How To Keep Marketing Emails From Drowning Your Inbox

With Cyber Monday and the rest of the Holiday season up on us, millions of people will order products online - and end up subscribed to new marketing emails, whether we purposefully ticked that check mark or not. As most folks already struggling with email overload, the last thing we want is even more not-really-wanted messages drowning our Inbox.

A new service called Swizzle claims it can solve the email overload caused by marketing emails by helping you easily unsubscribe from unwanted commercial email and rolling up the emails you do want to keep into a daily digest. It's a smart attempt at solving an important problem.

Too Many Emails

MaryAnn Bekkedahl, President and Co-Founder of Keep Holdings did research into why marketing emails are overwhelming so many people:

  • When Keep Holdings asked email recipients why they didn’t just click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of most email, most explained that they just didn’t have the time. They realized that unsubscribing is rarely a fast, one-click solution. Getting out of a marketing email relationship often includes form fill-ins or dastardly ‘login to unsubscribe’ ploys.
  • Customers also said that they didn't want to miss out on a sale. Sure, they were overloaded with emails from retail stores and daily deal sites, but many of them had initially subscribed for updates and they just didn't want to potentially miss an important discount.

At the time, Bekkedahl and her team were working on a Web gallery that would allow their customers to choose to receive marketing emails from retailers without committing to an email subscription. While head down on that project, they met Adam Novinska who had just built a simple unsubscribe tool, Unsubscribr, to help him recover from pre-wedding day spam. (Anyone who has ever registered as a bride or groom knows how badly you can get inundated.)

Keep Holdings bought Novinska’s tool, made him CTO and combined and improved the services, creating a one-stop-shop for managing marketing emails. 

The Email Solution: You Choose Who Markets To You

The idea is to put users back in charge of their email inboxes. Many people run their days from their inbox - though that's not a very good idea - and an account overloaded with commercial offers can obscure important emails from the boss or reminders that you need to fund your IRA by the deadline.

Swizzle has a two-step solution. First, you get your email act together: The system scans your email account for commercial email. (It claims it doesn't store your email information once the process is complete.)

 

You'll likely find some things you no longer want or never opted into in the first place. Swizzle lets you choose which ones you want to unsubscribe from and which ones you want to leave alone.

I am fairly certain I didn't ask to have updates on trade show materials at any point in my email lifetime. I am fairly certain I didn't ask to have updates on trade show materials at any point in my email lifetime.  

 

Next, you can select to get a daily digest of the emails that you want, based on your own schedule. And you can choose to add additional emails to the digest, from the company's list.

 

You may be wondering why you'd add more newsletters when you are already burdened wtih too much email. Well, that's how Keep Holdings makes money, natch, and by wrapping them all into the Swizzle digest, it's not actually adding any new burden to your inbox. And of course you don't have to add any if you don't want to.

Things That Made Me Go, Hmm...

I liked Swizzle. It made unsubscribing to many email subscriptions very simple. I do have some suggestions, though.

  • Allow multiple digests. For instance, I might want to look at a digest containing my retail shopping emails at a different time (say, after work) than when I view my digest of industry emails (first thing in the morning). Maybe I want to save all home and school-related digests until the weekend, so I'd want to have those delivered weekly rather than daily.
  • Support other email providers. Swizzle supports only webmail providers like AOL, Yahoo, Gmail (including Google Apps) and Mac.com/Me.com. If you own your own domain, you're out of luck for now.
  • Recognize group email lists. I belong to a few Yahoo groups, but Swizzle treated replies to those groups as subscriptions. Not a deal breaker, but something that Keep Holdings could clean up.
  • Recognize alerts and notifications. A reminder to attend a meeting is not the same as a message from the Home Depot. An alert that your  bank account is about to be overdrawn is more important than learning that Gap is having a sale. Swizzle doesn't differentiate and if you are not careful, you can accidentally opt out of getting fraud notifications on your credits cards... like I did.
  • Ditch Facebook integration or explain it better. I'm not entirely sure why you're asked to connect your Facebook to the app. Even after I did so, I couldn't figure out the point.  

Overall, Swizzle offers a chance at a do-over for your inbox, and that could be a lifesaver in the aftermath of the Holiday shopping season.

 

Lead image courtesy of Shutterstock.