THE BLOG

Who's the Boss - You or Your Inbox?

08/07/2013 12:06 EDT | Updated 10/07/2013 05:12 EDT

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Like everyone I struggle with managing my inbox and it's a tough battle. In fact, about a year ago one executive client of mine showed me that he receives no less than 400 emails per day. Yes, you read correctly. Four hundred new emails show up per day in his inbox. I could sense the frustration in his voice when people have the temerity to accuse him of being curt or blunt in email replies. But what other option does he have?

It then dawned on me that I had to dramatically cut down the length of my emails. I now try to restrict my emails to no more than six sentences. If it has to be longer, I'll attach a document.

And since I've been making a conscious effort to be considerate, I've noticed many businesses (large and small) are starting to become very inconsiderate.

Disturbing Trend

I've noticed a disturbing trend recently. Many times I've emailed someone at a company -- be it business or personal related -- and the next thing I know I've been subscribed to their company email list.

Surprise!

But I never subscribed or agreed to be on your business email list, so why on earth did you add me to it? Because you had my email address? That is not enough of a reason and I'd classify you as a spammer. You're no better than the folks who are pitching Viagra-like products on email. Yes, this even applies to some of my relatives who do this. Some may call that harsh but it's true. You didn't ask me for permission yet you added me to your company email list?

Social Media Expert

What sent me over the edge is that a few days ago a so-called "social media" expert recently did exactly the aforementioned. We've exchanged a couple emails but I never subscribed to their email list from my business email. If I wanted to do so, I would have used my Hotmail account. The next thing I know I'm on their company email list. And this is someone who calls themselves an "expert"? I sure hope they aren't advising clients this kind of thing because it's downright wrong and at maximum a violation of a lot of privacy policies. At a minimum a violation of many email best practices.

The funniest thing is that when I unsubscribed from their email list, I got this message.

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So Much Noise

Having built my own business and working with business leaders who have done the same, I understand how difficult it is to find and retain customers. There is so much noise that finding and retaining customers is difficult. One good platform to do so is email but only if used and built the right way.

I've written my Master's thesis on email and helped contribute to a free Guide to Email Marketing because I believe in educating others to learn and improve their businesses.

Please don't just add people to your email list when they haven't opted in. Ask them to join. And if they don't want to then be gracious about it. The same applies to your LinkedIn connections or Facebook friends. Don't use those platforms as a means to email people about your work every day.

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It all comes down to quality over quantity. I'd rather have 100 per cent of 4,000 people who look forward to my email newsletter; as opposed to 1 per cent of 40,000 people subscribed to it without their permission.

Think about it for a minute.

Do you want 4,000 or more highly engaged recipients?

Or do you want 400 turned off subscribers who will hesitate in ever emailing you in the future?

Gmail Tips: 9 Tricks For Keeping Your Inbox Under Control