If you had 14 hours per week to work on your online business and you spent 10 of those hours wading through your emails, you’d probably find yourself getting nowhere quickly, no matter how many coaching programs you signed up for and no matter how many eBooks or free bonuses you downloaded.
If you have been involved in Internet Marketing for any length of time, you may have signed up for quite a few newsletters and email lists by now. Your morning inbox might even be 75% full of promotional emails and offers.
Here are a few techniques you can use to help you keep the email monster under control.
- If the emails you are receiving from a particular source aren’t useful or necessary, unsubscribe. (Note: Don’t click “spam” on an email when you have actually subscribed to someone’s list. This essentially acts as a report against the person who is emailing you. Just unsubscribe.)
- If necessary, go through your recent mail once a month, and unsubscribe from any which aren’t really useful.
- Most important – use Gmail.
- Forward emails from each of your email addresses to your Gmail account.
- Set Gmail up to answer all of your emails from within your Gmail account but using the “from” address of your choice. In Gmail, go to Accounts -> “Send Mail As”. This allows you to handle all of your email traffic from one account.
- Gradually train your Gmail account to label all of your incoming messages according to subject, from address, etc. To do this, click on an email message, then go to “More Actions” -> “Filter Messages Like These,” and follow instructions from there.
- Important – When your inbox reaches the overwhelming stage, use the filter as in #6 above to set some types of email to skip your inbox. This includes emails which are not vital for immediate attention, such as newsletter subscriptions, promotional emails, etc.
- Keep emails which would require immediate attention or handling in your inbox – including anything which could have bad consequences if ignored, such as personal contacts, financial information, etc.
- Use the “Star” function as is most workable for you. When I encounter an email which is interesting but does not require immediate action, and I want to go back to it later, I archive and star it. This allows me to handle the priority and vital emails first and go back to my “Star” folder when I have more time.
- Streamline your filters. For example, you can have a label for “Subscriptions,” “Favorite Subscriptions,” and “Unwanted.” Unwanted includes emails which you can not unsubscribe from but which you don’t want to read or see. It is not common but it does happen.
- Do not allow yourself to spend so much time on email that you omit to get vital work done. Have a priority list of tasks that must be accomplished today, this week, daily, weekly, etc. Until those are done, handle only vital and priority emails. When your most vital tasks are under control, you might have some leisure time to window-shop the latest promotions and read your subscriptions.
- If necessary, set aside a time each day when you allow yourself to look at non-vital emails, and allocate the rest of your online “business hours” to your other projects. Discipline yourself on keeping these separate and not multi-tasking them.
- A final note – I consider answering personal emails to be top priority. By “personal emails” I mean emails that were individually written by a human being, not subscriptions or automated messages. Whether it is a friend or a business contact. People become upset when you don’t answer their personal emails and this can hurt your business, as well as other aspects of your life, in the long run.
These steps may not comprise a perfect solution, and there is a lot more that can be said about this subject – there are support desk software solutions, macros which help you answer emails more quickly, etc. The above consists of some basics which anyone can implement to start off with, if you haven’t already.
In my opinion, an inbox is like a dragon – a thousand stories can and probably have been written on how to tame this savage beast. Be willing to constantly streamline your system without dedicating your life to it either.