In this third post in our series on improving email productivity we focus on keeping out unwanted emails from your inbox. Although there isn’t much you can do to keep out your great aunt’s chain emails or your co-worker’s constant “Subject: lunch?” messages, you can keep your inbox safe from spam, and, the newly coined “BACN”. As with out last post, just by integrating these small changes you will have a cleaner inbox, keeping you safe form harmful viruses and, more importantly, keeping you on task.
Keeping Out Spam
- Use your email systems’ spam filter
This first tip may be obvious, but it is many times the most obvious answers that escape us. Every email platform has its own spam filtering system, and you should get familiar with yours. Look into how your email provider blocks spam, and continually mark bad messages as spam to update its settings. This may seem simple, but it is best to use all possible resources to keep your inbox safe. No single habit or tool will fix all, but a combination of all will keep you and your inbox protected.
- Get a spam filter add-on
Although you already have some spam filtering through your email system, many spammers have gotten sophisticated and are able to by-pass your email system’s first line of defense. You can beef up your protection with add-ons that are tailored to your email platform. As most independent insurance agencies use Outlook, one great add-on to check out is Cloudmark Desktop. Cloudmark is compatible with Outlook and Outlook Express, is easy to use and has a high spam filtering rate. It also has anti-phishing capabilities to prevent info-gathering through your email. Check out other Outlook add-on options here.
- Invest in anti-spam apps
As we mentioned in a previous post, there are many great ant-spam apps you can use that attach to any and all email systems, and go wherever you go. Using these apps will give you that extra layer of protection, and many will give you the added bonus of sending secure e-mail. This added level of protection means your outgoing messages can have the same level of scrutiny as those you receive, so you know your inbox is free of hazardous viruses.
Cutting Out the BACN
As we mentioned in our last post , the best way to cut back on the BACN is to unsubscribe from the newsletters you don’t read. Rather than just deleting yet another daily digest newsletter, scroll down to hit “unsubscribe” first. Although it would be better not to subscribe to new mail in the first place, taking that extra moment to unsub will drastically cut down on the amount of emails you get each day.
- Consolidate your updates
If there are a number of newsletters you read regularly, think about consolidating them in to one daily email with Unroll.me. This service shows you to which enewsletters you are subscribed and gives you the option to unsubscribe or consolidate them into one. If you do consolidate, have your daily digest delivered at a time when you know you can take time to read it. Similarly, consolidate your social media updates so you receive one email per day or, even better, per week with the info you need. You can do this by going to the “update preferences” or “email preferences sections” on Facebook and Twitter.
- Filter your BACN
Use your current email system settings, or sign up with an email filtering service, and make sure your BACN goes to a folder just like spam. This way, you can take time and read it as needed rather than being interrupted with each new message. Better yet, get a personalized email system, like Sendio, for your independent insurance agency that can help you filter these items and provide other great resources.
By cleaning up your inbox, you will be less distracted and get more done each day, leading to a vastly more productive agency. Productivity is important to keeping your agency moving and is the only way you can hope to see it grow.
Another great way to increase productivity is with an agency management system that keeps up with you. Our Partner XE agency management system works with you, providing features like mobile access, Outlook synchronization and accounting integration. We’d love to talk with you to find out about how SIS and Partner XE can help your agency run better, faster and longer. Contact us today at 800-747-9273 or [email protected] to get the conversation started!