Gmail Tabs: Good or Bad for Agents? [Infographic]

Gmail began rolling out the tab feature on May 29th, 2013 to offer a better user experience. The Gmail tabs automatically categorize emails into 3 main categories: Primary, Social and Promotions with two additional pre-defined tabs labeled "Updates" and "Forums" (these are hidden by default but can be turned on). In making this change Gmail removed one advantage an email marketer had...STEALTH.

When you send a newsletter or relationship email to your insurance leads or existing clients, you enter digital brawl that pits you against Fortune 500 companies, charitable organizations, local government, and professional marketers all trying to reach a generally migratory and extremely busy consumer. All emails must compete for space and time and rely heavily on subject lines, imagery, copy, relevance, relationship history and timing to get noticed. Prior to Gmail introducing tabs, all messages were sent to a single inbox and mixed with all types of messages, forcing the user to look through subject lines and senders for an indication of what email to open.

Since this change to the new Gmail tab interface, companies have noticed a decrease in email open rates. Companies that have strictly relationship-based interactions with consumers are automatically getting filtered to the Promotions tab. This can negatively impact your email open rates, which could be due in part to the expectations consumers have from each tab. If you are sending a personalized, relationship-based email but the email is filtered into the “Promotions” tab, your clients may never notice the email and in turn, never open it.

According to, Gmail open rates have dropped 18% since the inception of the Tabs system. If you email your book of business in any capacity, you no doubt have insurance clients with Gmail accounts. Addressing this sooner rather than later will help you stay in front of your competition.

How Can Insurance Agents Navigate Gmail Tabs

Forcing your insurance prospects or clients to change the way they view emails sounds tough but in reality Gmail does make it easy. A simple "courtesy" email to your customers advising them of the impact and directions on how to change the settings can bring your emails to the forefront. Your email can be a summary of changes, the value that your emails provide, an suggested solution, and even a referral note.

Sample Email to Send to Your Clients

An example of this email is below. If you use this email please be sure to personalize it where necessary.

Have you missed the newsletters or insurance saving tips emails that we have been sending?

The reason behind that might be the recent changes to your Gmail account. As you've noticed, Google’s email service now automatically filters your emails into categories, so our emails might be hidden under your "Promotions" tab.

To ensure you are included in our exclusive offers, insurance saving tips, and more, you can add us to your safe sender list with these 3 simple steps!

  1. Click the “Promotions” tab in your Gmail account
  2. Drag an email from us, (COMPANY NAME), into the “Primary” tab
  3. Click Yes in the yellow box. Done!

Once you have completed those steps, you won’t miss any future emails from us,


(Short referral note)

Note: Starred emails will be sent to the "Primary Tab" clicking but this will only add that individual email. It will not set a rule for future emails.

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