Is your e-commerce business thriving as it should? If not, you may be failing to harvest the power of email. You’re probably worn out from a cluttered inbox brimming with hundreds of incoming emails daily, which drains your productive energy and leaves no time for creative work.
There are a number of hacks you can read all over the internet on how to sell more through emails. However, almost none of them touch on how you should cope with an overflowing inbox. So, if you’re left unmotivated each morning from having to tackle that email work, this article is for you. We’ll explain how you can save time and money by properly managing your inbox.
Top Ten Inbox Hacks for E-commerce Pros
Emails have turned out to be a valuable tool for e-commerce business owners, as their efficiency hasn’t swayed in the decades since their introduction.
61% of people admit to preferring email over social media to receive updates from their favorite brands. However, as your email list increases, the number of emails you have to respond to will increase as well. This can easily lead to a point where email becomes an overwhelming full-time job if not managed properly.
These ten tips will make email communication with both your vendors and your customers much easier.
1. Check Email for Only 15 Minutes at a Time
It’s easy to open your inbox and get swallowed up by endless emails, but you need to prevent this if you don’t want to lose the time and productivity needed for other tasks. The most straightforward way to avoid burnout and stay productive is to check your emails in increments, not all at once.
Controlling the time you spend on emails determines the quality of your responses. When you start receiving similar emails, chances are you’ll send copy-pasted responses and pay little attention to what you write. Checking and responding to emails in batches of fifteen minutes will improve your productivity significantly and reduce the time it takes to write a response.
2. Schedule Time Blocks for Emails
Checking emails when you find spare time here and there isn’t an efficient strategy. Planning to spend only fifteen minutes on them won’t be much use if you don’t leave enough open time slots to perform this. Free enough space in your schedule, and set a reminder every hour or so to start a new batch. Develop your own time management skills.
For instance, you can divide your time into completing other tasks for your e-commerce business or taking breaks. Using task management software helps you schedule and manage such tasks in a simplified manner. Chunking your time into blocks can help you not only with responding to emails but with other tasks as well.
3. Receive Emails in Batches
What if you find it hard to control the urge to open emails as they arrive? Owning and managing e-commerce platforms involves a steady flow of emailed customer and vendor requests for information. There will always be an email that seems important and steals your attention, and the only way to resist this urge is to limit the number of emails that show up in your inbox.
Tools like Boomerang and BatchedInbox can help you receive emails in batches. The way these tools work is pretty simple: emails are grouped and sent to your inbox according to a specific order and timing. If you can’t see it, you won’t be distracted by it.
4. Ruthlessly Unsubscribe
Newsletters make up a major part of our inboxes when it comes to clutter. Even though they might have been useful when you subscribed, they tend to lose their relevance over time. They turn into fillers for your inbox and distract you from the emails that matter. Deleting newsletters one by one creates the illusion of getting rid of them, but they’ll invade your inbox again if you don’t unsubscribe.
Thankfully, each email comes with an unsubscribe link at the end, as obliged by law. Start unsubscribing from newsletters or sales emails in a constant manner. This is no joke. Your inbox is like a garden, and if you don’t remove the weeds, it won’t yield healthy crops. Dedicating at least two minutes per day to unsubscribing from those emails you never open will unclutter your inbox like magic.
5. Turn on the Preview Feature
Another trick you can use to reduce the time you spend uncluttering your inbox is the use of the preview feature. Activating previews in your inbox allows you to see short snapshot of the email’s intro. The feature is supported on most apps that allow you to use Gmail as an email client (and others as well).
Previews allow you to delete junk emails without opening them. It’s a fantastic way to spend as little time as possible on emails, and it makes multitasking easy. Getting rid of junk emails can now be done at a click while you’re doing other tasks. It also means you’re less likely to open emails containing harmful viruses.
6. Touch Emails Only Once (and Use the Five Ds)
Emails can drain your productivity easily if you let them. The best way to avoid this is by managing them on the first click. Opening an email more than once consumes unnecessary time. That’s why following the five Ds (do, delegate, delete, defer, and designate) is a proven way to reduce time spent per email. According to this rule, you shouldn’t exit an opened email without taking one of the mentioned actions.
