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What do Gmail and Tinder have in common?

By Brad van der Woerd

We live in a visual world where a picture is worth a thousand words and text is often overlooked. That is why I expected Gmail’s Grid View to take off. To my surprise, only a year after the online giant began testing its Pinterest-like email view, Gmail has reverted to traditional subject lines without images.

Email is constantly changing. Consumers have been quick to adopt mobile, with average order volume from mobile increasing 28 percent year-over-year. Internet service providers are responding to mobile preferences.

As Google continues to update Gmail and its Google Inbox and third-party applications come to fruition, marketers must adjust their strategies to maintain and engage email subscribers.

Responsive design, adaptive landing pages and an optimized mobile path-to-purchase are just a few of the tactics marketers can implement. But there is a lot more marketers can do to respond to Gmail changes and mobile

Interestingly enough, these recent updates and new apps make Gmail a lot like Tinder. Marketers who realize this now can adopt best practices that will help effectively communicate with Gmail subscribers.

First impression always matters
Just as Tinder users must be strategic in their first impression, marketers hoping to reach Gmail subscribers – and any email subscriber for that matter – must strategically plan their content, especially now that Grid View is gone.

Subject lines play a major role here. Marketers should consider basic best practices when crafting subject lines, such as using lists and intriguing language, but should also focus on triggered messages that deliver relevant content based on recent events to the consumer’s inbox.

Consumers control the content
Custom Snooze for Google Inbox is a lot like Tinder’s push notifications. Just as Tinder users can choose whether they want to see when they receive a message or a new match, Gmail users can adapt their inbox to fit their schedule.

Luckily, Custom Snooze actually benefits marketers. Often, if a consumer receives a message at a time when she is not ready to take action, she will delete that email. But with snooze, consumers can schedule a message to return at a time she is ready to purchase again, lowering the amount of deletes and strengthening the odds a consumer will take action on an email.

Marketers should be cautious, however. To ensure that they are engaging Google Inbox users, marketers should identify the best time for engaging their subscriber base and test to develop email frequency strategies.

Relationship is controlled by swipe
Tinder coined the idea of “swipe right, swipe left,” and now, programmers are mirroring its definitive nature with email apps.

For example, Unsubscriber for Gmail allows consumers to swipe left or right to either unsubscribe or maintain a subscription to a mailing list or newsletter.

Marketers should focus on the entire customer lifecycle, rather than solely on when a consumer is in a position to purchase by a creating content that adapts to a customer’s position in the purchasing cycle.

For example, if a customer has just purchased an item from a store, marketers can follow up with surveys and suggested products. Or, marketers can engage email subscribers who are not ready to buy with sticky content that offers relevant information, but does not sell anything.

THE DEATH of Gmail’s Grid View is just one example of email’s changing landscape.

Just as Google updates its ISP to assist consumers, marketers must stay ahead of trends to reach the inbox.

Brad van der Woerd is director of intelligence products at Yesmail, Toronto. Reach him at [email protected]