4 Tips for Easier Emailing

A few simple strategies will make processing your email a snap!

Do you feel like email has taken over your life? Well, you’re not alone. In a study by Information Week, over 75% of the people surveyed said that email is essential to their lives—and an additional 15% say they’d rather lose their spouse than give up email! It’s important to remember that email is a tool we can control—one that is meant to improve communication and make our lives easier. To that end, here are four top tips to wrangle that inbox:

  1. Smarten up your subject line. Put as much descriptive information in the subject line as possible, and your recipient will know what your message is about without having to even open your email. For instance, “Rescheduling Meeting: Orig. 6/1/11 3PM—New 6/1/11 5PM” is a lot better than “Meeting time changed”—the more descriptive, the better.
  2. Don’t use your inbox as a filing cabinet. Instead, create descriptive folders in your email program—by topic, client, vendor, etc. As you’re finished reading your messages, file them accordingly.
  3. Filter your messages to save a step. Once you’ve set up some folders, you can then tell your email program to automatically put messages from specific senders or with specific subject lines into the folders where they belong. For instance, if you’re receiving dozens of newsletters, create a “Newsletters” folder, and have your email program filter those emails right into the folder, bypassing your inbox entirely. In your email program, search the help for “rules” or “filters” for more instructions.
  4. Beware the 4,000-message inbox. Instead of letting emails pile up in your inbox indefinitely, set a limit for how many messages you want to have there at any given time—I recommend no more than 25 or so (once you have more than that, it’s hard to actually see what’s in there). Once your messages start growing past the limit you set, schedule some time to process your email.

Joshua Zerkel, Productivity Strategist, is a Certified Professional Organizer® and the founder of Custom Living Solutions the San Francisco Bay Area’s premier productivity and organizing consulting firm, and he’s the creator of the Profitable Productivity System. Josh specializes in helping entrepreneurs and small businesses find easy ways to get control of their space, information, time, and technology so they can reduce stress and boost their productivity – and their profits. Visit Custom Living Solutions and get instant access to Josh’s exclusive Special Report “The 7 Must-Have Productivity Systems” and schedule your complimentary “Eliminate the Chaos” strategy session!

 

Two Strategies for Stemming the Tide of Email

Learn to master your email, instead of letting your email master you.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by your email inbox? You are not alone. Email is complicated because it is an interruptive medium. If you leave the door open for email all day long—i.e., if you have email programs open in front of you, or your phone alerts you every time a new message comes in—chances are you’re going to feel overwhelmed all the time. You can’t control when an email comes to you, so if you leave that door open, you are going to feel bombarded all day long. Here are two ways to gain control over your inbox—and your time.

Turn off message alerts. Unless you are in an industry that requires instant responses, the first thing I’d encourage you to do is turn off any new message alerts. For most people, the majority of emails that come through do not require immediate attention. At the same time, email has become commonplace enough that you know you’re receiving email—you don’t need your phone or computer to tell you that.

Schedule time to process email. If you know you’ve got messages waiting for you, it makes sense to schedule the time to address it. Email is not the kind of thing you can simply get to in your spare time. It is a real task, and just as returning phone calls takes time, so too does processing email. I recommend setting up a few times in the day to check email—maybe once in the morning, once after lunch, and one more time when you’re ready to wrap up the day. A few times a day is typically enough to respond to email. Even if you’re not responding instantly, you’re still responding within a few hours, and in most cases people will still feel that you are being responsive. If you find that you are completely overwhelmed by email, make these real, scheduled appointments on your calendar.


Joshua Zerkel, Productivity Strategist, is a Certified Professional Organizer® and the founder of Custom Living Solutions the San Francisco Bay Area’s premier productivity and organizing consulting firm, and he’s the creator of the Profitable Productivity System. Josh specializes in helping entrepreneurs and small businesses find easy ways to get control of their space, information, time, and technology so they can reduce stress and boost their productivity – and their profits. Visit Custom Living Solutions and get instant access to Josh’s exclusive Special Report “The 7 Must-Have Productivity Systems” and schedule your complimentary “Eliminate the Chaos” strategy session!

 

Thank You Google – Content is Queen Again (Mostly)

Here’s hoping that Google’s recent focus on improving their search results to feature websites that actually provide decent, original content is a trend that continues. This focus needs to become even more discerning.

The proliferation of sites that put out regurgitated useless content, all laced with an over abundance of keyword driven links in every paragraph, may now decline – at least in the results that show up on the front page of a search. As users of information, we want quality information. Don’t insult us by using the same old story, thinly disguised as something new. Most of us have pretty well trained B.S. detection systems by now – and we are not fooled.

What does this mean to you as a website owner? It means asking yourself these questions:

Does my site content address the concerns and needs of my site visitor?”

“Am I giving my visitors/readers the information they want and need?”

If you care about them returning to your site, the answer needs to be “Yes”.

As a frequent user of on-line information I recently signed up for a weekly e-zine. The first issue arrived. I was expecting lots of good advice, news and suggestions. I got two paragraphs driving me to links, to more links, all promising me the information – which I never got. After 4 link clicks, I gave up and immediately Unsubscribed. This large on-line information company spent a lot of time and money getting me to sign-up – only to lose me immediately because of garbage content.

