If you use Gmail as your primary email platform, you’ve no doubt noticed a few changes have occurred over the past few days. Things are looking a bit different in your inbox, and for millions of Gmail users a new Gmail design and filtering system means more headaches for healthcare email marketers.
When the new Gmail officially began rolling out last month, users were presented with a unique new design where Gmail automatically filtered out primary email, social email, and promotional email. And, of course, there’s always that spam inbox that has remained. Email marketers feared the worst, as email that once was allowed into the primary Gmail inbox was being redirected and filtered into a ‘promotions’ inbox, which, according to many, is just another term for ‘spam’ inbox.
According to MailChimp, noticed a significant drop in email open rates. Looking to the chart below from the MailChimp blog, you can see a small drop in email open rates after the ‘Tabbed Inbox’ began to make it’s appearance.
Before the tabbed layout, open rates to Gmail had been above 13% for 15 weeks. They never dipped below that threshold unless there was a specific holiday. For instance, weekday opens for Gmail fell to 12.5% on the week of Valentine’s day. Open rates between Christmas and New Years are an abysmal 10.5%. Something about spending time with loved ones just isn’t conducive to combing through your inbox. Weird, right?
What bothers me in this case is that open rates stayed down for 3 consecutive weeks. From looking at a year and half’s worth of data, I can say that kind of behavior isn’t normal. I’m not willing to declare an emergency just yet. After all, I don’t even know what the adoption rate is on Gmail’s side. However, I would say this is an early indicator, and we’re definitely keeping our eye on it.
– MailChimp Blog
What we here at QUaintise find interesting is that not every Gmail user has switched over to the new Gmail Tabbed inbox, which means that these numbers could gradually become worse.
While the complete effects of the new Gmail Tabbed Inbox are yet to be known, it’s important to always remain one step ahead of the curve. At Quaintise, falling behind is not an option. In healthcare marketing, you absolutely must be on the cutting edge of technology and trends, and sitting back with a ‘wait and see’ attitude will get your marketing campaigns no where.
With that said, there are some things that your healthcare marketing team can do right now to keep your emails and newsletters in front of your target audience:
1. Follow the Rules: As always with healthcare email marketing, it’s pertinent that you follow the rules. Get permissions from your recipients with double-opt-in subscription forms. There needs to be no doubt that these subscribers want to see your emails and newsletters.
2. The Right Readers: Make absolutely sure you have the right audience for your emails and newsletters. Your readers must want to read your content. They must want to receive your deals and promotions, news and highlights. The right readers and target audience will open your emails and newsletters no matter what inbox they land in, which will improve your open rate and convince Gmail filters to cut you some slack.
3. Remind Readers: Just as Facebook Fans need a little incentive to set notifications for your Facebook Business Page, email subscribers might need a little push and motivation to move your emails and newsletters into the Primary Inbox Tab. Consider providing subscribers with a quite DIY or How-To so that they can easily and quickly get your emails out of the Promotion Tab Inbox and into the Primary Tab Inbox.
4. Great Content: As always, you will need to provide the best content ever. The content must be engaging, integrated with social media, and inviting. The more engaged that you can get your readers by talking about it on Facebook or Sharing it on Twitter, the better chance you have of increasing your open rate on future emails.
Healthcare email marketing is a consistently progressing and evolving field. With every change that Gmail, or any other email client, makes, we must change and evolve ahead of it. Contact the experts at Quaintise for more information.