For a long time now email more than any form of communication is the primary way I connect to clients and team mates. I won’t go too much how clunky it is and how easy it is to get buried alive in a deluge of messages and miss, forget or lose critical timely information. Not to mention the stress of it all.
And yet it still most reliable for me. For businesses that primarily get leads online, I believe the studies that it is still the highest converting medium for sales, way ahead compared to SEO, mobile marketing and social media.
So how do I tame it?
- I’ve incorporated Slack for team members and almost reduced team emails with them by 90%. Too bad clients have a harder time adjusting and I often just give up convincing them to use it.
- I have tons of emails concerning updates and sales from suppliers (hosting, domain registrar, subcription software etc) and also industry blogs. I need them but they are not urgent and comprises of more than half of email messages I get. I filtered them to one separate folder I named Updates which skips the inbox.
- Here’s a tricky one but could well be the most crucial: negotiate or train your recipients. Carefully craft your emails to be super clear and efficient and short but not in the form of instant messaging. Send less emails. Send for later so they don’t automatically respond. Ignore some people that cannot be trained or better corresponded in other ways (you have to adjust to their form of communication).
- Flag actionable ones then archive everything else. Unflag when you move the items in an action list, other reference place or have scheduled in your calendar.
- Newest tactic I’m doing is making full use of drafts. So far extremely effective. Don’t write to send, write to draft and think through what you are sending.
What didn’t work for me:
- Having complicated more than 3 level folders and subfolder filing system. And complicated multi-purpose filters.
- Scheduling when to check.
- Using an offline client like Thunderbird.
- Having multiple account to check. Although I do have different emails but they all go to one account (via google).
- Using email as your reference system. Use something else like local drive or Evernote or in my favorite Respohphnotes.
- emailga.me and other apps