Since Gmail announced a new inbox configuration, which automatically sorts commercial e-mails into a separate "promotions" tab, businesses have been questioning what to do. Debates about best solutions--and whether there's even a problem--have been ongoing since late July, when MailChimp posted early data suggesting a small but noticeable decline (about 1 percent) in open rates.
Some marketing experts have suggested that there may be benefits to the divided inbox--Gail Goodman, CEO of Constant Contact, told Inc. that the tab might lead to readers opening promotional e-mails at more convenient times and, in essence, opt in to such messaging.
But some companies are not holding their breath. They're asking customers to manually reclassify their e-mails, to get back into the primary Gmail inbox.
It Can't Hurt to Ask: Gap, NewEgg, Seamless
This morning, Seamless sent out the same request. "Put us in your primary tab, so that you don't miss out on future discounts," Seamless wrote in an email with the subject line "Today only: 15% OFF. O-M-Gmail!" (That message too was cordoned off to the "promotions" tab in my Gmail inbox.)
As businesses continue to test ways to navigate Gmail's new tabs, the Seamless approach of pairing it with a discount is intriguing. While the company declined to offer any specific stats, initial Twitter responses to the Seamless offer seemed positive. One fan tweeted: "Pairing a discount with outreach=smart." Another was "astounded by @Seamless's social media savvy, such as today's 'Put us in your primary tab!'-themed discount!"
Seamless public relations rep Abby Hunt noted by e-mail that "offering diners discounts is nothing out of the norm for Seamless. We are always looking for ways to reward our loyal diners."
Maybe so. Or maybe it's a generous entreaty before it's too late.
Will you try to get your emails back into your customers' main inbox? And if so, how will you do it? Let me know in the comments below.