I’ll never argue with the power of email marketing, and what it can do for your business. Did you know using Gmail.com, Hotmail.com, and Outlook is a form of email marketing? This was a question asked by the top bloggers, and they all agreed that as soon as you send an email message with a specific purpose, you are marketing something or another. It doesn’t matter if you’re arranging an event, a get together with friends for Christmas, or trying to close a deal with a client because these are all forms of email marketing.
What energizes me is how big email has become over the last 20 years. I remember before sending a message would require a trip to the post office, however now it’s booting up your computer or unlocking your mobile phone. We all must agree that email has changed the way the entire world communicates with each other…right?
However, even though email messaging has provided us with better communication, we still run into problems. We have a hard time managing every message that enters our inbox. For example, I’ll get up in the morning with 100 emails that I must skim through. I’ll have to segment which ones are important, and which ones I can discard as spam. This takes enormous work so I’m always searching for better ways to organize my inbox. If I don’t, it’ll cut into my productivity slowing down my entire day.
So far, I’ve utilized some cool productivity hacks to incorporate with my email management which has helped. Recently I uncovered a few more which I’ll like to outline for you today.
Marking Emails Unread
Over the years, I’ve been using the “marked as unread” button more than before, and it has helped the way I respond to emails. One of the most time-consuming things about email is trying to locate the ones you must respond to. I’ll read an email and want to respond to it later simply because I have a meeting or another engagement. However, by the time I open my inbox, I’ll have another 50 emails so will skim through looking for the “important” email I forget to reply to before.
I started to mark these emails as “unread” because they are easy to find when I’m back at work and want to reply to these messages. I simply select the locate unread messages, and these important ones will pop-up.
Stick to a Routine
I treat my email inbox like my daily exercise routine – twice a day. I only check and respond to emails twice a day at a specific time. The other times I’m dedicated to my work, not losing focus no matter what because I have a business to run.
I’ll admit getting into a solid routine is tough especially when you have a habit of checking emails every 5 minutes. It doesn’t help that you have access to your email through your mobile phone. With mobile phones, it’s an easy fix because you don’t have to setup your email client, but getting out of the “5-minute email checking habit” can be tough taking discipline to knock off.
Start small and build yourself up to a routine suitable for you. When I started, I went from checking email messages 10 times to 8, then 6,5,3 and now 2 times only.
Hire Someone to Help
This can get expensive however if you have money to burn, you should hire someone to organize your inbox. I’ll admit many private firms frown on such a practice, but if you don’t have anything to hide, it’s something you should consider. This person will be responsible for cleaning up your inbox, forwarding very important emails, removing spam, and even replying. However, as mentioned it can get very expensive, but you’ll save a lot of time and increase productivity too.
Try it out and be clear about what you expect from the email secretary.
I’ll admit I’m guilty of this because when someone doesn’t acknowledge they’ve received my email, I’ll keep writing to them trying to get a follow-up. You’ll be surprised how a simple acknowledgment of receipt will lower emails, and increase productivity. You’ll have fewer people hounding you for a response giving you more time to focus on the task at hand. If you have someone helping you manage your inbox, then the job of acknowledgment just got easier.
Technology has changed the way we communicate, and applications have changed the way we organize our email inbox. Over the years, I have worked with several clients who are using smart apps to manage their email messages. For example, you have yesware which will notify you when someone has read your email. This allows you to plan before the reply, making you more efficient with your response.
You also have a neat application Hiri.com which provides a whole handful of features. Here are just a few:
- Manage calendars, tasks, and contacts.
- Emails and tasks side by side.
- Segment what you need to do and what you need to know about. This way you focus on the emails or tasks that require completion.
- Have other users under your application, and delegate an email task to them.
- Time how often you want to check email messages. You have a remainder telling you not to check emails so often allowing you to be more productive.
- Power search.
- Security and safety features.
- Free for up to 10 users.
These are just a few examples of how powerful some applications truly are and how they can help with your productivity.
Create Folders and Filters
If you are not using folders and filters with your current email application, then you’re wasting enormous time. I have filters setup that segment messages as they arrive. They’ll be placed into folders I’ve designed based solely on importance. Each time I log in, I’ll check the important folder right away and give these emails priority. I also have folders for lower priority messages which can wait for a reply from me.
Start to manage your inbox and save enormous time going forward. With so many resources available, you can learn what strategies to apply almost immediately. You also have applications for free which you can use to assist you along the way. If you need to add filters and create folders then take initiative right now and put them into place.
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