Taming the email Inbox

Communicators use email to get consumer insights. A lot. In fact, it’s not uncommon for email tobe the defacto means of correspondence with clients, media and the rest
of the team. Many agencies use group email aliases to simplify comms,
so it’s not uncommon to get over 400 emails a day. If each email takes
an average of 60 seconds to open, read and deal with, that’s over 6.5
hours of your day taken on email triage. Not good. The thought sounds exciting and adventurous until you discover that you can lose those hard earned contacts and worse, you could be criminally charged for spamming or sending unsolicited emails on the internet. Most of us are unaware that there are laws that prohibit businesses sending unsolicited emails on the internet and we become liable when we do the wrong thing. In this article, I will show you how to create an email campaign without putting you or your business at risk. You will develop what is called a “whitelist” which means a list of authorized contacts while maximizing your earning potential through lead generation. You will also learn what is email marketing, how to build your first authorized email list, how to create autoresponders, and how to use email marketing as the premier tool for success in your business. You can read decent article about mailchimp competitors.

I am a big advocate of Inbox Zero. If you’re not familiar with the
approach, broadly it suggests you stop working from your Inbox, which
should only contain unprocessed mail. Everything else is deleted
(preference), delegated, stored or done (following the 2 minute rule).
I once routinely had 6,000+ mails in my Inbox which I used as a to-do
list (yes, that one people can write on). A year ago, I piled the whole
lot into a folder called Old Inbox, and started with a clean sheet.
Right now, I have one email waiting to be read, and a list of 43 others
which are active projects or will take more than 2 mins to reply to. Let us say that you have never sent an email before and you are thinking of introducing your products and services to potential buyers. The first impression is always the best foot inside the door of any business. Therefore you want to ensure that an introductory letter is prepared. This should be brief and highlight the features and benefits of your business to the prospect. Once your letter is prepared, make sure it is edited properly before sending it to your contacts. Depending on the nature of your business, you should target people who would be interested in your offer. In order to determine this, you could look at the yellow pages within your neighborhood or community.

Here are a few tips I’ve learned which might help:

  • Create an Action folder to store emails which will take
    2+ minutes to deal with – mine is a sub-folder of my Inbox to keep it
    at the top. I put mail in there which needs thought or other action
    prior to response. It’s easy to find open actions, and at the end of
    the day you can transfer anything lingering to your To Do list.
  • Don’t have a fancy filing system – you’re probably not going to
    need it, and search/filter tools are good enough now to find important corrie you
    are missing. Pile, don’t file.
  • Don’t file your Sent Items – I’ve no idea why people do this.
  • Work Offline – I do a lot of work using the email program, but
    that doesn’t mean it needs to be connected all the time. Remember how
    much you used to get done on the plane before wifi? You’d reply to all
    those mails, unencumbered by incoming distractions, and blast them out
    in one go when you arrived. Offline is your new best fried for that.
  • Use Rules – for some reason, if you send an email to an alias you
    are a member of, Exchange decides to send it to you as well. Perhaps it thinks you have a short memory. To
    overcome this, you can set up a Rule to Delete all email which you
    yourself have sent. You already have a copy in your Sent Items after
    all. I know others use Rules to file newsletters or forum discussions
    for later consumption. It’s easy to set them up. Easier than you think.
  • Unsubscribe – sometimes we end up on mailing lists and get
    blasted with such frequency we almost stop seeing those emails. ‘Oh
    that’s just the Crate & Barrel special offer newsletter again’.
    Well, if you’re no longer in the market for that product or service,
    take 20 seconds to unsubscribe. Invest in your future email serenity.
  • Don’t send emails – many emails are conversations. If you don’t
    initiate or participate then you tend to get less mail. It’s a
    Sisyphean task if you keep sending them, you’ll never get to the top.
  • Keep at it – it’s easy to fall behind in crunch times. The Inbox
    expands again and you’re back to old habits. When this happens, and it
    will, just go Offline, work through them and get back to zero. Or if
    you don’t have that time, dump them into a folder for processing later
    and tackle anything new from then so you stay at zero. It’s ok to
    falter, just don’t let it put you permanently off track.

I hope this helps. I’d love to hear any other tricks you have – color
coding, smartphone triage etc to keep your Inbox tamed. Meantime, good