Tag Archives: email management

Spam Filtering vs. Email Prioritization: Two Different Approaches to Email Management

spam filtering vs email sorting and prioritization

We all know that email overload may result in loss of time, loss of productivity and unanswered email. To solve this problem, you may go for a good spam filter – in order to have bad emails separated from all the mail you’ve received. Or you can choose an opposite direction, and apply an email prioritization technique, i.e. having good emails separated from the rest of your mail. What are the pros and cons of both methods, and what can we do to eliminate the cons?

 

Email Filtering Done with the Help of Spam Blockers

According to Symantec’s Intelligence Data, about 8% of all mail was identified as spam in 2001. Email users were not overloaded with email then, and cleaning your Inbox from spam took only several minutes per day. Today spam rates are between 65% and 75% (depending on a season and special events), so removing spam by hand might take much more time.

Thanks to email spam filters, the process of email screening was simplified greatly. You could open your Inbox in the morning and see only a couple of spam messages in there; the rest of your messages would be legitimate emails. Email spam filtering may be based on sender email address, IP or domain blacklists, URL and attachment analysis, Bayesian spam filtering and other predefined rules. In most cases, you can even customize your spam filter to meet your requirements.

However the problem of email overload is not spam-related only. Even with all junk mail removed, you’ll still suffer the problem of an unmanaged Inbox. Emails from legitimate senders can be of different priority for you, so you need to know which ones are most important and which ones can be postponed.

Pros:

  • Spam filters save time that you could have wasted on removing spam from your Inbox.
  • The previously reported spam messages will no longer hit your Inbox.

Cons:

  • Thousands of spam emails may reach Inboxes before a spammer’s email address, IP or domain is blacklisted.
  • Spam filtering is machine-based so there is a room for mistakes called “false positives.”
  • Bayesian filters may be fooled by spammers, e.g. in a case of using large blocks of legitimate text.
  • A legitimate email sender may use potentially “suspicious” words without knowing it and trigger a spam filter.

 

Email Prioritization: Manual and Automatic

Initially people did email triage by hand and this tedious task consumed a great amount of time. One had to look through all emails, separate the good from the bad, and then categorize the “good” messages by priority. These could be emails that needed to be answered right away, messages to be forwarded, tasks to be delegated or just information which could be saved for future reference and did not require immediate action.

Later, email users discovered the power of email rules. You would simply tell your email client what to do with the emails which come from a particular sender, have particular words in a subject line or have other specific features which might help you differentiate these emails from the others. Email rules were definitely a godsend for many email users who had been drowning in email.

However email rules can’t help you much if you expect an important email but know nothing about his/her email address, the words which might be used in the email, etc. You’ll have to look through all emails, including the Spam box, every 15 minutes or so – in order to avoid missing that important email.

Pros:

  • After emails are prioritized, you can focus your attention on important emails first.
  • Further emails from important senders will always hit your Inbox if you apply email rules.

Cons:

  • It takes time to look through all emails if you choose to prioritize them by hand.
  • Even if you do automate the process of email prioritization, it takes time to create email rules.
  • Email rules will not always work well for emails from unknown email senders.

 

A Formula for Effective Email Management

As you see, using a spam filter is not enough to have an organized Inbox every morning. You’ll still have to sort the remaining messages by priority, as some emails should be replied to urgently while some can be postponed or archived. This takes time.

Email prioritization alone is not the ultimate solution to prevent email overload either. In this case you’ll have to sort ALL messages, including spam. And spam emails can make up 75%+ of your Inbox!

 

Taking all this into account, here is the best formula of the effective email management:
Effective Email Management = A Good Email Filter + Intelligent Email Prioritization

 

Let’s put this principle to work: you should not give up using a spam filter, plus you need an intelligent solution to automate email prioritization tasks.

This is where the EmailTray email client will fit your needs. It will aggregate junk mail from the Spam folders of all your tracked email accounts and double-check if any important messages have been mistakenly trapped by a spam filter of your Mail Service Provider. Besides, EmailTray will categorize the rest of the messages under the “Top priority”, “Low priority” and “No priority” tabs. All you’ll have to do is concentrate on the top priority messages first; then attend emails under the “No priority” tab. Then, if you have some spare time, you may want to look through the “Low priority” messages where you may wish to take the time to unsubscribe from the newsletters and notifications you’ll find there or mark certain senders as spammers so their future emails fall under the spam tab. By the way, once per day you can delete all the spam under the unified “Spam” tab which will ensure that all your spam boxes inside all your Webmail accounts are cleared.

