Are you considering starting working as a virtual assistant? Well, one of your primary responsibilities is going to be email management. Are you already familiar with email management? If not, here are a few email management techniques that can help you manage inboxes for your clients efficiently and effectively.
Before diving into the techniques, let’s first understand the importance of email management and why you will be required to know a thing or two about it.
For someone who is still studying or just starting, email management may not be something extremely important. I think a lot of us would agree that we don’t really spend time managing our emails but when it comes to entrepreneurs and large-scale companies, email management becomes a crucial responsibility. It’s so important and time-consuming that they consider hiring someone to just manage emails for them.
So, for them, email management is not just reading, replying, and deleting emails. They need more than that, and here’s is what all they expect and you should be delivering.
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One of the most effective ways of managing emails is by diving them into categories. This is the first step of email management. Roughly go through the emails and make a list of categories and sub-categories that will be required to manage the inbox of your client. These categories can be general as well as personalized, depending on the email type and business of your client. Some of the common categories that you can use are:
- To read
- Upcoming event
If your client doesn’t want you to delete old emails permanently what you can do to organise these categories even further is you can create subcategories based on dates and years within the categories and even archives.
Make Email Management a Recurring Task
Email management is not a one-time task. You will find yourself managing, reading, categorising, and responding to emails every day. So, checking emails 15 times a day may not be productive. Make it a recurring task and dedicate a specific time to just email management every day. Even if your task is to just manage emails, you should spend a specific amount of time just categorising and labeling emails that are important to read. Instead of spending most of your time managing, your priority should be to categorise new and old emails for, say, 30 minutes, and then read, mark as urgent, or respond to the new emails because that is obviously more important.
Delete and Purge
Once you have categorised the emails and responded to the important ones, your next task should be to delete the emails that are not important at all. Not everything is supposed to be saved, we all know that. Don’t fear the delete button. Of course, if your client doesn’t want you to delete anything then you shouldn’t be doing this but that is hardly the case. Usually, clients are okay with email managers or virtual assistants deleting emails that are not important because that is only how you can actually organise inboxes. But if your clients don’t want you to delete emails you can archive them as well.
Don’t stop at just deleting the emails. The emails you permanently delete can be recovered because they are still stored within the emailing platform or tool you are using. You need to delete it from the recoverable folder as well. Because otherwise, it is still taking space.
Flag Important Emails
There are times when you or your client is not able to immediately respond to an email. In that case, what you can do is add a flag that makes it evidently clear that it is important and requires your attention. This way neither of you will forget to respond just because you opened the email and now it is out of your sight. You can start the email or mark it as unread as well if you don’t think it specifically should be marked as urgent or important.
Create Email Response Templates
Oftentimes you will find yourself writing the same or similar email response over and over again. In such cases, instead of wasting your time reframing the same email response, again and again, consider making an email response template that you can send. This will save you time and make the task easier as well.
A lot of email marketing tools have the option of automating responses to a specific type of email. If your tool has that option, use it in your favour.
That is it. These techniques will help you manage the email inbox effectively. The responsibilities of a virtual assistant are not very difficult to handle but certainly require basic management skills. If you are interested in starting a side hustle as a virtual assistant, you should consider taking a course that can introduce you to the basics of virtual assistance and prepare you for the role and responsibilities so that you can kickstart your side hustle on the right foot. Hustlepost Academy offers one such course on virtual assistance.