We all get a lot of email and we all have our own tricks for keeping our inboxes get out of hand. Here are five of them from all across the industry.
ClickZ is full of best practices around the emails we send, but what about the emails we receive? According to The Radacti Group’s Email Statistics Report from last year, the average person was sending and receiving 112.5 business emails every day, a number that’s projected to grow by 3 percent each year.
Everyone has their own system for dealing with that deluge of messages. I personally like to open and then downsize everything, so I don’t forget to respond to later. Maybe you sort them into folders, maybe you’re an avid flagger, or maybe you ignore them altogether like the people (if you can even call those monsters “people”) who can relate to the right side of that title image.
If you’re in the market for some new email management methods, here are five of them from people in different roles all across the industry.
Adam Singer, analytics advocate, Google
“I treat my email as a to-do list,” says Adam Singer. “If something is important, I’ll star it and put it at the top. I try to carve out time at the end of my day to go through those. Anything not important, I’ll try to clear out so it’s not just sitting there.”
Being organized like that keeps Singer on top of anything that requires a response and prevents him from being “a bottleneck” when something needs an approval or an agency has a question. Another way Singer recommends keeping organized: You know those 18 newsletters you never actually read? Unsubscribe from them.
Jamie Gutfreund, global CMO, Wunderman
As one of the most senior members of a huge agency, Jamie Gutfreund gets about 200 emails a day, a healthy mix of internal and external messages. She avoids inbox insanity with an elaborate system of folders.
“I flag everything that I need to pay attention to or is a priority,” says Gutfreund. “Every night, I review those emails to make sure I handle timely issues or requests. Then about once every two weeks, I delete everything that’s not flagged.”
Remember in Die Hard how that guy told John McClane not to hesitate next time he has the chance to kill someone, and John was like, “Thanks for the advice” before blasting him from under the table? That’s how Brandon Rhoten of Wendy’s handles his emails, deleting questionably important ones with abandon.
“If someone really needs me, they’ll find me. And people who know me realize subject lines and brevity matter if they want me to open the email,” says Rhoten, who uses an Outlook app to sort messages and mark certain senders as VIP.
Bilal Kaiser, principal, Agency Guacamole
You know who gets a ton of email? PR people, especially the ones who run their own agencies. Between media contacts in New York and a client in Japan, Bilal Kaiser’s inbox never slows down; he keeps up with Boomerang, a browser plugin for Gmail.
“If I’m running from meeting to meeting, it’s hard to sit down and respond, so I’ll read an email to know what’s happening and then use Boomerang to bounce it back depending on whatever schedule I want,” explains Kaiser. “Even if I send an email and someone doesn’t respond, I can say, ‘Have this sent back to me in two days so I can follow up.'”
Ryan Phelan, vice president of marketing insights, Adestra
Like Wunderman’s Gutfreund, Ryan Phelan of Adestra relies on a system of folders, one of which is dedicated to interesting mar-tech sales pitches. If he’s waiting on a proposal or a final decision, the email goes in the “Strokes” folder to keep it from clogging the inbox or getting lost in the shuffle. For those of you who use Outlook, Phelan also recommends the “Conversation View” option underneath the “Arrange By” tab.
“Let’s say you have 10 emails in a thread. In Conversation Mode, it rolls it all up into one line,” he says, drawing a comparison to Gmail. “An internal email may have commentary from half the company; it clarifies everything so I don’t feel overwhelmed by looking at the amount of email in my inbox.”
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As an email marketer, I would rather have 100 customers who open and engage with my messages than 10,000 who don't.