Today’s post is by Terry Whalen, Managing Director at Sum Digital, a San Francisco digital marketing agency. Terry has managed millions in PPC spend for consumer and B2B advertisers since 2006.

(Sanebox disclosure: Terry loves to train his emails into submission, but he has no affiliation and zero financial interest in touting this tool.)

Emails are important. Some of them need immediate attention, so you need to check your mailbox frequently. But emails pile up and you spend hours sorting them out every month. Not very productive, is it? Fortunately Sanebox lets you focus on what’s important. The principle is simple: it takes care of the sorting process for you and makes sure you don’t miss out on any important information so you can focus on the few emails that really matter.

What is Sanebox?
Sanebox is an email management suite that eliminates email overload. The application filters your emails for you within your own email application (Outlook, Gmail, etc.). It treats your emails as they come in and sorts them according to importance and the frequency with which you check them. Things like notifications, weekly newsletters, payment receipts and emails of lesser importance are stored in dedicated folders you only need to check once every few days or once a week. As a result, your inbox only gets those emails you need to read as soon as possible (i.e. the emails from the people you are closest to). This way you don’t waste any time and can identify immediately the things that demand your attention.

sanebox

 

The benefits of Sanebox

No more wasting time
You don’t have to sort out your emails anymore; Sanebox does it for you. When I started using Sanebox, I checked all the folders to make sure it worked properly, and it did! I stopped checking and since then I have reduced a lot the time I spend in Outlook. I still check from time to time, but I never miss any important email – and I have been using it for a while now.

No changes in your habits
Once I set it up (it only took me a few minutes), Sanebox started working immediately. My incoming emails were filtered and stored in my Outlook, either in folders or in the inbox. I know it also works well with Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and other major email management programs. I particularly appreciated the fact that I didn’t need to download or install any program – this was easy and quick to set up.

Advanced customization
The system can be trained to be even smarter and behave as you wish it to. You can even train the application to store the emails as you need. To do so, you just need to login on the Sanebox website and create entries to request Sanebox to treat some contacts a specific way. It’s pretty quick to customize, and it starts working immediately. It is also possible to add 3 more levels of importance. There are 2 levels by default (“most important” and “important”), but if you want – or you need – a more advanced configuration, you can set up more levels of importance and create rules to receive and store the emails from each category in a specific way. Be careful, though: make sure you look at the full ‘from’ line when you are making decisions on training emails; you may want to deal differently with 2 email addresses from the same domain, so it’s important to enter the entire ‘from’ email address.

How to set up Sanebox?

 

Setting up Sanebox takes only a few minutes. It is only a matter of choosing the default folders you want to appear in your inbox and creating new ones that best serve your objectives. And that’s it! Once it’s done, you’ll see the folders in your inbox and Sanebox will do the rest.

Sanebox’s useful features

Plan to answer an email at a date of your choice – “SaneLater”
This functionality allows you to plan to answer to specific emails at a date of your choice. There are two folders by default for emails you want to reply to the next day (SaneTomorrow) or the next week (SaneNextWeek), and you can create folders to set up other timelines. You then just need to drag the emails in the dedicated folders and Sanebox will automatically put the emails back in the right place at the right time. This way you don’t forget to answer emails you don’t want to respond to immediately.

Follow-up reminders – “SaneRemindMe”
I think this is the best functionality of Sanebox: you can set up the application to remind you when an email you sent is not replied to by a certain time. This way you can follow up on any project directly in your mailbox. It’s very useful for when you want to keep track on some conversations. I also use it to send email reminders to myself. It simplifies the way I keep track on specific tasks.

Summary of your daily activity
Once a day (or more often if you want), Sanebox sends a summary of your email activity. This is an easy way to view and process the latest unimportant emails and upcoming reminders. I personally look at it every morning to follow up on emails that are not considered as important. I can then focus only on the important emails during the day. You can even change how often it sends you summaries: once a day, twice a day, once per hour, etc.

Monitor your spam folder
You don’t need to go through your spam folder anymore; Sanebox does it for you. The spam emails will appear in the email summary sent by Sanebox to give you a quick look.

 

The bottom line is, I have been much more productive since I started using (and training) Sanebox. It has simplified the way I organize my everyday work email. I have more time to focus on tasks that really matter for my business, and I am confident I won’t miss any important information without having to spend 30 minutes at a time in Outlook. I think it will work as well for you as it has for me.

Terry Whalen, CPC Search

2 Comments

  1. Matthew Arevalo July 27th, 2012

    Very informative piece, Terry. Great breakdown of features and why they are important.

  2. himagain December 18th, 2012

    For reasons completely obscure to this correspondent, hardly anyone on this planet who is supposed to be doing serious business ever properly investigates the amazing value of Google’s Gmail. Does all the things here that all of these expensive programs do and with a far greater pool of scam and spam stopping power from its sheer number of users.

    Similarly, I cannot imagine how anybody seriously conducting a professional type of business involved with email and the Internet in general can survive without using Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Sure, it’s expensive for the average Internet user, who thinks anything over free is expensive, but the payback on being able to simply dictate to an electronic secretary who never takes a day off, corrects your spelling can even suggest correct punctuation and improve your productivity by a minimum of 300% borders on the incredible.

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Terry Whalen
Terry Whalen is Managing Director at Sum Digital, a San Francisco digital marketing agency. Terry has managed millions in PPC spend for consumer and B2B advertisers since 2006.