Branded as “The inbox that works for you,” Gmail’s new Inbox feature is currently in beta and promises users “a fresh start that goes beyond email to help you get back to what matters,” according to its webpage.
Gmail – along with most other email clients – currently offers a range of potential actions to be taken for each message. These include starring the communication, filing it away in a folder, marking it as unread, reading it but keeping it in the main inbox, archiving it, trashing it and more. Inbox aims to streamline this state of affairs by offering three primary actions that turn the email inbox into something resembling a to-do list. As outlined by Lifehacker, these options are as follows.
Not unlike the “Pinned Tweet” feature on Twitter or so-called “sticky posts” on message boards, the Highlights option grants an email more prominent placement in your inbox.
What types of emails should you highlight? Those that remind you of a pending task that needs to be accomplished ASAP or contain information you’ll need to refer back to later.
Much like the feature of the same name that’s commonly found on alarm clocks, Snooze allows you to dismiss an email from your inbox rather than leaving it there to act as clutter – but the twist is that it only disappears temporarily. You can set it to come back at a particular time and/or date, or, if it isn’t time-sensitive, there’s also a “Someday” option that will keep you on your toes.
What types of emails should you snooze? Those that you don’t want to bother with right now but will be important in the future.
Selecting the Done option is the equivalent of striking through a completed item on a pen-and-paper-based to-do list. Marking an email in this fashion relegates it to an archive that will allow it to still appear in search results but otherwise keeps it out of the way.
What types of emails should you mark as done? Those pertaining to tasks you’ve accomplished, events that have passed or other things you don’t need to worry about anymore.
Inbox’s impact on email marketing
When Google debuted its segmentation feature that automatically distributed emails into folders labeled “Primary,” “Social,” “Promotions,” “Updates” and “Forums,” marketers were concerned about the impact this would have on their email outreach. Do they have reason to be worried about this latest update too? Signs point to no. In fact, the new Inbox may actually improve the effectiveness of email-based marketing campaigns.
How? Say you send out an email about a sale kicking off next week. Recipients who are interested in taking advantage of the special deals and discounted prices you’ll be offering might elect to pin the message to the top of their inbox or snooze it so it will reappear the day the sale starts.
More to offer
Some of the other features of the new Inbox could also prove to be a boon for email marketers. The Reminder tool promises to be particularly handy. Its purpose is a little like that of a comment bubble in Google Docs, as it allows consumers to add notes next to emails to remind their future selves why they pinned or snoozed the messages in the first place. For instance, a recipient might add “Christmas gift for Mom” as a reminder to purchase something from an e-catalog.
Only time will tell how the new Inbox will affect email marketers, but initial indications seem positive. Stay tuned to the blog for any updates!