In case you haven’t heard or noticed…Gmail has rolled out some new features that will now automatically filter your email messages for you. You may not have seen these changes yet as Google is rolling them out to users slowly, and over time.
Though some people love the deeper control of their inbox, just as many are concerned that the email they need the most will get misdirected and potentially get missed. If you receive emails from clients, or if you do any kind of email marketing (this includes having a mailing list through systems like Aweber, MailChimp, 1SC or RSS subscribers via Feedburner or Feedblitz) these changes could be an issue for you.
Gmail’s new filtering categorizes your messages in three separate tabs: Primary, Social and Promotions. Additional tabs are available for Forum and Updates as well. But online marketers are concerned the emails their readers have opted-in for will end up filed under “Promotions” along with ads and offers, and many feel this categorization will have a negative effect on their marketing. According to CNET, these concerns are not unfounded and the Promotions tab is where Google will be sending ads as emails.
There are three workarounds for this issue:
Option #1: If you want to get rid of the filtering altogether, click on the little gear icon located on the top right corner. Then click on “configure inbox,” and uncheck all boxes except Primary – and save. That will remove the filtering feature. If you decide you would like to have the filtering back again at any time in the future … simply go back and recheck the boxes.
Option #2: When you find an email from XYZ in your Social or Promotions tab, click, drag, and drop the email into your “Primary” inbox. Gmail’s filtering can be “trained” to file in a way that suits your needs. So far, whenever I’ve moved an email from one tab to the other, if it’s the first time I’ve moved an email from a specific sender, I get a prompt that either says, “This conversation has been moved to “Primary” or one asking me if I want to do this for all other email from this specific source.
Option #3: Educate your subscribers by including a new message in your autoresponder. Along with the customary “please check your email for a confirmation link…” you could add something along the lines of, “Using Gmail’s new tabs? Your email confirmation and follow up email might be in your Promotions tab. Also be sure and drag and drop the confirming email over to your Primary tab so you can continue to enjoy updates from ___________.”
The bottom line is you may want to educate your mailing list subscribers on how to keep getting your emails. At the end of the day the reality is that Google is a company with the freedom to change whatever they want with their services as outlined in their terms, and we as users have agreed to it.