How are things going with your email newsletter as we head into the all-important holiday season?

Trends don’t look good if you’re doing your email marketing the same way you did things in 2004…

Before the tabbed layout, open rates to Gmail had been above 13% for 15 weeks. They never dipped below that threshold unless there was a specific holiday. For instance, weekday opens for Gmail fell to 12.5% on the week of Valentine’s day. Open rates between Christmas and New Years are an abysmal 10.5%. Something about spending time with loved ones just isn’t conducive to combing through your inbox. Weird, right?

What bothers me in this case is that open rates stayed down for 3 consecutive weeks. From looking at a year and half’s worth of data, I can say that kind of behavior isn’t normal. I’m not willing to declare an emergency just yet. After all, I don’t even know what the adoption rate is on Gmail’s side. However, I would say this is an early indicator, and we’re definitely keeping our eye on it.

via How Gmail’s New Inbox Is Affecting Open Rates | MailChimp Email Marketing Blog.

Of course, GMail isn’t the only email provider but you’d be downright ignorant if you chose to ignore the new tabbed interface of the service. Since the changes started rolling out earlier this summer there have been handy “how to survive” guides that you should read (such as this one). Whether this is anti-competitive or helpful to users (or somewhere in the middle), the reality now exists and marketers must deal with it.

While it may only be Labor Day, you should be in full swing of planning out your holiday season promotions. There’s a very specific calendar mindset that successful email marketers use (you should read that), so it’s time to dive into your email marketing provider analytics (we love MailChimp but affiliates and marketers should be careful when using the service and look to others like AWeber) and see what kinds of trends you can spot from the data over the summer.

One of the most helpful things you can do for your own lists and subscribers is education. Even outlets such as No Agenda, one of my favorite podcasts, is relying on user education to make sure their email newsletter (via MailChimp) gets delivered to listeners’ inboxes after seeing a dismal drop in user contributions (they don’t run ads) since the GMail changes.

Email marketing is just as important, if not more so, than ever as we enter into the 2013 holiday season. Make sure you’re doing your homework before things really heat up and plan for success.

About the Author Sam Harrelson

Digital Marketing and Technology Consultant and Podcaster at Thinking.FM

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