You can always download EmailTray for Windows or get the EmailTray email app for your Android device, and enjoy an organized Inbox!

3 Secrets Of The Real Email Jedi

Today we have a short but valuable list of advice. Follow them and you will email like a real Jedi and you will stop wasting time digging into tons of emails flooding your inbox.

  1. Be quick. Distant communication makes it impossible to understand your intonation or your facial expression. The only way to show your competence and expertise is to answer quickly and professionally. Make it your rule and answer all important business emails as fast as possible.

    The EmailTray email client for Windows and Android smartphones will keep all important emails front and center in your life, while relegating unimportant emails like newsletters to secondary and tertiary inboxes. EmailTray uses special smart algorithm to understand the importance of the messages in your inbox and to sort them to the special Top Priority, Low Priority, and No Priority folders. When you have your messages sorted according to their importance you won’t need to waste time separating the most important messages from the routine ones. The EmailTray email client for Windows and Androids does this for you.

  2. Be concise. Remember that nowadays everybody has their inboxes full of new messages. Value the time of your recipients and make your replies as short as possible. Modern email etiquette allows skipping the amenities and moving to the point immediately.

    This rule is also true for the signature you add to your emails. Keep the signature in your replies and forwards short enough to make it possible to recognize you. Use the EmailTray email client to automatically add your full signature to your new email messages and a shortened one to the replies and forwards. Your recipients will thank you for this.

  3. Be always available. A lot of email messages are time sensitive. A lot of email messages lose their actuality if not read in time. Use your mobile device to be always available via email.

    Install the EmailTray email client app for Android on your Android-based device and get all the benefits of the smartest desktop email client in your pocket. The EmailTray email client will immediately notify you about new important messages and rescue good emails caught by the spam filter by a mistake. EmailTray uses the Push command that lets you get new emails immediately and enables you to apply the first rule of the real email Jedi without interrupting your other activities.

5 Simple Rules that Can Protect You from Cyber Crimes

Nowadays 68% of all emails are spam. 1 in 274 emails is blocked as malicious. The cumulative number of phishing attacks recorded through 2011 was 279,580, that’s a 37% increase from 2010.

Phishing attacks saturated the globe more heavily, with brands targeted from 31 different countries and phishing emails communicated in 16 different languages – reaching an even more diverse crowd of Internet users.

Cyber criminals become more and more diligent every day and the chance of being attacked with a phishing email increases every moment.

How to protect your personal data from cyber crimes?

1. Fight spam. Be especially cautious of emails that come from unknown senders and ask you to confirm personal or financial information over the internet.

Fortunately, the EmailTray email client, for PCs and Android smartphones, is great at fighting spam and knows how to recognize your senders while even checking the authentication of the servers used by major senders like Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and PayPal. EmailTray uses a special algorithm to detect the most important emails and notify you about them. In addition, you may see a sender’s photo in the sender’s panel to better know who is writing to you.

2. Never use the links in an email, instant message, or chat to get to any web page if you suspect the message might not be authentic or you don’t know the sender or user’s handle. Even if you believe a sender to be legitimate, at least be sure to hover over the link before clicking on it in order to see what the intended URL actually is.

The EmailTray email client for PCs and Androids cares for your online safety and will mark suspicious emails with a special warning. This helps you not to mistake a phishing email with a legitimate one. Be really careful with such marked emails.

3. Do not download files or open attachments in emails from unknown senders. It is best to open attachments only when you are expecting them and know what they contain, even if you know the sender.

4. Avoid filling out forms in email messages that ask for personal financial information. Phishing websites often copy the entire look of a legitimate web site, making it appear authentic. To be safe, call the legitimate enterprise first to see if they really sent that email to you. After all, businesses should not request that personal information be sent via email.

Note that the EmailTray email client for PCs will show the official icons for  known senders like PayPal, eBay, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. By the way, PayPal and eBay are reported to be the most highly targeted site for phishing scams, according to security experts.

5. Check your online accounts and bank statements regularly to ensure that no unauthorized transactions have been made.

If you are concerned about your online security and personal data, if you do not want to become a phishing scam victim, download and install the EmailTray email client for PCs and Androids – a smart email client that solves the problem of spam and phishing.

5 Ways to Make Email Work for You: Tips for Email RECIPIENTS

email overload

In the previous post named 5 Ways to Make Email Work for You: Tips for Email SENDERS, we shared five email productivity and email deliverability tips for email senders. The next post of this series is meant for email recipients.
 

1. Automate send/receive from all your accounts

If you own several email addresses, it is wise to save time that you might have spent on checking each email account separately, including logging on to various Webmail services using your browser. Use one hub to track all email accounts via POP3 or IMAP. This can be a dedicated Gmail account or your favorite email client software.

