How Gmail’s New Inbox Tabs Affect Your Firm

Gmail has made some changes recently, and law firms should be aware of what is going on in their clients’ inboxes. E-mails from businesses are going to be affected most directly and immediately.

Gmail has added tabs to their inboxes, meaning that received e-mails are automatically filtered into one of the preset categories of Primary, Social, and Promotions. These tabs can be edited and e-mails can be re-filtered or moved from tab to tab as desired.

The default filters come straight from Gmail, which means that e-mails will appear in the tab that Gmail thinks it fits. Twitter e-mails? You’ll find them in the Social tab. E-mail from your grandma? Front and center in the Primary tab. And newsletters from your favorite law firm? Check out that Promotions tab.

Businesses need to pay extra attention to these changes from Gmail, because businesses’ e-mails are going to be affected the most. The vast majority of corporate e-mails, even the e-mails that clients have opted to receive, will be filtered into the Promotions tab.

This isn’t all bad news, but the challenge comes from Gmail’s advertisements. Gmail is sneaking their own ads into inboxes, ads that closely resemble real e-mails, ads that are unsolicited. These ads are placed, naturally, in the Promotions tab of the inbox.

This means that your firm’s legitimate e-mails, the e-mails that your clients have voluntarily subscribed to, are now placed alongside Gmail’s unsubscribed, e-mail-lookalike advertisements in the Promotions tab. The odds are high that your firm’s e-mails will be mistaken for advertisements. And what do the vast majority of people do with e-mail ads? You got it: delete.

Early studies have shown a decrease in click-through rates, and this data was collected before all inboxes had made the switch to tabs. More recent data shows open rates decreasing three weeks in a row. Your newsletters, even though clients have already opted-in to receive them, are probably going to become less popular simply because of Gmail’s filtering tool.

The best thing to do is to communicate with your clients before your newsletters and other communications get deleted with Gmail’s ads. If your clients have already chosen to receive your e-mails, then this is a wise step to help ensure that they continue receiving your e-mails.

There are several guides online providing step-by-step directions for both changing the filters and removing the tabs. These guides are concise enough that, should you choose, you can include the steps within your communications to clients.

Once you’ve communicated these changes to your clients, continue to monitor the click-through rate of all your e-mails, and perhaps plan on sending a follow-up e-mail describing Gmail’s new tabs.

Consider how Gmail’s filters might affect other e-mails you send, including automatic welcome e-mails, confirmation e-mails, etc. Remember that if your e-mail looks like a promotion, it will be filtered into that tab.

Your clients want to receive your communications. Help them do just that by showing them how to best utilize Gmail’s new tools!

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