How Small Businesses Can Leverage Inbox by Gmail
By Olivia Dello Buono November 6, 2014
With the recent unveiling of Inbox, Google’s latest attempt at revolutionizing email, the tech world is abuzz with how these changes will affect subscribers and our current approach to email marketing.
Coined the “future of email” by industry vets, Inbox boasts an easy-to-use, minimalist interface designed with mobile optimization in mind. Messages are no longer meant to be read and done with, but rather treated as a (seemingly endless) to-do list.
For starters, the aptly-named Inbox puts users in control of what’s most visible, allowing them to organize and sort messages by content that’s relevant to them.
Inbox has a range of features designed to help organize your inbox based on the emails you care about most. As an email marketer, there are a few that you should be aware of:
Highlights pulls the most important, relevant information from your emails and displays it in the main inbox view – sort of like a mini-dashboard for your emails. Here, you can quickly view flight reservations, itineraries and more at a glance.
Tip for email marketers: Create more focused emails so your subscribers can quickly find the information they’re looking for.
Bundles lets you bundle your emails together, just like tabs does in Gmail now. You can group messages by social, promotion, travel, purchases and more, or create your own. Bundles and Highlights work together to prominently display the content you want to see the most.
Tip for email marketers: Write relevant, attention-grabbing subject lines and snippets (the first sentence or so of your message) to make your emails stand out from the rest.
Snooze gives you the option of setting a time and location to receive an email that you don’t need at this very second. For example, let’s say you receive a newsletter with a coupon. You can set Snooze to resend you the email with the coupon when you know you’ll be visiting that store next – that way, you don’t have to go searching for it when you’re in the middle of shopping.
Tip for email marketers: If your email is time-sensitive, make that abundantly clear in your subject line and message.
Reminders and Assists work together to make completing certain tasks easier. If you make a Reminder to call a store back to see if an item is in stock, Assists will automatically provide the store’s phone number and hours. If you make restaurant reservations online, Assists will give you a map to the restaurant.
Tip for email marketers: Use Google My Business to ensure your business’s hours, phone number, location and more are all up to date.
What Does This Mean for Small Business?
Inbox provides a surefire way to weed out unengaged people from your email list. For example, if a person has dozens of unopened messages – your email included – Inbox’s Sweep feature makes it easy for them to “sweep” unwanted messages out of their inbox for good. If a subscriber hasn’t opened any of your emails in the past, chances are they aren’t going to now.
The good news? Weeding out unengaged subscribers isn’t a bad thing. In fact, enabling users to choose the content they want to see the most in their inbox will only make them more engaged – and better engagement means more sales for you.
You’ll also want to keep in mind that the Bundles feature could potentially hinder the effectiveness of time-sensitive marketing emails. As users begin to sort their messages by type, promotional mail could get lost in the inbox. In order to counteract, marketers may need to send special offers in advance or prolong their validity.
As of now, Inbox is available via invite-only, so there’s no need to bid adieu to your beloved Gmail just yet. But if and when the app does hit the mainstream, it’s important to stick to email best practices to ensure that your messages make it to the inbox.
Changes like this can affect your email deliverability, engagement and security.