Email offers a great way to stay in touch with clients and provide customer service; however, it can also be tedious and a time-waster. Unless you hire a virtual assistant, you need to find a way to manage email that allows you to respond in a timely manner and yet not spend all day answering it. Here are some tips for managing your email.
Limit the Number of Email Accounts You Have
Some home business owners create multiple accounts, such as one for customer service and one for tech help, thinking it will help them sort and manage email. But multiple accounts only create more work. One way around this is to have all accounts forward to a single email, but if you’re going to do that, you might as well have one account. Ultimately, you only need two accounts; one for personal and one for business.
Limit the Number of Times You Check Email Each Day
Checking e-mail seems like a benign activity, and yet it’s one of the biggest time wasters in a home business owner’s busy day. Because email is fast and immediate, there’s an idea that you need to be on it all the time. But that’s not true. While you don’t want to leave your clients or customers hanging for too long, you don’t need to respond to email the moment it arrives. For best management, check email two or three times a day. When you check it, commit to dealing with everything in your inbox at that time. That means answering emails and dealing with customer service issues.
Develop a System for Dealing with and Sorting Email
Most email programs allow you to create folders into which you can sort email. For example, you can create folders for “to-do,” “receipts,” “to-read,” etc. Every email that comes in is responded to and/or sorted appropriately. If you’re a visual person like me, you can use Google’s Gmail program to create multiple inboxes. When an email comes into the main inbox, I sort it into “to-do,” “to-reply,” “to-read,” “client info” inboxes. All these specialized inboxes appear in different sections on my Gmail page. Plus, I still have labels to sort another email, such as receipts, into folders.
Delete, Delete, Delete
I use a mail washer program with my business email because I get so much junk. This allows me to see all the emails on the server and delete the items I don’t want, so I only download the email I need. If you use web-based email, you don’t download it, so you simply need to scan, check and delete the junk. Doing this first makes it easy to see and manage the items you need to respond to.
Are you reading all the newsletters and updates you get? If you find you’re deleting or sorting newsletters, but not reading them, it’s time to unsubscribe. If you want to stay up-to-date with a blog, a better option is to use a feed reader, which will capture and list all new posts without filling up your inbox.
Empty Your Inbox
This is much harder than you think. And once it’s empty, keeping it empty is equally as challenging. Initially, this task will be difficult because odds are you have a lot of emails and it’s time-consuming to go through each piece to sort or delete. My suggestion is to use the search function to find emails from places that contact you a lot. For example, if there is a newsletter you subscribe to, search the newsletter by name or email address. Once you have the list of newsletter emails, you can deal with it in bulk by selecting it all and filing it away into your “to read” or “newsletter” folder. Or you can cheat by select all items in your inbox and put them in a folder called “to be filed”. This empties your inbox without having to file each piece of email, and yet you haven’t lost the email either. Once your inbox is empty, commit to managing each email that arrives at the designated time you’ve scheduled to deal with it.
About the author: Erica R. Gibson is a technological writer at the service where everyone can ask to write my essay. She is highly interested in keeping up with advancing technologies. In this case, she spends her spare time reading various blogs to obtain new knowledge and improve her professional skills.