How Google’s changes affect church email

Google’s recent changes in Gmail make it harder than ever for all of us, including churches, to reach our email subscribers.

Once upon a time, nearly all email sent to was delivered to a simple inbox.

Now Google is sorting email for its users, and it’s sorting most email newsletters out of the “Primary” folder — the inbox that opens to display the newest messages — and into a new folder called “Promotions.”

If you send a weekly or monthly email newsletter, or if you send one-on-one private email from the same email address you use for your church newsletter, then your newsletters and your private, individual messages are likely to land in the “Promotions” folder, where your intended recipients may never see them.

How Google sorts email now

In any gmail account, there are five new tabs, described below in Google’s words:

Primary: Messages from friends and family, as well as any other messages that don’t appear in other tabs. The “Primary” tab opens when a gmail user checks email.

Promotions: Your deals, offers and other promotional emails. This is where your emails to your clients/customers will now show up, unless they change their settings.

Social Messages: From social networks, media-sharing sites, online dating services, gaming platforms and other social websites.

Updates: Notifications such as confirmations, receipts, bills and statements.

Forums: Messages from online groups, discussion boards and mailing lists.

Here is what you can do to make sure your church’s emails don’t get dumped into the semi-spam “Promotions” folder: Send the following info in an email to all Gmail subscribers on your list. (And you may want to follow up by including this text at least three more times in other email messages you send out.)

Make Sure Our Emails Get to You!

You may have noticed a change in your Gmail account. Gmail is now sorting your incoming mail for you, and it’s likely that our email newsletters and personal messages to you are ending up in a new Gmail folder called “Promotions.” That is not the folder you see when you first open your Gmail.

We want to be sure you don’t miss any of our newsletters or personal email to you, so here’s what you can do: Right-click on this email (if it has been sorted into “Promotions” or any tab other than “Primary”), hover over the “Move to Tab” option that appears in the pop-up box, and select “Primary.” OR you can drag and drop this message to the “Primary” tab.

Gmail will then ask you if you want it to “do this for future messages from []?” Click “yes,” and future emails from our email address will auto-filter into the “Primary” tab.

Disabling Tabs

If you dislike the new tabs functionality and want to return to Gmail’s traditional inbox layout, click the “+” icon to the right of the tab heading, uncheck every tab box (apart from “Primary,” which is a default) and your inbox will revert to the old design.

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