Popular email clients include: Mozilla Thunderbird, MS Outlook, Windows Live Mail, EmailTray, IncrediMail, The Bat!, Pegasus Mail, Opera Mail. Some of them offer a range of useful tools for office task management, some add fancy pictures to your email signatures and some email clients offer email filtering and email sorting features.

The great news is that you can take advantage of the EmailTray email sorting features and use it absolutely free of charge. By the way, EmailTray, a young yet powerful email client, was ranked #3 by the About.com readers as one of the best Windows email programs in 2012:

Best Windows Email Program 2012 – The About.com 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards.

 

2. Attend to emails in priority order

Do you read and respond to emails according to the arrival time criteria (the oldest are attended to first, then come the rest of emails)? While you are looking through non-urgent emails like email subscriptions, payment receipts from e-stores and social network notifications, some really IMPORTANT emails might require immediate action!

In order to attend to emails in priority order, you most probably have to spend time on analyzing emails by importance and sorting them. The good news is that the EmailTray email client already has a built-in mechanism for email sorting based on your emailing habits, browsing history and privacy-oriented community intelligence.  With EmailTray, you won’t need to waste time on looking through all emails, deleting junk mail, archiving unimportant mail and singling out good mail. You’ll be able to focus on important emails residing under the “Top priority” and “Low priority” tabs of the EmailTray email client.

 

3. Do not respond to emails that are not addressed personally to you

Remember that it is not that necessary to reply to the emails which have a lengthy list of recipients in the “To:” or “CC:” fields. Some people have a nasty habit of sharing industry news, funny facts and other non-urgent stuff via email. They take advantage of the “send to all” or “reply to all” options and sometimes misuse them.

Email was not initially meant for broadcasting – there are a number of other useful tools for that such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other services. So treat those “broadcast emails” the way they are meant to be treated – read them when you have some spare time and don’t waste your time responding to them personally. To further save your time, you may wish to politely ask the sender if it’s possible to just follow their Twitter, Facebook or Google+ account and not receive emails.

 

4. Redirect your email communications to the other interaction channels

When appropriate, do your best to streamline your email communications to the other interaction channels according to your needs and situation. In case a matter is urgent and would definitely require several back-and-forth emails with questions and answers – think about dialing the sender and discussing things via phone. For efficient task management, you’d better use a good task management system. For group discussion, start a forum topic, post the info in a social network group or go for a chat room.

Learn more about different communication tools, their purposes, pros and cons from our infographic:

Communication Channels: Facts and Figures, Pros and Cons.

 

5. Keep your answers short

In the era of mobile devices, it is quite acceptable to fit your reply into one short sentence instead of a lengthy message.  Some people travel a lot and use their mobile phones to check mail most of the time, so you don’t take offence with them when they reply briefly, right?

By making your replies laconic, you actually save your time and the time of your recipients, so never hesitate to make your answer short whenever possible.

5 Ways to Make Email Work For You: Tips for Email SENDERS

send email

1. Use EMAIL only when it works better than any other communication channel

Email is a great time-saver when it comes to contacting a person who is located far away from you. You can always fit emailing into your work schedule, as you can send and read emails whenever you have some spare time. Email is good to share links and business information, but it is not good enough to build partnerships, especially at the last stage before signing agreements – a personal meeting or video phone call is necessary for this. Ask yourself simple questions to understand whether email will fit your needs in your situation.

Want to get acquainted with your future partner, and plan to discuss important things, face to face? –> Arrange a meeting.
Need to share urgent news or resolve an urgent matter? –> Use a phone call.
Need technical support on the software issue? –> Use email.
Plan on discussing an upcoming event with your friends? –> Use a chat room.
Benchmarking the steps taken on a large project with your colleagues? –> Use wiki.
Want to set and track tasks on a large project? –> Use a task management system.

 

2. Follow business email etiquette rules when composing a new message

Do you use short and precise email subject lines – to focus the reader attention on what’s important? Do you provide an email signature with your contact details? Do you use the “CC” and the “Reply to All” option with caution?

These and other rules were created to increase email productivity for you and your email recipients. Using business email etiquette rules is a matter of politeness and a sign of respect towards an email recipient, so make sure to follow these rules.

 

3. Comply with the CAN-SPAM rules if you send bulk mail

To protect the privacy of email recipients, the US Federal Trade Commission issued the CAN-SPAM Act which covers numerous examples of fraudulent or inappropriate use of email as a means of communication.

