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Inbox Changes – Here We Go Again...

Before I dig into what is a very dynamic topic for email marketing, I want to talk about mailboxes. In 1775, when Benjamin Franklin became the first postmaster general of the U.S., mailboxes looked something like this:

Old Mailbox

And believe it or not, in the 230+ years since the mailbox has been around, not much has changed. It's a box with a door on it.So, if I was a direct mail marketer, it's nice to know that inbox changes just aren't a thing.

So, if you were going to do the same little before and after pictures for email inboxes...Here's what your first email inbox may have looked like:

Old AOL Inbox

And here's what it may look like now:

Gmail Mobile Inbox

I'll spare you a detailed analysis of all the differences between an AOL Desktop Inbox and what Gmail looks like on a phone, but I think you get the idea.

Since email inboxes have been changing, there have been a few notable changes that have wreaked havoc on email marketing:

Spam Filters – The email service provider used to let all the emails sent to an address come through, but now they take the liberty of filtering our emails they deem as inappropriate.

Junk Email Accounts – Email service providers used to charge by the email address, discouraging users from having more than a single email address. Now that email accounts are mostly free, it's not uncommon for people to have two or more accounts, one they check regularly and all the others.

Mobile Friendly Designs – Email inboxes now automatically compress emails to be better experienced on a phone rather than a big screen.

Conversation Threading – Used to be that every single email was its own unique entity, not tied to any of the previous emails sent to your inbox. Now, conversations are actually linked together based on the subject line making it easier to access and entire line of communciation.

Social, Promotions, and Update Tabs – Perhaps the most recent big one, rather than all the emails delivered to a single main inbox, emails are distributed across 4 different tabs at the email service provider's discretion.

These are just five changes. The list could be at least ten times as long.The point is, inboxes change drastically all the time and as a sender of email, you have to be ahead of the changes.

I'll give you an extra example. Recently, Google announced that they are considering releasing an even more drastic change called Google Inbox. Check it out here. Here's what it may look like:

Google Inbox Preview

Who knows what kind of effects it will have on the way that people read emails, but you can bet that it certainly will.

Are you ready?

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