Taming the email beast frees-up more time for marketing

Editor’s note: After more than two years of contributing columns to the Bellingham Business Journal, this will be Patti Rowlson’s last. She is streamlining her work to focus more on her business, PR Consulting. 

By Patti Rowlson
Courtesy to the Bellingham Business Journal

A business peer recently mentioned that they receive more than a hundred emails a day and that they hit the delete button on most of them.

Some of the emails came from blogs they subscribed to a few years ago and the content is no longer valuable so they don’t make the time to read it. Delete.

Another set came from networking contacts who added them to email newsletters without permission and they don’t want to offend that contact by unsubscribing from their emails. Delete.

Purchasing products online using a work email address (instead of a personal email address) led to even more emails. Now sales-related emails show up all the time from those merchants and other companies they didn’t even buy from. Delete, delete, delete.

Everyday it’s a process of receive, scan, delete and repeat—this will sound familiar to many of you.

Sorting through unwanted emails is a huge time waster, even if you’re just scanning the sender’s name, email subject line and then hitting the delete button. It’s a task that distracts or delays company owners, managers and employees from taking care of meaningful activities every day.

Recapture valuable time by taming your email inbox

Say it takes about 30 minutes to filter through and delete a hundred emails every week day—that’s two and a half hours every week or 10 hours per month that could be spent on more productive tasks. Stop and think about that. There is an opportunity to re-capture approximately 10 hours of time each month by simply taming your email inbox.

You may be surprised to hear this advice from me, as a person who encourages small business owners to use digital media, blogging and email marketing to reach their target audiences, but here goes. I’m suggesting that you work to clean up your inbox by turning off redundant social media notifications and unsubscribing from newsletters, blogs and marketing emails you no longer find value in.

The goal is to decrease distractions, increase efficiency and reclaim extra time in your week for productive tasks, like business development and marketing for example.

Here are three simple tips for taming your inbox:

– Unsubscribe from all email newsletters and blog articles you rarely read. Be honest with yourself—do you ever read the information or do you always intend to but never get around to it? Scroll to the bottom of each newsletter/blog email and click “Unsubscribe.”

– Turn off all email notifications from retail stores you buy from online, or have those emails sent to a personal email account instead of your business email account. Scroll to the bottom of each email to look for an “Unsubscribe” option or log into your account with those merchants and change contact preferences in your user profile. Also uncheck any boxes that give permission for the merchant’s third party friends to send you emails.

– Adjust notification settings on social media profiles. Stop receiving an email every time someone likes a photo or favorites a tweet—check out “Settings” and “Email Notifications” on your social sites. Turning off email notifications does not mean you won’t know when activity happens on your account (you’ll still see notification flags or icons each time you log onto those social sites), it just means you won’t receive an email telling you there was activity on the profile.

Over the course of a month, using these three simple tips will greatly reduce the number of unwanted emails received at work so you can be more focused on productive tasks.

So, what will you do with 10 more hours each month? How about attending networking events, writing blog articles for your company website, making sales calls or even interacting with consumers on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. The options are limitless and the choice is yours.

Patti Rowlson is a marketing consultant and social media manager at PR Consulting, Inc. She helps Whatcom County small businesses identify, implement and consistently maintain marketing-related programs. Learn more about small-business marketing by connecting with PR Consulting on social media sites or by visiting www.pattirowlson.com.

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