For any kind of business, regardless of its size and industry, email still remains one of the most effective communication tools you can come across. There are some good reasons for this – communication via email is quick, convenient, and completely free of charge.
In addition, emails are not as intrusive as phone calls, for instance, so that’s why most consumers prefer receiving emails from brands. Also, they bring an incredible return on investment – a survey conducted by the Demand Metric and Direct Marketing Association has shown that email has a median ROI of 122 percent. This is 4 times higher when compared to various other marketing formats.
Emails can be used for pretty much anything – you can interact with your customers and target audience, you can use them for creating a powerful marketing campaign, you can set up meetings, etc. And you can do all of this either from the comfort of your office or home, or when you are on the go.
However, if not used appropriately, emails can negatively affect the overall productivity of your organization. In fact, according to some research, an average employee spends ¼ of their workday on reading and replying to emails, which makes email one of the most time-consuming responsibilities for workers.
So, if you want to make the most of this effective communication tool, you need to know how to deal with a cluttered inbox. Keep on reading, as we will provide you with four easy tricks to prevent your inbox from becoming overloaded.
1. Don’t delay decluttering your inbox
If you don’t want to be overwhelmed by hundreds or even thousands of unorganized emails, the best time to take action is right now, otherwise, matters will only keep getting worse.
The first thing that you need to do is check your inbox and choose which emails you can delete right away. Promotional and spam messages, as well as those which you don’t intend to reply to, can all be deleted immediately.
After you’ve deleted everything that is unnecessary, you’ll need to decide which messages from your inbox are essential. You mustn’t leave emails from important clients unanswered for too long, not only because they will clutter your inbox, but also because you might risk looking unprofessional.
That’s why you shouldn’t wait longer than 48 hours to reply to such important emails. The best thing that you can do is respond right away, but if you are unable to do that for some reason, you mustn’t just leave your clients hanging.
2. Set a specific time to send emails
If you keep looking at your inbox throughout the day, it will distract you from more relevant tasks that you should be taking care of. Instead, you and each one of your employees needs to devote a certain time of day to reading emails and responding to them.
Make that time the only period for checking your inbox during your workday. If needed, turn off your mobile devices and focus solely on responding to emails, especially the most relevant ones.
If you think that some of your clients might require an immediate response from you, you can design a group email or an automatic response. Use this to inform them about the hours that you have scheduled for dealing with emails.
For instance, you can write something like this: “Due to heavy workload, we are replying to emails only in the period from 1 to 2 PM every day. If you have some urgent questions or problems, make sure to call…”
Of course, the amount of time you will dedicate to replying to emails depends on how busy you are and on the average number of emails you normally receive each day. For some businesses, it will take more than an hour to deal with emails, while for the others it won’t require more than 15 minutes.
3. Don’t subscribe to just anything
Promotional messages, advertisements, and newsletters can overcrowd your inbox and, as a result, some highly relevant emails might end up being buried in the vast sea of unimportant messages.
To prevent such unfortunate scenarios from happening, you should unsubscribe from any senders whose emails are not important for your business.
If you want to make the whole process of finding which senders you have already subscribed to in the past much more efficient, you can use the search option every inbox has and look for the word “unsubscribe”. After you are provided with the results, carefully go through them and decide which senders are really worth subscribing to.
4. Categorize your emails
It goes without saying that some emails mustn’t be deleted even after you have completed business with some clients. You will need to save them for future reference since they might be important for your organization.
All the major email services offer different options for categorizing, grouping, filing, sorting, and prioritizing your emails. Thanks to these options, it’s easy to keep your inbox well-organized.
For instance, you can create different categories such as “finances”, “leads”, “clients”, “projects”, and so on to find whatever you are looking for in a matter of seconds. This way, you and your employees will no longer need to waste crazy amounts of your precious time on going through endless messages.
To sum up, every business owner that is looking to streamline their daily operations and achieve a maximum level of productivity needs to start keeping their inbox organized. If you follow our tips, you will be good to go and won’t have to worry about wasting time on irrelevant tasks anymore.