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Managing Your Inbox

So your inbox runneth over with emails. How do you manage to get through it all? For busy CEOs and executives it all comes down to sorting and prioritizing them by subject or topic.
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If you're like me, you get hundreds of emails a day. You get the emails you really want to read, like the ones you sign up for. You get the emails from your employees which are very important, and you get emails from customers, which you need to get to right away. On top of all of this you probably get Facebook updates in your inbox, as well as a host of emails you didn't sign up for. Don't worry, they're probably not coming from my company, VerticalResponse. We provide permission-based email marketing for small businesses.

So your inbox runneth over with emails. How do you manage to get through it all?

It all comes down to sorting and prioritizing them by subject or topic. The first thing I do is put filters on my emails. For instance, I have a filter set up for "Retailers". These are people that I do my online shopping with. I also have a filter for "Twitter". These are the people that follow me on Twitter that I keep in one place so that I can go back and follow them. I have a filter for "Blog comments," because after we send out an email newsletter directing people to our blog, we get a ton of comments. I check these types of inboxes a few times a week.

I tend not to unsubscribe from too many messages because for my business, it's what I do. I like to see how other businesses are marketing; both the good and the bad. So I just trash most of the messages I didn't subscribe to and search for them later if I need some inspiration.  Hmm. Don't trash something for inspiration. That just sounds weird.

I look closely for emails from VerticalResponse customers. My website address is different from my usual email address so I can filter on janinep@ instead of janine@. That isolates most of my customers so I can find them quickly and respond as needed.

I look very closely for emails from employees. The ones that get read quicker than others have something in the subject line like, "Need action by EOD". Those really get my attention. I also appreciate when our employees refer to a specific topic in the subject line, especially if it has an attachment, rather than including them all in on one email. (Unclear). This way I can find that email with the isolated topic more easily when I need to search for it.

Adding a few filters and setting up categories for your email can really help you save time for your most important matters, and easily go back to less time-sensitive emails when time allows. How are you managing it?

Last updated: Aug 12, 2010

JANINE POPICK is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse (a Deluxe company), a leading provider of self-service email and event marketing, online surveys, social media, and direct mail solutions. The company was ranked No. 2,802 on the 2012 Inc. 5000.
@janinepopick




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