It’s me again, Amanda, the Chicory employee who is always popping up in your inbox! As Marketing Associate at Chicory, my job revolves around one tool: email. Whether doing cold outreach to bloggers, helping existing partners resolve issues, or managing onboarding of new publishers, 90% of my day is spent in my email inbox.
I know that, as a blogger, your inbox is your holy grail: every interaction you’ve had with a brand, fan, or hater is in there. Keeping on top of all of these conversations and important business deals can prove to be pretty tough sometimes, though, am I right? I've had no choice but to come up with the most efficient and productive email management tips and I'm here today to share them with you!
Here is something to keep in mind: if you want to reach out to companies or a large group of people at one time, make sure they are a responsive group. Your email service provider has a lot of funky rules you may not know about. Do your research before you end up in hot water and have to make a new email address! SPAM rules and guidelines feel intricate, but really boil down to a simple rule: only send email to people who want to receive that message. Before you send out a big batch of cold emails, double check that these individuals are going to want this content landing in their inbox. Write to brands who really match your niche and make sure folks on your subscriber list have confirmed their opt-in.
If you use the same subject line when emailing a bunch of people at once, consider yourself warned. Some email providers will lump together all of these emails, based on those identical subject lines, tying together many email conversations in a single thread. It turns into a mess and is not fun to try and detangle. If you're sending similar messages out to a lot of different people, customize your subject lines, perhaps by mentioning your recipient's name or company in the subject.
Using Your Features
Ever find yourself saying: “shoot! Where is that email I meant to respond to?" I sure have (and that daunting feeling of trying to find a conversation in an already cluttered inbox is one I hope to avoid forevermore). As I continue to grow not only as a marketer, but an email wizard, I have found new ways to stay organized. If you’re like me and like reminders popping up or notes to remind you of to-dos, this is for you. As a Gmail user, I use the "star" feature to mark emails that I have read that need a response. I then prioritized my inbox to show my starred emails at the top. This allows me to open my inbox right up on any device and get to answering the ones I need, without sorting through tons of other conversations.
To turn this on in Gmail, choose the inbox tab within your settings and change your inbox type to "starred first."
Another (less crazy person) tactic for organizing messages is to simply add categories or flags to your inbox. Gmail even has pre-set sorting options that they'll manage for you as emails come in (social, primary, updates, and forums). This simple organization method allows you to know exactly where to head when looking for something specific, just like when your readers look for a recipe versus a restaurant review on your blog.
To turn this on in Gmail, choose the labels tab within your settings and turn on the ones you wish to separate. I would recommend: social, updates, promotions, and forums. Or, you can completely customize these with your own categories and tags.
Create a signature
Below every email that you send, you should have a signature. Besides it looking professional and covering your back if you forget to put your name at the end of an email, it allows you to put your blog URL, social media accounts and anything else you may want to include. Keep things simple and small. When the signature is too big it stops looks professional and starts looking messy. You also run the risk of images not displaying if you pack in too many logos or photos--stick to links and text, for the most part.
To turn this on in Gmail, scroll about three quarters of the way down your general settings page and add your signature and photo to be attached with all of your emails.
Eliminate Panic with "Undo Send"
Turn on this feature! It's gold. It feels like you only notice errors right as your finger presses the send button. *Insert panicking here.* Gmail allows you to turn on a feature that gives you up to 30 seconds delay when sending an email. Next time you spell hello, "hell," leave that beautiful head of hair alone and sit back--you have 30 seconds to save yourself.
To turn this feature on in Gmail, head into your settings, scroll about halfway down the page, enable undo send and choose a time frame.
Be Professional, But Friendly
I am always excited to hear from anyone who lands in my inbox. Let me tell you, some of you are really funny. I have to try hard to not write OMG or LOL to your responses. But I don't because I'm representing Chicory... so I try to say LOL as professionally as possible. ;)
You and your blog are a business so presenting yourself as a friendly, easy to talk to, business person is balancing act. You want people to feel comfortable reaching out with feedback, a compliment or even a complaint. But watch where you draw the line. Try to keep from getting too silly over email. Keep things like gossip at the brunch table or funny GIFs to your instant message client. Sure, it's fun, but it can create lots of email clutter!
Keep Messages Brief, But Don't Be Rude
Sometimes this can be HARD. Everyone has bad days. I too have stubbed my pinky toe getting ready for work in the morning and those are the days where my over-and-out style can come off as terse or even unprofessional. Lengthy emails can be a slog too, though. How can you achieve both at once? Be aware of your grammar and word choice. Something as simple as using periods and commas instead of ellipses can really make a difference in tone. If you are unsure of how your message is coming across take a step back--give it an hour and then reread before you hit send.