The following principles are outlined in this act:

  • Don’t use false or misleading header information.
  • Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
  • Identify the message as an ad.
  • Tell recipients where you’re located.
  • Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you.
  • Honor opt-out requests promptly.
  • Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.

The CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business
http://business.ftc.gov/documents/bus61-can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business

 

4. Follow the email sender guidelines posted by the most popular Webmail providers

If you are an authorized email sender, Gmail, Hotmail and other Webmail providers make it easier for you to reach your customers Inbox by providing you with email sender guidelines. The most obvious things for senders to follow are offering an opt-in feature and easy unsubscribe, using sender authentication and managing the reputation of your outbound IPs. Use the links below to refer to the email sender guidelines of the popular Webmail providers:

Email sending policies, practices, and guidelines from Microsoft
http://mail.live.com/mail/policies.aspx

Improving E-mail Deliverability into Windows Live Hotmail, PDF
http://download.microsoft.com/download/e/3/3/e3397e7c-17a6-497d-9693-78f80be272fb/enhance_deliver.pdf

Best practices for bulk mail senders and postmasters when sending to Yahoo! Mail
http://help.yahoo.com/kb/index?locale=en_US&y=PROD_MAIL&page=content&id=SLN3435

Bulk Senders Guidelines from Gmail
https://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=81126

Bulk Sender Best Practices from AOL
http://postmaster.aol.com/Postmaster.Guidelines.php

Technical and Policy Requirements for Sending Email to AOL
http://postmaster.aol.com/Postmaster.Tech.php

 

5. Ensure that your email address is on the whitelists of your recipients

If you don’t want your messages to get blocked by spam filters and the email service providers of your recipients, have your most important sending email addresses whitelisted. You can also publish information on your site asking your subscribers to add your email address to their list of trusted contacts.

Hope these pieces of advice and reference links help you build your email campaigns efficiently and avoid email deliverability issues. Email CAN be a great helper unless you misuse it :)

The Fifth Element of Effective Email Management

email management
What is effective email management? It’s having your emails organized, responding to them in a neat and timely manner, never losing important emails and having no stress at work because of a cluttered Inbox (email overload). See below five elements which make the process of email management more effective and worry-free.

Element #1: Track all mail in one place

How many active email accounts do you run? Three, five, ten, or even more? Let’s give it a count.
First, you surely have at least one personal email address to communicate with your friends and relatives.
Second, you most probably use a corporate email address for your business. If you run several business projects you will be using several corporate email addresses, right?
Also, most of us have a couple of extra email addresses used for online subscriptions, one-time registrations, trials, etc. You do not expect any important messages from these email accounts but you still have to check them from time to time – to confirm online registrations, get your promotion codes and download links, etc.

It’s a wise thing to use an email client to manage multiple email accounts from one place, preferably offline as well as when your computer or mobile device is connected to the Internet. You will need to choose software that runs on your operation system and supports all email services and protocols that you deal with – including most popular Webmail providers (Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, Windows Live Hotmail, and AOL Mail), POP3 and IMAP. If you use the Windows OS or an Android smartphone, the EmailTray email client could be of great help here.

Element #2: Classify emails according to their priority

Before you start dealing with your emails, it is important to classify messages according to their priority – to be able to attend to them in a priority order. Thus, will need to separate the wheat from the chaff – so that you can focus on the most important emails first and reply to urgent messages quickly.

The process of email sorting traditionally includes three important steps:

  • Deleting spam messages from your Inbox
  • Sorting the rest of the emails by priority: urgent and most important first, less important to come next – including news, subscriptions, payment checks, etc.
  • Revising the contents of the Spam folder – just in case any good messages have been mistakenly trapped by spam filters.

You can do all this by hand, several times a day, taxing your brain and wasting your time. Or you could delegate spam detection and email sorting jobs to email productivity tools – to free up your brain and your hands and save valuable time. See Element # 5 in this list for more details on email productivity tools.

Element #3: Unsubscribe from what you no longer read

Unsubscribe from the newsletters and services you no longer need or read. Are you a parent of a grown-up kid? That probably means that you no longer need a subscription to your favorite kids clothing store where you used to shop several years ago… Reading too many newsletters on the same topic and coming across the same entries often? Stay subscribed to those that cover the events most efficiently, and say good-bye to those who copy-paste.

A bad habit of being subscribed to “everything I might possibly need in the future” eats up your time and productivity. Email overload has been recognized as a serious hindrance to getting things done in the corporate world and in modern personal lives. So find a day to run a detox hour with all of your email subscriptions and unsubscribe from those that clutter up your Inbox and add no value to your everyday life.

