You may not be getting a lot of emails right now but trust me, one day you’re going to open up your inbox and find it full to the brim. Before that happens, take the time now to set up a system and get organized. Here are 10 tips for managing email effectively.
Handle all your email through one account
You’re probably using a domain email address because it looks more professional, but if you’re like most bloggers you have several. Foreward all of your email addresses into one so you only have to monitor one account. The best account to do this with is a Gmail account because it will allow you to change the outgoing email address to reflect your domain address. Simply go into your settings, then into your “Accounts and Import” and add your domain address where it says “Send email as”.
Set up folders and labels
Set up folders and labels so you can immediately file away emails as soon as you’re done answering. This makes it easy to retrieve when necessary and it keeps your inbox clear so you don’t miss any incoming mail in the clutter.
Process only once or twice a day
Unless you’re asked for an immediate response, no one is expecting you to answer your email as soon as it hits your inbox. Turn off all alerts and close the window. Check your email once when you log on in the morning and again at the end of the day. If you’re feeling really brave, forget about the beginning of the day and only check in the evening.
Handle it once and be done with it
Handle all emails as you open them. If you read through everything first you’re just going to have to read it again when you get ready to handle it. Open it, reply and file, all in one smooth motion.
People send emails because they don’t have time for a complete over-the-phone conversation. Neither do you. Be brief.
But be cordial
However, it’s also important to remember that it’s much easier to misinterpret meaning when you’re dealing with email. Make sure you’re especially cordial so there’s not misunderstanding.
Check for errors
People don’t necessarily expect perfect spelling and grammar in an email. But remember how easy it is to misinterpret the meaning? One wrong word is all it takes. Check once for errors and then send it on its way.
Organize your contacts
Most email accounts offer you the ability to store and organize contacts. Use it. Why waste time hunting for email addresses all the time when all you have to do is save them once and you’ll have tthem at your fingertips with the click of a button? Organize your contacts into groups, too, so you can easily differentiate between friends, family, clients and members of your network.
Keep email templates on file
If you find yourself typing out the same email all the time, either set it up as a draft or create a file so all you have to do is copy and paste. This is especially helpful if you want to let someone know you received their email and you’ll be responding at a later date.
Add a signature
Google Gmail allows you to add a custom signature that’s included at the end of every email. Set it up once and forget it. Include a link to your website and/or contact information, your sales page, or any other pertinant links you find yourself adding to every email. It’s a great time saver.