Answering Emails Efficiently

I get hundreds of emails a day and about 90% of them require a response. Last week I had a single day where I answered nearly 300 emails. I am at the office for about eight hours a day during the week and if I answer 300 emails during that time that’s 1.6 emails per minute. I’ll be the first to admit that is nearly impossible and I have certain emails I receive that do not require a lengthy response or that I have a canned response already setup for, but that’s still pretty impressive.

My main affiliate manager responsibility is to answer the questions my publishers throw at me and being able to answer those emails efficiently is the only way I am able to keep up with my inbox. Well, here are some tricks I use to answer my emails sufficiently.

I use Gmail

We use Gmail as our email service provider (ESP) at PeerFly. Gmail not only provides the other tools I use to answer my emails efficiently (listed below), but it is also secure and one of the most popular email services available. I almost never hit spam boxes and overall I just really like how easy to use Gmail is.

Also, with Gmail I am able to access my email from anywhere. I hate being tied down to an email client like Outlook or Thunderbird. I prefer to answer my email using the browser client and think Gmail has the best.

Using Labels to Determine Priority

Until recently, I was the main point of contact for over 35,000 active PeerFly publishers. Davey has recently transitioned into the affiliate management position and that should help cut down my inbox a bit, but the majority of our publishers will still be contacting me for awhile. Based on who is sending the email and the content of the email, I have Gmail set up to apply labels to each email so I can determine priority. You can setup your own labels by going to your Gmail options and then Labels. Once you have a Label created, you can create a Filter and apply the Label to emails that meet that filter requirement. If you’ve done it right, your inbox will start getting nice a colorful with new messages being labeled.
Gmail keyboard shortcuts

Use Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are another reason that I prefer to use the browser to manage my emails with Gmail rather than using an email client. It took me awhile to get used to the keyboard shortcuts, but I did and now I can run through my entire inbox without touching my mouse.

The shortcuts I use the most frequently are:

  • a to reply all
  • f to forward
  • e to archive
  • g and i to go to the inbox
  • * and r to select all read messages (then e to archive)

Keyboard shortcuts are not turned on by default in Gmail, but you can turn them on simply by going to your settings. Once you turn them on they will stay on until you turn them off. You can access a list of the different shortcuts available anytime simply by pushing ?.

You do not have to be an affiliate manager to be able to appreciate getting through your email inbox quickly and efficiently, but I know from experience that learning the keyboard shortcuts and how to filter my email and apply labels has helped me immensely in my quest to keep my inbox low and my productivity high.


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