Element #4: Keep your answers short and neat

It is for the benefit of you and your email recipients to deal with emails as quickly as possible. So keep your answers short and value your time and the time of people you communicate with.

Tip: Use email signatures to save an extra minute on typing salutation and your name at the bottom of the email message. The good news is that most of the advanced email clients will give you a possibility to create different email signatures for each individual email account.

Element #5: Use email productivity tools

As mentioned above, if you value your time, make sure to use smart productivity tools to automate email management jobs. It is not enough to have all your email messages aggregated in one place. It’s important to have your emails organized.

For example, you could take advantage of the smart email filtering feature offered by the EmailTray email client. It will detect the emails which are important for you because of your email habits and give you the option of dealing with these messages first. EmailTray is also capable of rescuing important email messages mistakenly trapped by spam filters, so you can forget about the problem of missed emails!

A good email contact management system will sync across various devices (desktop, smartphone, notebook) and keep all your email contacts in one place.

It would also be cool to set up your mail client to alert you to the most important emails only, not to each and every email. Can your favorite email client do this for you? EmailTray can, so grab your copy of the EmailTray free email client now!

10 Best Features that Keep Me with EmailTray

email tray top priority folder

 

What should your perfect email client do? What functionality are you still looking for? I’ve tried to use webmail interfaces, checked different email clients, and chose EmailTray. Now I will tell you what features allow me to say that EmailTray is the perfect tool to manage emails.

1. Smart email sorting.

EmailTray helps me to keep my inbox in order.

EmailTray ranks all incoming mail using a proprietary email ranking algorithm, singles out important messages and then lists them under the Top Priority and Low Priority tabs.

With EmailTray you can stop looking through all your “incoming” trying to find the most important email – EmailTray does this for you. Like an attentive personal assistant, it places all the top priority emails into a special folder. If you like to have all your papers, desktop and email in order – this feature alone is enough to try EmailTray, but there are 9 more:

2. Rescuing good mails from spam.

EmailTray helps me not to lose an important email in the Spam folder.

You have certainly found important emails in the Spam folders of your Outlook and webmail now and then. EmailTray scans the spam folders of specified webmail and IMAP accounts and, using our special algorithm, moves good emails trapped by the spam filters to the Inbox.

3. Enhanced address book.

EmailTray helps me to manage my contacts and keep them up-to-date.

Manage your contacts in EmailTray and sync your contact list with your Google Contacts. Besides, the smart algorithm will help you to merge your contacts’ address cards, if there are several addresses for the same person.

4. Real people behind the emails.

EmailTray makes email conversation a real person-to-person communication.

EmailTray shows your contacts’ data from their social profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn. So when you receive an email from a new person, you can see a photo and some information.

5. Phishing and scam emails recognition.

EmailTray keeps an eye on my online security.

Attempts to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details, masked as a trustworthy entity in email are unfortunately common these days.  EmailTray checks whether the sender is real and shows you the official icon if it is (for large or participating email senders that we work with). Now you can feel safe about your passwords and credit cards details.

emailtray antiphishing

6. Your email data locked with a password.

EmailTray keeps my private emails really private.

This option can help you feel safe about your email accounts if you use EmailTray on a computer that is used by several users. Set a password and only you will be able to use your EmailTray.

7. Customized signatures.

EmailTray chooses the corresponding signature automatically for each account you write from.

When I used other email clients, I always had to write “With best regards, Aliona” manually in the replies. With EmailTray you can have several signatures that will be automatically used in the first emails, replies or forwards for specific email accounts.

8. Instant message search.

EmailTray helps me find everything I need in a split second.

EmailTray offers a lightning-fast Instant Search feature which allows you to quickly find what you are looking for.  You just enter the first letters of the contact name, contents of the email subject or email message contents – and EmailTray shows you the results.  The difference between EmailTray and Microsoft Outlook is like day and night in this regard.

9. Syncing your email accounts between all your computers.

EmailTray keeps all my email accounts synchronized between all my computers.

Nowadays there hardly is a person who uses only one computing device. We are so Internet connected that email is checked several times per day from work, the restaurant you have lunch at or your home. EmailTray syncs all your email accounts between all your computing devices, so you may be sure that your inbox is always up-to-date. Yes, an EmailTray for Android app is available that works in sync with the desktop client.

10. Managing all emails from one place.

EmailTray manages all my webmail, POP3 and IMAP from one place.

Add all your email accounts to your EmailTray and it will help you to manage all of them at once, including those based on Webmail (Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, Windows Live Hotmail, AOL Mail), POP3 and IMAP.