A madness to my method

Whenever I’m in a meeting discussing email send times, someone asks me when I usually look at marketing emails. I’ll tell them on Saturday mornings, especially if I just got paid (and just paid all my bills), when I’m thinking about shopping and want to see what’s on sale. But that’s me as a consumer with obsessive Gmail labels who subscribes to a lot of emails across several email accounts. I’ve got my filters on lockdown to a point where marketing emails don’t even go to my phone (except tests of the ones that I’m sending, so I can do QA on them). There are a lot of brands whose emails I open and love, but they will never get a conversion from me because I’m not a guy or don’t own a home or don’t have a kid. I just like their emails. There are also a few brands who don’t really even need to send me emails because I’ll go to their site a few times a week anyway. But I still get and sometimes even open their emails. I’m not exactly the “every(wo)man” when it comes to email. Far from it. “But I’m not the typical email consumer,” I stress when anyone asks, “I send emails for a living.” 

Last week, I taught two sessions of a Gmail organization class at my office for some entry-level co-workers. My company uses corporate Gmail. My presentation showed how and why to use labels and filters, and the difference between Primary inbox and Tabs, why you would use one or the other, and how to set them up. People seemed pretty into it. But at the end of the second class, someone raised her hand and asked, “So, does Yahoo have anything similar to this? I use it for my personal and junk mail.” My reply was that I hadn’t used Yahoo since 1997, so I had no idea. Then a few others chimed in saying that they used their Hotmail or AOL account for their “junk” mail, and had a Gmail account for their personal mail. I asked if they ever check their junk mail accounts, and some of them did, but rarely. They used them when they had to give out an email address but didn’t really want to. It kind of surprised me that any of them even had anything other than Gmail – they would have been young teenagers when Gmail started, so Gmail’s been around for most of their email-having lives. (But at the same time, I was fascinated and wanted to do an impromptu focus group about their email behavior, but it was 6:00 and time for everyone to go home.)

Gmail labelsI’ve had a lot of email accounts over the years (AOL, Juno, Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, and few work Outlook and -ugh- LotusNotes). I don’t want to maintain any more inboxes than I have to. My three main ones, all Gmail – Work, Personal, Blog – are plenty, even with my crazy label/filter systems.

But the blog account is getting out of hand. I’m getting about 60 emails a day, and don’t always have time to go through them, and they’ve been piling up all week. I created a ton of labels for very specific things, but it seems like each time I get a new kind of email, I end up creating a label in case I get other emails like it and want to do a post about it. The problem with this system is that I have so many labels, it’s hard to keep track of them, and there are a lot of emails that need a LOT of labels.  Then there’s the filter problem – I can’t exactly filter for “Bad design,” “Weird pre-header text,” “Cart abandonment issues,” and “WTFromname.” The screenshot on the right was taken over a week ago, and I’ve added more labels since then. So I have to actually open adn read every email, THEN label and filter it, then remember that it exists, then actually write about it.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that this project was a bigger undertaking than I thought it would be, especially on top of my day job and the gorgeous weather we’ve been having  that makes me want to be as far away from a computer as possible. So, I haven’t been writing the 3-4 posts a week that I had initially envisioned. But I will. Probably. Once I get this inbox under control and dig through all these emails.






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