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Infographic: optimizing the value of your professional email

Interested in optimizing how you manage and think about business email? The infographic in this guest blog post by Brad Patterson, Community Manager at Evercontact, explores several questions:

What size is the average professional address book?

Of all the people in that address book, what percentage do you think you’ve exchanged with in the past 6 months? 

Do you have phone numbers for all of your contacts?  At least 50%?  More or less?

How much of the email in your inbox was sent by a robot… and not a “real” human?

Could you optimize your contact management, sales pipeline and overall email productivity? We think so.

As a startup working within the contact management /email productivity sector since 2009, our team at Evercontact has heard each of these questions hundreds of times from our clients, and so we  decided to dig into our data the past few weeks to better understand how people use their address books and email in general.

Believe it or not, there are 1300 contacts in the average professional’s address book, but most professionals are not communicating with the large majority of their contacts; our data shows that over a 6-month period the average professional only communicates with 8% of their address book. Does that mean that you should be more regularly updating your contacts with what’s going on in your part of the world? Maybe a mailing list?  Some people do that, but if you haven’t had your address book opt-into those emails, it might not be the greatest tactic as it bypasses permission marketing.

On another level, all contacts are certainly not equally valuable to your efforts, so it’s good to have a CRM, or some way of following up more regularly with the higher-impact clients, partners and acquaintances.  Of course, it doesn’t have to be over email, as a quick exchange over the phone, a coffee, or on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and the like is a good way to keep your core community alive, and a CRM or other contact management software can certainly help you segment & prioritize your engagement accordingly.

Rapportive, the email plugin mentioned below allows you to see a photo of your contacts and also shows what they’re doing on social media which is a great way to expand interactions beyond just email.  It also allows you to see what those contacts are talking about on social media, so if you plan on giving them a call, it’s a nice way to prep for that call by seeing what’s currently going on for them.  Obviously, you’ll need their phone number if you’re going to call them, and our big data showed that only 43% of  contacts in the average professional’s address book have phone numbers.  That being said, you almost always have their number hidden in an email signature or on a business card, so it’s worth your time to set up Evercontact to automatically scan contact information in email signatures, and Fullcontact to grab that info off of business cards.

Another surprising find was that only 52% of the average professional’s inbox was “important” email (labelled “important” by Gmail’s priority inbox).  This shows that many of us receive quite a bit of newsletters, social notifications, and other “mass” email sent by robots, that really might not warrant the attention that it gets when it lands in our inbox.  A quick solution mentioned within the infographic is to “auto-filter” your email with Sanebox.  Yesware, another solution mentioned below provides insight on your emails (i.e. whether they’re being opened, whether the links are being clicked) which helps you to improve these interactions, and also to follow up  if your leads aren’t going through the pipeline as fast as desired.  Boomerang is also great for following up with emails that aren’t answered and you can even send an email at whatever time you’d like with their send later function.

Email is certainly here to stay, so we need to do our best in extracting all that rich data hiding in our inboxes. The services mentioned below are a great start to optimizing your email habits, contact management, all the while prioritizing what’s most important now.  Feel free to drop us any comments at @evercontact on Twitter.

Optimizing the Value of Your Professional Email