Gmail's Tabs Kill Newsletters, Outreach, Social Life - Here's How to Fix the Problem!


If you open your Gmail account you may see a happy list of emails from your friends and family. The list looks clean, as if you've read and cleared up a bunch of emails and can move on to another task.

But here's what's missing: your Martha Stewart crafting newsletter inspiring you to make something, your Daily Worth newsletter inspiring you to fight your credit card debt, your Pinterest emails when someone repinned your discovery, and your friend's Evite for their toddler's birthday party. Oops, who needed to go to that? The Gemma Redux online sample sale that announces itself via email? You missed it.

Gmail took over your inbox, and have decided that it was overwhelmed with newsletters. They've ninja-ed their way in to save you from yourself, and moved all of your newsletters into a tab called Promotions (because aren't all newsletters promoting something), and your social emails including e-invitations into another tab for Social. Yup, one more thing to click and visit when you're checking your Gmail. And if you don't have an account, but use Gmail for business, this may be happening to you as well. Which is another reason why we at Tin Shingle opted not to use Google for Business and instead went with MediaTemple (and just pay $20/month for email hosting and easy management of up to 100 addresses) but that's a different topic.

Back to Gmail, and why it's killing your newsletters. Technically, your newsletter is not being delivered to your subscriber's inbox. Not their primary one at least, unless it's on your mobile phone (for now).

Enough said. Let's discuss how to turn off the tabs so that you can get your newsletters that you signed up for, or even pay for, and how to reach your readers now that your open rate may have just gotten chopped.

Kristi Hines caught onto this three days before I did, and wrote a slam dunk article on how to turn off the Promotions and Social tabs to get your Gmail inbox back to normal. She also provided ideas on how to alert your readers, clients and customers about this change.


Find and click on the gear in the top right of your screen. They look like this:

Gmail settings tab for turning off promotions and social

Click on "Configure inbox". A new box will pop up with these boxes checked. Uncheck the ones for Social, Promotions, and any other tab that you don't want to organize your inbox for you in this way.

Gmail configure inbox



Hopefully they turned their tabs off but if they didn't, this is a reminder that marketers have a challenging time reaching their customers when the relied upon vehicles used to do that change overnight. Case in point: Facebook charging you to have your business page updates have a better shot at showing up in your fan's newstreams. Here are a few thoughts to inform your readers, now that you can't depend on emailing them:

  • Kristi suggests putting a message in your confirmation page of the newsletter. When you use MailChimp or a third party newsletter program, they usually require your subscriber to opt in via their inbox. Put a note about the confirmation email possibly getting sent to their Promotions tab.
  • Put a message in the confirmation page of your success page after checkout.
  • Facebook 'em via your business page. But oh darn, you might have to pay Facebook to promote that status update.
  • Personally Facebook 'em. If your customers and readers are friends with you on Facebook, write a status update about it. Don't do this 30 times, just a couple times every now and then, and then leave it alone.
  • LinkedIn 'em. Update your LinkedIn with a reminder to check the Promotions tab for any newsletters if you just sent one out.
  • But really, at the end of the day, I don't think people will care much as you send these status updates about a silly Promotions tab. But if you do it, post the update near to when your newsletter was sent.
  • Keep on blogging and helping your readers find your message in search.

Have you noticed a drop in your open rates? What have you done to reach your readers?