Web site content doesn’t need to be written by John Steinbeck – just make it authentic, original and useful. Keywords and links can be placed to help with your SEO needs, just don’t let these needs drive the content over a cliff and make the whole thing unreadable and annoying to your visitors.

On the flip side, there are a multitude of great information sites waiting to be read – pick any obscure subject and you will find a lot of content rich sites addressing the subject. Raising rabbits? Composting for fun and recreation? Learning to paint on-line? It’s all out there. Google is now rewarding these niche sites for their originality – and readers everywhere rejoice!

Suzanne ElliottSuzanne is an artist and freelance copywriter who specializes in web content, articles and press releases. She is an expert at writing email content that engages the reader. She can be found at Sue Elliott and Pleinairmuse.com.

 

Simple Email Marketing Strategies that Create Profits

The cornerstone of successful (i.e. profitable) email marketing strategy is having a responsive list. Many Internet marketing “gurus” talk about having a large number of subscribers and liken that as the link to their success. But when you’re building a community within your target audience, it’s really less about the quantity of email subscribers and more about the quality of subscribers on your list. Building a strong, trusting relationship with ideal prospects in your target market is important because when you do make an offer, they’ll be more likely to respond.

The only way to get your email subscribers to respond to you is if you earn their trust. And one way you can do this is to keep in touch with them consistently. Sending an email only when you have something to promote will not yield the results you expect.

Why?

Because they know all you’re trying to do is sell them something – no one likes to be sold. If you have tried this in the past, you probably saw a large number of people unsubscribe from your list shortly after the offer was mailed, right?

The key to building a responsive email list is to keep in regular contact with them. Emailing your list at least once a week with a tip, or links to your weekly blog posts or even a newsletter, is a good start to building a relationship with them. Once they see you’re working hard to interact with them, build a rapport with them and share helpful information/resources, they will be more receptive to your offers.

Consistency is critical. And the only way to achieve consistency is to create a system for staying in touch with your email subscribers. My favorite way to create a system is to use technology to work for you so that you can maintain the level of communication from week to week and month to month.

This is a really simple strategy, but I often see folks getting stuck on the “how to” details and therefore, it just doesn’t get done.

If you’d like to learn my proven, email marketing secrets (those that bring me hot client leads and generate passive income for by business each and every week), I invite you to join me in my “Build Marketing Momentum” training program. There you’ll receive my step-by-step system for attracting more clients, creating more visibility for your work and systematizing your marketing efforts. Get all the details on this affordable, easy to implement program at www.BuildMarketingMomentum.com.


Sydni Craig-HartSydni Craig-Hart, expert marketing coach and consultant, supports service professionals in creating success – in both their businesses and their lives. Known as “The Smart Simple Marketing Coach,” Sydni uses a results-focused, “how to” approach in implementing simple and customized strategies so clients realize their professional and personal dreams. She has worked with hundreds of clients in over 50 different industries to help them attract more clients, develop multiple streams of income, discover untapped profit centers, gain national recognition, and create profitable businesses in which they enjoy the lifestyles they choose. To get your free Smart Simple Marketing Starter Kit and to schedule a complimentary “Profit Breakthrough” coaching session, visit www.SmartSimpleMarketing.com.

Pick up the Easy Money with Email Marketing

Not marketing to your current and previous clients, prospects and professional connections is like leaving nuggets of gold lying unclaimed on the sidewalk. Yet it is surprising how many businesses make this fundamental error – especially when times are good.

One of the most effective uses of marketing time and dollars is to implement a well thought out campaign of informational emails that will go out to your data base of current and previous clients, prospects and professional associates. Each email should be designed to inform and connect with the specific targeted group. Email going to your Previous Clients group will be messaged differently than email going to your Prospects. Likewise with your Professional Associates group.

We recently created an email marketing campaign for a Mortgage Broker. Each month we prepare short and interesting emails to each of the Broker’s contacts and schedule each mailing carefully. Prospective home buyers are contacted every week as they are the most needy of reassurance and information. Previous Clients are contacted every 3 weeks with up-dates on interest rates and things happening with the Banks that could be of interest to them. The Broker’s Professional Associates contacts are emailed once a month to keep them abreast of changes in the laws, interest rates etc.

Too much email is a turn off and gets you relegated to the Spam file. Too little contact and your contacts wonder where you are and go elsewhere.

Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter in all of us – so keep your e-mails to no more than 250 words long – people just don’t want to wade through long messages. Each email should focus on ONE piece of information only. Give them the information they need using a conversational tone and friendly voice – no selling or pushing. End with contact information. Be sure to give email recipients a way to “unsubscribe” if they want. After all, you want your message read by willing readers.

Interesting Factoid: Do you know that Wednesday and Thursday are generally the best days to send out email? The Open rates are much higher than other days of the week. One of the joys of email is that we can reach a large group with one click. Conduct your own testing and see what this approach can do for your business.


Suzanne ElliottSuzanne is an artist and freelance copywriter who specializes in web content, articles and press releases. She is an expert at writing email content that engages the reader. She can be found at Sue Elliott and Pleinairmuse.com.