Not you, of course. I'm not talking to the loyal subscribers who enjoy my articles, who get some value from what I share, who at least open the e-mails to see what I've been up to this week.
I'm talking to those of you whose Inbox is overflowing with marketing e-mails from every store you shop at, daily deals for things you don't really need, and advice from all the gurus you would like to emulate but never do.
I'm talking to those of you who get more marketing e-mails than e-mails from actual people.
I'm talking to those of you who just delete e-mails without opening or reading them because you don't have time, and you know they aren't relevant to you anyway.
I'm talking to those of you who are always trying to "clean out your Inbox" only to have it fill up with junk again.
Just because you signed up for a list, does NOT mean you have to stay on it. In fact, it's better for everybody if you just click the link at the bottom to unsubscribe.
The businesses that are sending you those e-mails won't mind at all. If you aren't ever going to buy something from them, or if you don't get a positive feeling about their brand when you see their e-mails, or gain something from them, or read them at all, then they'd really rather that you unsubscribe.... please.
It will make a big difference for you as well. Minimizing unnecessary e-mail can save you a lot of time and stress. It may be difficult for some people to let go, but its critical to take control of your Inbox.
Your Inbox is like your living room. Now that we are many years past SPAM laws, the only people who can communicate with you via e-mail are people to whom you have given your e-mail address. It should be considered a privilege to be there. If someone isn't respecting your space or they are stressing you out, you have every right to ask them to leave.
These days, it is harder to manage than ever. There is so much content being created and sent every day on the entire planet that is accessible to everyone on the Internet. I've heard some statistics recently that are just staggering. Did you know that more written content is being published every 48 hours than was created from the dawn of mankind until 2007?!
What that means is that we must each be more diligent than ever when choosing what content we read and certainly who we invite to our Inbox living room. It can become overcrowded very quickly, and then all communication loses its value because it feels like everyone is just shouting trying to be heard over everyone else.
E-mail communications are a valuable tool when they connect you to people and businesses that you actually like and interact with. So, here are a couple of tips for taking control of your Inbox.
#1 - Identify your tribes
Because of the connectivity of the internet and the amount of content out there, it is possible to connect with like-minded people and groups. When you find your tribe, you feel connected and not pressured or stressed.
Of all the marketing e-mails you get right now, which ones do you actually look forward to getting? Which stores do you love to shop at? Which e-mails feel like they are talking directly to you? Which ones do you enjoy reading?
Identify and prioritize your tribes. Then pick the top ones to keep in your Inbox. I recommend no more than seven. The rest are going to have to go, or it will simply get too crowded.
#2 - Let it go
The e-mails that didn't fit into your list of tribes above -- let them go. If you have feelings of hanging on because you might miss out on something, or miss a deal -- let it go. Guess what? You are going to miss out on things. We all miss out on all kinds of things every day. We just can't get in on everything, and it will make you crazy if you try. But if you unsubscribe, you'll be surprised how much lighter and freer you will feel.
If you have more than seven (or maybe as many as 10) e-mails that you identified as possible tribes, some of those are going to have to be let go, too. It's harder to let go of e-mails in areas that you are interested in. But, honestly, if you get that many e-mails in similar categories, there is probably some repeat information. Pick the people and places that resonate most with you, and let the others go.
#3 - Give trials
Once you have minimized your current list of subscriptions, it doesn't mean you can't ever invite anyone else into your Inbox. You are always welcome to sign up for lists, particularly if you are getting something of value. The initial interaction always gives you a sense for what you will be getting. Then give it a trial period of a couple of weeks to a month. If you aren't benefiting from it, if the e-mails are piling up, if it doesn't feel like a fit for you, then unsubscribe.
I am passionate about good e-mail marketing, but that also means that I am equally as passionate about bad e-mail marketing. And the beauty is that the power is in the recipient's hands. I encourage you to use your power and take control of your Inbox today.
All the best,