The New Reality Of Email Inbox(es)

Consumers are being deluged by email -- personal, commercial and business -- and they're doing something to manage the flow.

A recent New York Times article tells how companies are instituting email blackouts to prevent fractionalizing attention, which has resulted in higher productivity and creativity.

A recent Habeas study quoted on Email Stat Center reports "60% of users employ two or more personal email addresses, giving a different address to entities they do not trust while maintaining separate accounts for trustworthy sources."

A recent YouTube post proclaims "Three is the Magic Number of Email Accounts You Need." (The three are business, personal and "inbound only.")

While none of you may be surprised by this, it represents a sea change in how we need to think of the email inbox. The Email Diva used to have this vision of readers looking through their work and personal correspondence and happening upon her message: a must-read whitepaper, a workplace diversion, a fabulous bargain. Today it's likely that these gems are two steps removed from the reader's primary inbox. If not, they are more likely the source of aggravation than delight.



We don't need just to stand out in the inbox, we need to get subscribers to access their "inbound only" accounts.

To do this, email marketers, we must dedicate ourselves to providing Value to our subscribers. Let's stop worrying about this or that minor element to test and think big picture:

  • Offer lagniappe to readers: a little something extra, a thank-you for being a valued subscriber, a reason to keep opening.

  • Invest in content. Don't just recycle your Web and brochure pages -- create something subscribers want to know.

  • Ask. Use surveys, polls and preference centers to allow your customers to tell you what they want and when they want it.

  • Look for trends. Sort your campaign data from best to worst to see what resonated with your audience.

Value, according to Merriam-Webster, is "relative worth, utility, or importance." If we all focus on improving the user experience, perhaps we can elevate the value of the "inbound-only" inbox.

Good Luck!

The Email Diva

Send your questions or submit your email for critique to Melinda Krueger, the Email Diva, at All submissions may be published; please indicate if you would like your name or company name withheld.

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