About a year or so ago I started referring to my email inbox, as “Inbox Heaven." I called it that because I was receiving so much email that it felt like all of it was going there to die. It was extremely overwhelming! Over the years I had forwarded old email address, signed up for about a million and a half subscriptions, and you know, occasionally actually wanted to get ahold of other people.
“There has to be another solution,” I thought. Sure I could start over… again, unsubscribe from every email subscription out there, but that didn’t seem like the answer. As much as I don’t want 5+ emails per store, per week, I do occasionally want their coupons or am genuinely interested in what their latest marketing strategy is (that’s probably just me on that one though). Then the solution came to me, without even trying. Meet Inbox, Google’s new way of thinking about email.
Ok, ok, some of you may already know the glory and power that this beholds (it did come out last October), but for the majority of the small business, creative, blogging world, you may have missed the boat.
Inbox is an alternative way to view your traditional Gmail messages. Anyone can use it, but you must request access by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org from your Gmail address (it is not an immediate switch).
Group Your Emails
When Gmail first started creating categories this scared every marketing executive out there. Now all of a sudden your promotional emails might land in a category you never see - i.e. Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates or Forums.
With Inbox, it puts the control back to you. Initially some categories are automated, but you can create additional boxes that are just for you. Perhaps, like many bloggers, Bloglovin is your bible. Create a box that just pulls out all email from a particular email address and it is highlighted in a folder for you.
Tip for marketers: Write relevant, attention-grabbing subject lines and snippets (the first sentence or so of your message) to make your emails stand out from the rest.
Always scrounging for that email with the attachment? Get live previews inside your messages with documents, images, even travel and shipping information. (I seriously rely on this daily).
Tip for marketers: Create more focused emails so your subscribers can quickly find the information they’re looking for.
Generate Reminders & Snooze Your Emails
Have an email you know you need to deal with, but you really need to do it back at your desk, tomorrow or even next week? Create a task reminder that gives a highlight of what you need to do with it, or snooze it until it is relevant, or both! Assists will automatically provide things like store’s hours and phone numbers. If you make reservations online, assists will even give you a map to your destination. You will no longer be setting timers in your phone or losing sticky notes over it.
Tip for marketers: If your email is time-sensitive, make that extremely clear in your subject line and message. Also, use Google My Business to ensure your business’s hours, phone number, location and more are all up to date.
Don’t Delete – Just Mark Done
By far my favorite feature is marking emails (or even whole groups of emails) complete. Instead of deleting emails or filing them all away to be forgotten, when you are finished you mark them as complete using the handy checkmark. Or if you use the category (bundle) system you can mark an entire category complete (which archives them). This is especially helpful for all your promotional emails. You can scan through titles, look at what you want to, and with one click they are whisked away from your email “to-do” list. Now you are at the store, and remember there was a coupon, don’t freak out, you didn’t delete it, you just need to search all messages and archived messages will be included.
Tip for marketers: Your open rate may shift even significantly after your email was sent (rather than just the typical 48-72hr window), pending when someone goes back to reference it.
Inbox has a complementary mobile app that you can add on your phone that performs similar to the desktop version. Great to simply scan or even get push reminders straight to your phone.
Revert to Gmail
Try it and just can’t handle the change? Well don’t worry, by requesting access you aren’t getting rid of your normal settings in Gmail (you just visit your email on a different web address). Often, I have both versions of my inbox up. I find reading emails and sorting through them a breeze on Inbox, but am still not totally comfortable with composing that way (so I can switch back if and when necessary).
How can it help you run your business?
Inbox provides a customizable way to stay organized. No longer will you be bogged down with too much information. See what you want to see, when you want to see it. Generate follow-up reminders for clients and vendor contacts right in your inbox. Avoid spending hours sorting, labeling and filing. Set it up once and start focusing more on what is important to your business right now.
How do you keep your email organized? What is your secret to keeping it in check? Comment below.