Email Is Broken

My mailbox is broken

It finally happened. My email broke. This morning I received a message telling me that I could no longer receive new emails. My only options were to either buy more storage or purge.

I decided to look at my email box and see what was filling it up. I largely ignore spam and promotions and only pay attention to my inbox. What was staggering to me was to find out I had over 90,000 spam emails, over 75,000 promotion emails, and over 35,000 automated notifications such as appointment reminders. Clearly it was time to delete all of the junk and clutter! I could no longer defer maintenance on my email account!

97% of email is a waste of time

After spending time deleting over 200,000 emails out of spam and promotions I was left with only 6,514 messages in my inbox. Some of those messages left in my inbox went back to 2010. This gave me a pretty good data set to analyze my ratio of meaningful emails to junk emails.

Doing the math I was left with the realization that only 3.2% of the email I receive is important and worth keeping! This is after I have gone through the spam and promotions to pick out certain vendors that I want to add to my contact list so it doesn’t get flagged as junk mail.

I think many of us feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data we work with on a daily basis. I can’t even begin to imagine my life if I were to actually pay attention to the 97% of junk email that I receive on an ongoing basis!

How to increase the importance of your email

In an effort to improve the ratio of meaningful email to junk email I have started adopting a strategy that some of the most successful CEOs utilize which is to take time each day to send 5-10 personal messages to important clients, friends, and family. These personal connections can be via handwritten cards and letters or a personal email that is only going to one recipient. Depending on your business, creating 5-10 meaningful connections per day may just make all the difference to your bottom line.

Setting goals and increasing sales

Word of mouth referrals and repeat business are just two of the benefits of maintaining a good relationship with your clients.

If I do the math and set a goal of 10 personal emails per day that would yield 50 per week and 2500 per year assuming some time off for vacation. Imagine if all of your sales agents shared that goal. How many customers do you need per year?

Ultimately email is about building and maintaining relationships. Using a bulk email system to blast out 10,000 emails in a instance doesn’t do much to further the personal connection and is likely to end up where 97% of my email ends up.

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Ira Gardner

Owner, Gardner Media Group LLC

Ira Gardner is a media and business consultant with over 30 years of experience. He also teaches digital media production at Spokane Falls Community College. He can be reached at:

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