6 Ways to Manage Over 100 Emails in 1 Day – How Would You Do It?

January 8, 2008 - Written by Gyutae Park  

email iconAs this blog has been expanding in popularity over the past couple of months, one thing that I’ve noticed is the increasing number of emails from readers. Readers will contact me for a variety of reasons, including to ask questions about Internet marketing strategies in general, to promote some of their own products and services, to reply to a question that I presented in a previous post or contest, to inquire about advertising fees, or to simply compliment me on what I’ve been doing. I do appreciate all feedback that I receive and want to pay attention to my readers and cater to their needs as much as possible. However, at a certain point, email itself can become an overwhelming full-time job. How do you handle this?

Lately, I’ve been spending a number of hours per day simply replying to readers on Winning the Web. Although, I think it’s extremely important to keep in touch with the community, I can foresee this strategy becoming infeasible once Winning the Web grows significantly larger in readership. Right now, I carefully respond to each and every email sent to me but that could change in the future as I strive to strike the right balance between being efficient with my time and connecting with readers.

Below is a list of strategies a popular site owner can utilize to manage over 100 emails per day. Which method do you currently use? Be sure to vote in the poll.

  • Carefully reply to each email
    This is by far the most time-consuming option that can easily burn out any webmaster. Although the rewards of personally corresponding with every reader are great, replying to every email is simply infeasible and inefficient.
  • Filter by level of importance
    With the sheer number of emails received, sometimes it’s necessary to filter emails by the level of importance. Clearly an email inquiring about advertising sales is more pressing than a nice thank you note. By categorizing emails in this manner, you will be able to take care of important website matters while saving precious time and effort. However, the drawback with this strategy is that some readers may feel isolated by your lack of response.
  • Use an auto-responder
    A compromise between replying to all emails and filtering by email is to use an auto-responder. Although it’s far from personalized, everyone will at least get something so they may not feel as isolated than if you just ignored their messages. If you go this route, be sure to cover as many email topics in your message as possible. Explain that you are unable to respond to everyone because of the large amount of emails. Then list answers to some frequently asked questions and redirect your readers to popular areas of your site.
  • Mass replies
    If you want to use more personalization than an auto-responder, another option to look at is the use of mass replies. You can either send out mass emails to multiple people or write a message on your blog or website highlighting some of the frequently asked questions. This is a great approach to take if you are considered an authority in any given field.
  • Disable email altogether
    Email is a key component of communication online and disabling the feature would be a huge mistake. However, people who frequently receive hate mail, threatening messages, or other nonsense might want to consider this option.
  • Hire someone
    If you can afford it, hiring an assistant to sift through your emails, respond where appropriate, and tag the ones that need your attention would do wonders for your free time. Of course, this is a best case scenario but most people either cannot afford such services or feel uncomfortable having a 3rd party read their business emails.

So which strategy do you most use to manage all of your emails? Vote now.

Which strategy do you most use to manage your emails?

View Results

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Comments

11 Responses to “6 Ways to Manage Over 100 Emails in 1 Day – How Would You Do It?”

Marlon on January 8th, 2008

I think it’s hugely important to connect personally with your readers and at a small scale this is obviously best for building a one-to-one relationship.
Using the blog to publish replies publicly seems like the next best method for connecting – it gives the webmaster free content and shows that you care about individuals.
If there are a lot of similar emails, a mass public reply will demonstrate that you have too many subscribers to reply to individually (which has to be a good thing) but that you still address the emails of everyone.
As long as you have a system to deal with email.
A nice provacative post – I have to stop myself rambling… It’s not my blog!

 
Alan Johnson on January 8th, 2008

Well Gyutae, leaving emails unanswered is definitely something I wouldn’t recommend. Personally, I am personally replying to every email I receive at this point (a word of advice: only check your email after you’ve completed the most important tasks on your to-do list) and, once I start receiving too many and am not able to handle everything, I will be hiring someone, since again, I don’t want to leave as little as one email unanswered.

Alan Johnson

 
The University Kid on January 8th, 2008

100 a day :O. I only get five… ten max! 😈

At this moment in time, I reply to each one personally… except the average idiot with emails like ‘you make money. can you give me some?’ or ‘hello, I want to buy your site. Is $50 okay?’ etc 🙂

 
bb community on January 9th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

i choose Filter by level of importance~

 
David Chew on January 9th, 2008

Never have that much of mails but i have i would probably read the mail and reply.

 
David Hong on January 9th, 2008

I don’t think I ever got more than 30 emails a day. Replying 100 emails?….. That’s gotta take some effort.

 
Gyutae Park on January 9th, 2008

@Marlon
It’s okay, your rambling is welcome here. I definitely think that as long as you have a system in place to manage your email, then you’re set. It’s just matter of balancing time and community.

@Alan Johnson
Ah the perfectionist. It’s a good thing that you only check email at a certain point in your day. Otherwise I can imagine driving yourself crazy.

@The University Kid
Haha, there are always going to be idiots who want to freeload. I try to be as firm as possible while offering some guidance. And even with those 5 emails, it’s still good to have a system in place for the future.

@bb community
Seems like that’s the most popular vote right now.

@David Chew
That’s simple enough. Would you still do the same if you had 500 emails?

@David Hong
Yeah, 100 emails is a lot and it’s all about balancing and making sure you’re not expending all of your energy on it.

 
Life is Colourful on January 15th, 2008

Well, being a software guy and managing 100s of official emails everyday, my strategy of managing emails could not surprisingly “really” fit in any of the options you mentioned here. I sort out the mails giving every mail a priority by my own eyes. Just look at the sender, look at the subject, and I get to know where to place that email in the priorities in my day of working. Yes, but at the end of the day, I finish reading all the email does not matter if it’s almost bed time.

 
Hafiz Dhanani on March 9th, 2008

Thanks for the strategies Gyutae. Not only will they make it easier for the person checking their inbox, but the increased productivity would definitely benefit the readers.

 
Michael Heindel on March 11th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

When I got to 800 a day I knew something had to be done. That is when I created my own helpdesk system. It is a simple form and after the person fills out the form they get a special link to check in 48 hours for my reply. Then I put an autoreply on all my email accounts that says I don’t reply to email anymore, please use this form.

Now all of my email goes right into the trash and I just check my database to see if anyone filled out a helpdesk form.

Works great.

Michael

 
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