Business owners spend a lot of time in their email inbox. It’s a necessary evil for those of us that are building a business that blogs. However antiquated email feels, your clients are using it and truth be told, many love it. I enjoy email as it allows me to react and respond on my time frame and not someone else’s. Think about it, a phone call is immediate and unless you ignore it (don’t do that in biz) you are sort of held hostage. Email is communication that works with my schedule. You do need to tame the email inbox beast though or you’ll quickly be overwhelmed.
Subscriptions, clients, fan comments, social media notifications and email from other bloggers all clog your inbox. The messages are both a blessing and a curse. With them your business could be flourishing and without them, nonexistent.
How to Tame the email inbox beast for your sanity
Keep email responses short and sweet
Four or Five sentences max. That’s plenty. As CEO, you need to be succinct and get to the point. Ain’t nobody got time for ramblin’.
- Eliminate the Dear Name
- Eliminate your signature (they know who sent it duh)
- Eliminate the sign off like Sincerely
- Don’t use stationary and hard to read fonts
Check your email twice a day MAX
- Morning and night
Don’t leave it open all day just waiting for what comes through. You’ve got a business to run. If you’re worried that a client may feel neglected, then teach them what to expect. Setup an automatic response to your received emails that states when you check and respond. When you work with me, we will set up your schedule and email system.
Thank you for the email. I regularly check all emails at 8am and 6pm daily. I will respond promptly during those hours.
Turn off unnecessary notifications
Do you really need to know that your post was “liked”? Turn off all but the most important notifications that require an answer and help your response rate rise. Leave those that involve you answering with your expertise (like in your Facebook group) but stop all of the rest. Likes, follows and thumbs up don’t really matter.
Confession: I get my Facebook notifications on my phone and email.
Ask for all information needed the first time
Don’t send three emails back and forth. Ask for everything you need in the first email message. How can you tame the email inbox beast if you’re cluttering it up with multiple messages? There is nothing more frustrating than missing pieces of the puzzle. Every email that is sent should be specific and succinct. Tell every detail needed and tell it with as few words as humanly possible.
Respond to every question asked the first time
Just like the tip above, try to only have one conversation EVERY. DAMN. TIME.
Use conversation view
What’s this you ask? Instead of getting every single email message in a separate email in chronological order, display them grouped by conversations. It’s just a way to display all of the messages inside one conversation. So you don’t have to remember if you actually responded or what was said, you can see it in the original string.
- Outlook: Date (Conversations)
- Gmail (Conversations)
- Hotmail (Conversation View)
Turn off all audible notifications
Now that you’ve turned off all but the most necessary notifications, your office should be a lot quieter. Now listen up, turn off the sound for all of the remaining notices. You aren’t Pavlov’s dog. You do not need to run your life by the sound of those dings. You can see the notification icon so you aren’t missing anything by turning off the noise. (this goes for your phone too)
Once you get acclimated again to the peace and quiet and only checking your messages according to the new twice a day schedule; you’ll feel alot less anxious and tied to your work space.
If you are addicted to the sounds, then leave just one. The cha-ching you get every time a customer buys something. Here’s how to set that one up.
Filter and Folders are our friends
Repeat after me. Filters and Folders are our friends when we are trying to tame the email inbox beast. The only way to stay on top of non-essential emails is to get and stay at inbox zero. Does that mean you never have pending emails? No. it mans that you’ve reviewed and decided on every item in your inbox. Filters help you keep your inbox at bay.
Unsubscribe from all emails that no longer serve you
The minute you receive an email that you deem unimportant, unvaluable or a waste of your time to read; unsubscribe from that list. We are so bombarded every day with tons of choices that if you’re no longer pleased with the emails you’re getting…unsubscribe.
Don’t freak out just yet. If you really yearn for the email list that you left, then it will be in your mind and you can always subscribe again. My bets are on the fact that you’ll soon forget and never even miss it.
PRO TIP: A great way to read blog that you love but don’t want cluttering your inbox is to subscribe via their RSS feed. You get all of your posts in one place. Try this one.
Neglect your email system and you’re bound to get overwhelmed at the sheer volume of messages that you get each day. Set up a process to organize, move, file and purge your emails and your business that blogs will run more efficiently. You’ll feel in control of your office and communication. Tame the email inbox beast often and never let it consume you.
Your blog biz best friend, Cee Lee
PS: Get your email inbox under control and your morning will be less stressful.