Gmail's update makes unsubscribing to email marketing materials much easier, but messages with good content have nothing to worry about.

Reaching people in their inbox is an incredibly effective way to find new customers. Once you’ve received an email address from a qualified lead, your chances of conversion are much higher if you can offer them relevant content, links to your website and other promotional media in their inboxes. However, you have to walk a fine line, or you’re going to alienate them and possibly lose their business.

When customers don’t want more

According to an IT World’s announcement about the new Gmail Feature, users won’t have to go through as many steps to be taken off of an email list. Items Gmail decides are promotional in nature will have an “unsubscribe” link next to the sender’s name in the body of each message. This one-click process should bring about the end of many poorly designed email marketing campaigns.

This, like other enhancements Gmail has added over the years, might seem like a disaster for marketers on the surface. In reality, it changes nothing. For example, last year the email service added a promotional tab that kept commercial messages separate from personal email. At first, it might have seemed like marketing messages were going to be consigned to a lesser inbox, but as Brafton reported, half of all users said they’d check it at least once a day.

You shouldn’t be sending graymail in the first place because it’s ineffective.

Make marketing emails valuable

Customers are savvy enough to see marketing materials coming a mile away, so there’s no point in trying to sneak something by them. Instead, it’s always essential to provide value for customers. Basically, you shouldn’t be sending graymail in the first place because it’s ineffective – so there’s no need to be afraid of customers unsubscribing.

How can emails contain value? One way is to make them visually richer. At the end of 2013, Gmail instituted a change so users no longer have to click “Display Pictures” in emails – they’ll appear no matter what. Now, email marketing materials can be as stimulating and clickable as websites. Adding video and original written content marketing collateral will ensure customers are going to appreciate your messages, rather than mousing over to the unsubscribe button.

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Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.