You've probably heard all about it already – what I'm calling the “Gmail Tab Hubbub,” a made-up Chicken Little “The Sky Is Falling” meme that is nothing more than fear mongering in order to get you to buy the latest junk from enterprising internet marketers.
Gmail Tab Background
Gmail is free. You knew that. It's a GREAT service–I love it and left Microsoft Outlook, Thunderbird, Yahoo, and a dozen more email services and clients years ago.
So you could say I'm biased. As a consumer, I find Gmail to be the bee's knees (whatever the hell that means, but I think it's good). Heck, I use it so much that I've grown beyond their constantly-growing email storage and have purchased additional storage for my email. Silly, right?
I think Gmail started out as a Google experiment; it stuck and they've been making it better ever since. Its “beta” period lasted 5 years!
Google Tabs is just the most recent change that Google's made to make the service even better. As a consumer, I will say I love the new functionality. Here's a great tutorial on the new tabs:
You can choose not to use them or to modify them in a fairly robust–though limited–way. But this isn't a tutorial on how to use Google Tabs; rather, it's to show you that they aren't the end of email marketing. Far from it.
It actually took a while for somebody to realize that he could make money off Gmail's new tabs. When I was offered Tabs (seemingly weeks before most even knew about it), I thought to myself, “Somebody's going to go nuts about this.” Here's why:
Google is very good at filtering. For example, Gmail is really good at knowing what email to drop in your “Primary” tab, as well as the other tabs, like “Promotions,” and “Social.” So most of the email I get from internet marketers gets dropped in my Promotions tab. Makes sense to me. After all, that's how I'd been filtering my email for years.
But now Google is doing it for me. I can literally remove most of my filters.
Yet some email marketers went batshit crazy about the change, lamenting the thought that their precious emails wouldn't be dropped in the “Primary” tab. WAAH.
And that email marketing was dead. I cannot tell you how many times I've read this.
(By the way, Google made a change many months ago that affected email marketers a LOT more than this, yet nobody really caught on. They called it the “Priority inbox” and it changed the way I looked at email. Almost zero promotional emails went into this priority inbox; nearly all of it went into the next rung up from SPAM bucket. So I stopped looking at promotional emails. And I noticed that my open rates on my own emails that I sent out to my subscriber lists went WAY DOWN. But I digress.)
So just recently, in the past week or so, I've begun to hear a lot of noise (read: Crap with a capital “C”) about how Google hates internet marketers (who doesn't? That's rhetorical.) and is trying to kill email marketing.
First off, Google has every right to run their business the way they want. If the collective “we” decides that we don't like that, then we can leave. They shouldn't have to change their philosophy just because we don't like it.
Second, I seriously doubt Google wants email usage to drop. After all, they serve up millions of ads right inside Gmail. I'm pretty sure Google likes money.
Third, think about this: If you're a marketer who uses email as a way to get people to buy your (or others' stuff), then would you want to be in a really big bucket, competing with Aunt Bessie, your cousin Fred, your friend Joe who just found out he has cancer, along with Proctor & Gamble, 3M, a dozen or so political causes, hundreds of social media status updates a day, etc. OR would you rather just compete with a dozen or a hundred internet marketers?
I mean, if you're good at what you do, you should be confident that your writing is compelling enough to convert well. And if you aren't good, maybe it's time you learned.
Basically, you've become a big fish in a still really big pond. And you're no longer one average fish in an ocean filled with billions of fish.
So when you get an email that tells you Gmail Tabs are killing email marketing, just politely do a face palm and go on your merry way.
And when you get an email like this, guard your wallet, turn away slowly, and run the other way. Because it's all CRAP.
Newsflash: Google Sucker Punches Email Marketing Experts Worldwide
That's the headline. Here's the link: http://wpautomail.com/
It's a WordPress plugin that I gather seeks to remove Google's ability to filter your marketing emails into your prospects' “promotions” tab rather than sending your mail to their “primary” tab.
On the surface, it sounds well and dandy. After all, it's easy for Google to discern that your email is being sent through Aweber's servers. That's an easy thing to do. And once they know where the email is coming from, it's simply a matter of Gmail routing it to the “right” tab…
That's assuming your marketing email even gets to Google.
Where the autoresponder services like Aweber (affiliate link) have a huge (HUGE) advantage over everybody and everything else is they have a cozy relationship with all the ISPs, service providers, and internet companies and it only makes them more money when they deliver mail as flawlessly as possible.
Your WordPress blog plugin will never ever EVER do that.
Plus, I really wouldn't want my WordPress blog to be an “email server.” And I really wouldn't like it when a person receiving my email is having a really bad day and marks my email as SPAM. Nothing good will ever come of that. And you don't have the clout that Aweber has.
In short, don't buy that plugin. While it's “only $10,” I know I can buy a really good Philly Cheesesteak, fries, and a soda for less than that and be 100X happier about it! While you're eating that delicious sandwich, you could write an email that lands in the “promotions” tab and be one of only a few marketers in there. That sounds like #winning to me.
Til next time,