If you send an email and it isn’t read, you might just as well not have composed and sent it. While no human system requiring technology is foolproof, here are seven ways to help ensure the emails you intend to send and receive actually get sent and received:
1. Send test emails to all your accounts to make sure you receive them. Make sure all the email addresses you have go somewhere. Send test emails to – and from – each of your addresses and make sure you get them. Then, if you’d like to forward them all to one inbox, do it! It’s a great way to control clutter. (Not sure how? Google “How to forward my email to another account.”
2. Regularly scan your junk mail, promotional and/or spam folders. You’d be amazed how often your junk mail folders capture stuff you don’t want captured until you start training it what to trap and what to pass through. It learns by you telling it which is good and bad. Until you do so, it’s guessing. You don’t want computers guessing.
3. Remember your mail rules. About a year ago, I had emails from a certain promotion go into a certain folder, but that folder fell below the fold of my screen – meaning I now have to scroll down to see that folder. I had six emails in there. Do you have any mailbox rules/folders like that?
4. Check to see if there’s stuff in your outbox that you thought you sent. This has happened to us lately. There’s a bug in Apple’s Mail that sometimes keeps redirects from sending. This isn’t good. Check to make sure your outbox is clear.
5. Check your drafts folder. Is there something in there you meant to finish but didn’t? Is there something in there you thought you finished but didn’t? Do your drafts on your tablets or phones sync with your computer? No? Better check those, too.
6. Double-check the autofill address in the To: line so that it doesn’t fill in Tim Horton instead of Tim Miles. We are all grateful for mail anticipating and autofilling the To: line of our emails… until it guesses incorrectly. You don’t want computers guessing.
7. Just pick up the phone. If it’s really that important, pick up the phone and call. Never leave super-important things to email.
You know what prompted this post (and that image)? On December 3rd, we switched around our company email addresses. I thought I forwarded over one of my old email addresses to the new one. I didn’t. I discovered this problem on Friday… February 21st. I recoiled in horror as my phone downloaded 1337 unread emails. I spent the weekend separating the wheat from the chaff and making amends for my considerably inconsiderate operator error.
Which reminds me, I’ve gotta go. I need to listen to that voicemail and return those three texts.
How about you? Any other tips for ensuring email delivery? In what instances should you use the phone instead of email? Leave your thoughts in the comments!