If you are like 99.99% of the people in this world who have more than one email account to take care of then I can almost guarantee that your inbox is out of control.
In fact I’d go so far as to say you approach your inbox with a certain fear or even dread every single day because you can’t keep on top of all the emails you receive. And you’re not alone. Do you know how many emails we send every second?
2.8 million. That’s right 2.8 million.
No wonder you are overwhelmed by your inbox. What the heck are we doing sending that many emails? Whatever happened to the good old telephone? Well the fact of the matter is that email is still one of the most valuable business tools around.
That’s why 39.4% of marketing industry executives called Email Marketing the most powerful advertising channel for their business (according to Datran Media’s 2010 Annual Marketing and Media Survey) and why 63% of respondents would like to increase spending on email marketing in 2011 (according to a January 2011 survey organized by BtoB Magazine),
Businesses will continue to use email to keep you informed, educated and in their sales funnel cycle. They will work on ways to constantly improve how to market to you and get you to opt-in. You will continue to sign up to receive newsletters and daily email summaries from them as a result and because you want to stay ahead of the curve. You want instant information at your fingertips in real-time.
In addition you will continue to send more and more email and get more replies because you know it’s still one of the most reliable forms of communication around.
So how do you win this battle of the inbox?
At the start of the year I was determined to exercise control of my email. Thanks to a timely email (ironic I know) on how to do this, I decided to follow these exact instructions and so far the results have been dramatic.
If your inbox is drowning with emails, both read and unread and that stresses you out then read on:
Exercise 1: Invest in your sanity
Go to the end of your email inbox, whether it’s at page 1 or 19 and mark the check all box for that page if the emails are more than 2 months old. Then click `Delete All’. Do this for the remaining pages that are over 2 months old. Do it! If it’s that important, you or the person who sent it would have been in touch since.
Exercise 2: Create an “actions” folder
This is where you’re going to store any emails that you need to take action on and are really important. Give it a colour that indicates action in your mind.
Exercise 3. Pick the most important.
Go through your entire inbox and check off 10-15 that are the most urgent action emails, and file them in this new folder.
Exercise 4. Temporarily archive.
Create a “temp” folder. File everything that’s still in your inbox into this temp folder. Everything. You’re going to get these out of the way and not worry about them at the moment. I know scary but stick with me.
Exercise 5. Set a new policy.
Every new email that comes in will follow the rules in the next section. No more allowing your inbox to pile up. What you’ll find is that you’ll get far more ruthless about what’s important and what isn’t.
Exercise 6: Unsubscribe
Yes that’s right. I know I just told you about the power of email marketing campaigns but please subscribe from the newsletters that come into your inbox that you never read and just hit delete on. This will save you time from deleting each day.
Exercise 7: Install the secret weapon
Install the Rapportive app and bring your email inbox to life. When I came across Rapportive in January this year I was simply amazed. What genius – replace Google Ads with really useful information about that person who’s emailing you and instantly know who you’re dealing with – image on right is how it looks in your inbox.
The fact that I can see a person’s face, their title, business name and more in just a glimpse is transforming my use of email. It gives me the insight and knowledge I need to connect with this person on a whole new level.
Even better I can invite them to connect instantly on LinkedIn, and find them easily on Facebook and Twitter. In a sense I can stalk them by knowing exactly what they’ve been writing, tweeting and blogging about thanks to the snapshot Rapportive provides. This is extremely useful Intel to start building relationships that count with those who matter most.
Also make sure you check out the first of my weekly Toolkit Time Video series where I introduce you to the amazing Dropbox cloud storage tool.
PS Please don’t send me an email telling me this was a helpful post;)