Marketing Tips: Avoiding Gmail's New Block Button


Gmail's new "Block" button, released Wednesday, is another example of the ever-increasing control consumers have over their inbox.

Previously, Gmail users could mark unwanted emails as spam and, after enough repeated spamming, Google would effectively block the sender. Yesterday’s announcement of the new sweeping sayonara button, however, is a new feature that makes it far easier for consumers to succinctly block a brand’s email marketing.

But how will the new Gmail block feature affect marketers? It won’t, according to Bob Sybydlo, director for intelligence products at Yesmail Interactive.

He says marketers should not notice any major impact since unsubscribes are inevitable, regardless of the email service provider. Instead of worrying about Gmail’s “Block” feature, Sybydlo suggests: “It is best to allow those people to do so [block emails] and focus on the people who are opening and clicking your emails.”

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Bryan Soltis, technical evangelist at Kentico, disagrees. He says that any technology that could “impede a marketer’s ability to communicate with their customers will certainly have an impact on their reach and effectiveness.” But he does agree that the best way for marketers to counteract that possibility is by focusing on how they’re communicating with their customers.

They offered five tips On How to Avoid Gmail’s New “Block” Button:

1.    Provide Relevant Content

Email marketing has never been a guaranteed sale, regardless of a consumer’s ability to block a sender. Gmail’s announcement doesn’t change this fact, but it does reflect on the growing need for marketers to focus on the content they are providing.

Soltis says content is the key to avoiding blocked emails; email marketers need to be clear and concise with their messaging.

“Creating engaging content and sending it to a relevant audience remains both the best practice and recommendation,” agrees Sybydlo.

2.    Communicate Only to Recipients Who Have Requested It

Sybydlo add that marketers should target emails to audiences who have already shown interest in their brand. Not doing so could prompt more users to block emails as spam.

Soltis says the three most important qualities of email content is providing information that is relevant, useful, and requested by the recipient.

3.    Make The Unsubscribe Process Easy

Making the “click here to unsubscribe” button easily accessible may seem counterintuitive, but burying the link at the bottom of an email is not the best practice.

Sybydlo says the unsubscribe link actually benefits marketers for two reasons. It unsubscribes an address that no longer wishes to be a customer, and the action actually counts as a click, which then benefits the marketer’s sender reputation.

4.    Reputation Matters

A marketer’s sender reputation, which is associated with the IP address of the mail server in use, is one of the biggest factors in determining whether an email is sent to a recipient’s inbox or the spam/bulk folder.

Sybydlo says spam complaints can cause your sending reputation to decrease with Gmail. “If too many people mark your messages as 'spam,' then your email runs the risk of delivering straight to the bulk folder.”

“Even the best brands can sour a customer relationship with too frequent or irrelevant communication,” says Soltis.

5.    Study, Learn and Grow

Sybydlo advises marketers to study unsubscribe numbers to better understand what types of messages are working in their email marketing campaigns.

This type of intelligence, he says, is critical to understand audience reaction and to limit clicks on Gmail’s new “Block” feature.

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