A vendor has communicated their latest stock update? Delegate it to the respective team. You’ve received a partnership request? Immediately send an answer or designate it to your marketing manager. Depending on how much free time you’ve allocated for responding to emails, take the proper action. If a response takes more time than you can handle, forward it to someone who can deal with it.
7. Folders Are Your Friends
Emails are used to exchange important information and maintain relationships with your customers. But having so much focus on one communication channel clutters it in a matter of days. Categorizing your emails into folders and automating this process using filters makes emails a more efficient communication channel. Most email marketing tools are equipped with useful filters to assist you in this process.
For instance, you can create folders for emails regarding shipments, customer feedback, sponsorships, e-commerce Google Ads, influencer management, partner newsletters, industry news, etc. Narrowing your emails into folders for specific categories makes filtering through them easier, whether you want to delete, unsubscribe, or find a specific email.
8. Manage Additional Mailboxes
If you use cold email to reach new prospects, manage new staff hires, and communicate with vendors, chances are that you have more than one email account. Therefore, managing multiple accounts can become truly challenging without a system in place. This is particularly true for assistants, 75% of which report managing about two or more inboxes for their managers plus their own.
While this makes the management of specific types of emails easier, you should be fully knowledgeable of the permissions you have over each person’s inbox. That comes together with the permission to delegate emails and access resources and tools that can help you turn out competent responses.
9. Draft a Canned Response
There’s a category of emails that require pretty much the same response with slight alterations and personalizations. To respond to these emails faster, you can make use of a canned response. This is similar to using an e-commerce terms-and-conditions template, which can be easily found on the internet and can save you hundreds of hours. Also, you can brainstorm some email response ideas with your employees or colleagues.
Most advanced email marketing tools can help you save canned responses easily. However, a short hack for those using Gmail would be to save these responses as a signature, then embed them easily when needed. You might set the editable parts in bold so you don’t forget to change them before sending a response.
10. Create an Alias Account to Sort Mail
Another effective way to keep your inbox uncluttered is to use an alias account. This allows you to gather your received emails within certain folders, labels, and filters. Creating an alias account is not hard. Simply add a symbol to the first part before @ in your email address, then follow the settings of your platform to apply filters for incoming emails. You can use an email checker if you want to verify whether the new address is valid.
For instance, if your email address is [email protected], an alias could be [email protected]. You can use this alias to sign up for newsletters and industry events or to receive financial documents. Then, using the filters, you can categorize incoming emails into folders and avoid cluttering your main inbox.
Even though the e-commerce industry is daily modernized with news tools and apps, email remains one of the most powerful communication channels. You don’t have to be a professional designer to build beautiful emails; a drag-and-drop email builder will do the trick. We’ll explore HubSpot and two other e-commerce email solutions below.
Email Solutions for E-commerce
After having covered these ten email management tips, let’s have a look at three tools that will make managing an e-commerce business easier. These tools can assist you in communicating important sales and other information to your customers, as well as building and monitoring the success of your marketing campaigns.
- SparkPost. Transactional emails make up a huge part of e-commerce. SparkPost allows you to send bulk transactional emails with ease. It also focuses on deliverability as an important variable of a company’s revenue.
- HubSpot. You can use HubSpot not only to build emails through their drag-and-drop features, as mentioned above, but also to monitor your open rates and much more. Their plans include multiple tools you can use to scale your e-commerce business.
- Mailchimp. You likely heard of Mailchimp when you were searching for tools to start your email marketing campaigns. This is not by chance, since Mailchimp offers numerous tools, including integrations with Shopify, BigCommerce, and even custom domains.
Emails aren’t going away anytime soon, but the challenges of managing them are increasing daily. As an attention span is difficult to maintain, you’ll benefit from keeping your inbox orderly and straight to the point. By using these tips, you’ll be more productive in the management of your inbox and keep your attention focused on tasks that matter instead of giving it away to spam emails.