t send marketing messages thinly disguised as useful content. Obviously this is important for all email marketing but from now on Gmail users need to be handled with a light touch.
Relationships Are More Critical Than Ever
Does your audience really love you? Do they read your emails? Do they comment? Do they purchase when they see the right offer? Are you a must-visit blog?
Last week we were fighting to get into the inbox, now we are fighting to get on the contact list. Relationships are the only way to win this fight.
What are you doing to become a trusted and loved resource?
Warning: If you are a Gmail user its very likely you aren’t getting the blog updates you’re requesting, here’s how to continue receiving notifications via email