Take control of your inbox

If you are deleting important emails or can’t face your bulging inbox, it’s time to take action. Solutions come in two flavours: prevention and management.


Spammers use robots to harvest email addresses. Whenever, you leave your address unprotected on the web, you leave yourself exposed to receiving an influx of unsolicited emails. Prevention means less emails reach your main inbox.

Disclosure of email addresses

Is it safe to leave your email address in newsgroups or in guest books? Will your email be protected from unscrupulous spammers?

When disclosing your email address to receive useful information or a freebie, will your information be sold? What is the privacy policy?

It may be wise to anticipate the worst (being spammed) and take precautions. Many web users now provide a portable email address e.g. hotmail.com or yahoo.com to protect their main email address. But, those addresses are not always accepted.

Solution? If you have a domain name, create a new email account under a fictitious name e.g. if your address is normally helen@….com, use a fictitious name e.g. jonathan@….com. This way, you can delete the new address if your inbox is abused.

Email address on your website

Hide your email address on your website using one of the JavaScripts provided in previous article Anti-spam email address for your website (http://www.marketingcues.com/tools/antiSpamEmail.htm)

Management of your inbox

The emails reaching your inbox may be legitimate but they may only be fully appreciated in small doses. An overflowing inbox becomes a work hazard, creating a stressful and sometimes unmanageable situation.

When receiving regular e-newsletters or frequent emails from the same source, you may want to set message rules for those incoming emails.

Message rules are instructions to your email program. They contain three parts:

    • Condition e.g. ‘where the subject line contains special words’
    • Action e.g. ‘move it to the specified folder’
    • Rule description: refinement of the condition and action. In this case, you would identify the ‘special words’ and the name of the ‘specified folder’.

How to create a message rule using Outlook or Outlook Express

    • Highlight the message in your inbox
    • On the ‘Message’ menu, click on ‘Create Rule from message’
    • Select one or more conditions and actions.

The rule will apply on following messages coming from the same source.

According to your message rules, the incoming emails can automatically be:

1. Sorted into specified folders

Incoming emails can be automatically redirected in any specified folders you have created. For example, I have created folders for my numerous newsletters.

This way, there are fewer messages in my inbox leaving important ones easy to spot.

Furthermore, I feel no pressure to open my newsletters when I am busy attending other business and when the time is right, I can leisurely browse the newsletters all grouped in the same folder.

Note that folders are displayed in alphabetical order. Folders called ‘1-Newletter’ or ‘A-Newsletter’ will rank higher than ‘Newsletter’.

2. Deleted or blocked

When you cannot opt-out from some spammers’ list, create a message rule to delete or block their messages as they come.

3. Colour-coded or highlighted

Messages in the inbox are colour-coded or highlighted. For example, email notifications of any sales occurring on my website are displayed in red and results from website forms are purple.

The coloured fonts stand out and are ideal for messages that require immediate action.

4. Flagged

Incoming messages may already be flagged when first displayed in your inbox (using a message rule) or flagged after being downloaded.

To insert a flag, click on the flag column next to the message. The flags are useful to draw attention and can serve as a reminder for future reference. To group flagged messages, click on the flag icon in the header of the flag column.

You will find more message rules in the Help menu of Outlook Express.


Take control of your inbox by reducing the number of emails and creating message rules for remaining messages. This will reduce the response time to important messages and produce a pleasant feeling of being organised and in control.

Posted in email management & marketing