The success of salon email marketing could dip significantly following recent changes by Google that threaten to divert promotional campaigns into a no-go cul-de-sac, warns digital marketing expert Valorie Reavis of Linkup Marketing. And the only way to avoid it is to actively ask clients to re-categorize emails.
Since summer, Google has been reorganizing the Gmail inbox so messages are filtered. Instead of landing in a main inbox, any commercial content is being redirected to a separate e-commerce box, while social networking messages are going to a specific social inbox with only personal, or ‘Priority,’ emails sent to the recipient’s main inbox.
‘For Gmail users, it means commercial emails will be classified effectively as spam, and sifted into a separate inbox. Salon and spa owners’ worries that no one will check their promotions inbox, missing all those fabulous offers and latest news are well founded,’ said Valorie. ‘Google is the largest email provider, with half a billion active Gmail users worldwide. Many salon clients will be using Gmail accounts, so these changes could prove difficult for salons who have email marketing as an essential part of their marketing mix.’
Google’s move has been welcomed by some consumers as a way to partition promotional material and important personal messages. The only option open to salons to ensure their emails aren’t dumped in an unseen file is to persuade clients to reclassify emails from the salon.
‘We have no way of knowing if this is something other email providers are moving to as well, but the fact of the matter is that Google is still a huge chunk of email traffic. To avoid being marginalized, salon must ask clients to move the most recent message out of the promotions inbox and into the primary one. If they do this just once, then all future emails will appear in this inbox and will have less risk of being missed,’ advised Valorie. ‘Salons should be working this into any dialogue about promotions at the front desk and in the chair to make clients aware of the importance of special offers received in their email. Salons could even consider adding exclusive email offers that salon clients can only get if they are receiving (and reviewing) salon emails.’
Clients using an email provider other than Google and Gmail will be unaffected by the changes.