The War on Email

Inbox Heroes: Calming the Email Madness

didier Inbox Heroes: Calming the Email Madness

Mr. Didier.

Eric Didier is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and co-founder of ividence, a technology startup that applies the type of behavioral targeting used in retention emails to the email acquisition market.

As an entrepreneur, husband, father to three (wonderful!) children, and active member in a number of groups and associations, I get a lot of email. As do many of you.

At ividence, we send customer acquisition emails to records who have opted in to hear about special offers. Knowing how quickly our inboxes get overloaded, ividence operates on the principle that email is only valuable to people who want it.

But even emails you want—from friends, family, colleagues and companies—can quickly overwhelm. These are the tips and tricks I use to make my inbox a saner place.

Plus addressing = more email addresses
Gmail addresses can be customized to track projects or types of emails. Say your email address is john.doe@gmail.com. You can use john.doe+vendorapps@gmail.com for vendor application forms and john.doe+newsletters@gmail.com for newsletters. Each goes to the same inbox, and then you can use filters to organize incoming emails.

You’ll also know if a company sold your email without telling you. If a + address is burned by being sold, create a filter to send emails received at john.doe+naughtycompany@gmail.com straight to the trash. So there’s no need to change your 10-year-old address just because of a spammer. (If a website won’t accept the + sign in your address, that’s a bad sign.)

If it doesn’t belong in email, don’t email it
Some communication doesn’t work through email. At ividence, we use Google Docs for collaborative documents. Rather than sending dozens of emails tracking changes, everyone reviews and updates in one place. For collaboration, email is bulky, slow, and plagued with versioning issues. Save time and just don’t do it.

Put email in its place
We use Google Apps for work email. The beauty of filtering is its association with labels, which become folders in Outlook and on my iPhone. Thanks to Google Apps for Outlook (yes, I still use it!) and iPhone, everything gets synchronized and organized in real time. I no longer receive emails multiple times on different devices, and I know where emails are when I need them.

How you know and who you know
Are you a LinkedIn addict for your day-to-day tasks? Rapportive is a plugin that shows you the LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter profile of your correspondent… whether you know them already or not. It’s useful to:

  • Make a connection with a new contact.
  • Remember how you know people you haven’t written recently.
  • Add your own notes for each contact.

All these practices give me some freedom from the inbox, and every moment not spent on email is one I can spend with my family.

For Inbox Heroes, Betabeat is curious about your war stories, productivity tips and moments of extraordinary email. Send us an email to tips et betabeat daught com with “war on email” in the subject line and a paragraph or two (or more!) about how you deal with your influx of electronic letters.

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