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This post was originally posted on the Minds On Design Lab Blog

That’s right, Google has made changes to their inbox and it has nonprofits scrambling to figure out what this means for their communication efforts with their communities.

 

Get Your Newsletter In the Priority Tab

There has been a lot of conversation in the social spaces about how nonprofits can get their newsletters to show up in the “Priority” tab rather than Updates or Promotions. Most seem to focus on how to force Google to do this (like anyone can make Google do something) or how to game the system.

Bottom line is this new is approach is about a personalized inbox, so think more about the person and less about the tool. You want to make sure readers are getting your newsletters, make it so good and consistent that readers will miss it if they don’t. Then they will make sure it gets on their radar no matter how Google tweaks their inbox.

 

Help Them Know How To Manage The Changes

Add some value to your next newsletter by sharing some tips with users on how they can manage the new inbox. You don’t have to spell it all out for them just a short blip about why it matters to them, staying connected with you and then share a link over to another useful article like “How To Use Tabs in Gmail“ by Mashable for the how to part.

While most bulk email tools can not give you email client information for individuals, the good ones provide a report of general stats on email client usage. This will at least give you a rough idea how big of an issue these changes are for your organization. Here are explanations on how to get at this report in Campaign Monitor and Mailchimp.

 

The Personal Email Address for Bulk Communications

Since starting to use the new inbox I have noticed one thing that could have surprise implications. Those organizations that have chosen to use a personal email address as their “From” on bulk emails may find other communications being relegated to the Promotions and Updates tabs. Just this week I moved about 15 newsletters from my Priority tab to my Updates tab (thats right, you have to earn it in my inbox). When doing this I was prompted to confirm if this was the right tab for all future communications from “This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.” and I clicked yes.

Some of these organizations I will never interact with that individual anyhow so now worries. For others I do interact with those folks and will now find any direct emails sent to me in the Updates tab as well. Maybe time to rethink your “From” email address if a lot of your users are on gmail.

 

And You

What are some of your tips or things you have noticed about the new inbox? Or are you like some of our team that have already turned it off and gone back to the old inbox?

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