Your IT service experts help explain some simple email management tips that can help you avoid unwanted email overload.
Email is essential to modern businesses like yours. It’s the fastest way to get in touch your customers and your busy co-workers, especially when they’re often “out of touch.” Voicemail has practically become a thing of the past with its long, menu-based systems and our continually shortening attention spans. It’s simply not as easy to sift through all your voicemails as it is to find a memo from last week in your emails.
But emails are becoming that way, too. Shopping ads, fake warnings, virus downloaders, sales pitches, and endless email blasts can create unwanted chaos. Which of these are your fault, which of these are your spam filter’s fault, and which of these are unpreventable?
These are not easy questions to answer. But for every piece of “useless” email you get, there’s likely a different explanation. So, here’s our top three email management tips that can help you get to the root of your stress.
1. Signing Up for Email Notifications
Your intent could be as harmless as trying to win a really nice pen. The fine print goes on for days, and the first few paragraphs only talk about the legalities of winning the pen. Why waste your time reading all of it? As a former telemarketer (I regretfully admit this fact), I called countless unsuspecting victims of winning a boat or a shopping spree, and some just wanted more information about insurance and instead they were offered a $300 trip to Vegas* (the asterisk is necessary because there’s always a catch). With this catch, you need to weigh the possibilities. With free or interesting stuff comes a multitude of unwanted emails.
Here’s your email management tip: Only sign up with sites and offers you trust. For example, Scale enters you in a monthly drawing for a no-strings-attached prize just for filling out the survey at the end of a *legitimate* issue ticket. You can also subscribe to our newsletter for updates from our team, and you will actually only receive periodic updates from us. This is something you can count on NOT coming back to haunt you.
Signing up for Sage Accounting Software information has minimal risk. They may include you in a “deal of the month” newsletter that you can easily opt out of later. Winning a free computer from JackInTheBoxBiz.com (I made that site up. It is not an actual site.) – don’t even touch it! It’s not worth losing your most valuable communication source – your email.
2. Training Your Inbox
With your online domain comes an infinite number of resources on the Internet trying to find your email address and give you a virus. Some just want you to open the email so they know your email address is active and they can send you more emails. Hooray!
Here’s your email management tip: Whenever you receive an unexpected email, or an email that has an attachment but not a lot of information, put up the red flag. Here are the steps you need to take:
If you don’t know the sender and you don’t care about what they sent you, mark the email as spam. These emails are usually not legitimate. Your business’s email system or email client (your email client is usually either Outlook or where you access your email directly from the web) has features directly embedded to learn what you think is spam. Don’t just delete the email. If something is spam, you have to mark it as spam. Consult your IT support professionals to learn how to do this from your email client.
If someone you trust sends you something you don’t trust, there’s always the off-chance that their computer has a virus that sent it to you. Try calling them to see if they intended to send the email in question. If that doesn’t work, send a ticket to the IT support services department and have them examine it for you. We’re very experienced in handling risky attachments (most of us learned this lesson VERY well before working at Scale).
Unsubscribe from newsletters that you always end up deleting. You may occasionally receive something good, but chances are that you would save a bunch of time not sitting in front of an email deciding if you have time for it. You probably waste a couple of hours a week or even per day deciding if you have time for these things. Your time is better spent actually running your business!
3. Taking Over Someone Else’s Emails
Unfortunately, this is a necessity for businesses. It can happen for any number of reasons, but the reason doesn’t matter when the emails start pouring in from two directions.
Here’s your email management tip: Consider creating a folder structure with email rules that make it easy to separate your incoming emails. If you’re unfamiliar with email rules and don’t have time to play with it, you should contact your IT service department for assistance.
For example, in Outlook, you probably only want YOUR emails going to your inbox because it gets confusing when you see 20 of Retired Joe’s emails coming in at regular intervals. You can make a new folder called “Joe’s Emails” and set up a rule so that all emails that are addressed to Joe@yourcompany.com to go to the “Joe’s Emails” folder. This will keep any emails that are still going to Joe separate from yours. Just don’t forget to check Joe’s email folder too!
The Bottom Line
You are the best defense against spam. There are a few tricks that your IT department can do in the back end to your spam filters and we will occasionally unsubscribe you from certain notifications upon request; but overall, there’s no perfect solution that will help you or us know what’s useful and what’s not. The more you train yourself and your email client, the more useful your inbox will become.
If your office is in need of business IT support services in Little Rock, contact Scale today at 501-588-3199. We would be happy to provide consultation on ways to make your email system more efficient.