My inbox is out of control. When I am away on client site as I was these past three days, I use an out-of-office responder but the email still piles up. When I deliver a keynote, there is inevitably an onslaught of follow-up from people in the audience. Same too for workshops. And then there’s the inbound questions from people who read one of my columns and want more information. They want to dialog, and that’s a good thing. I should note that when I say inbox I really mean inboxes:

  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter DMs
  • Parlay inbox (business)
  • Marketing Job Wire inbox (side project)
  • Sima Says inbox (personal)

I’m always looking for smarter ways to manage the backlog so when I received this email in my inbox, I had to share:


I’m sorry that I missed you earlier. I wanted to thank you for taking the time to visit our website,, and downloading our 5 Things that Improve Conversions Whitepaper. I was hoping to understand your recent action. Generally, when folks visit our website they fall into one of three areas of interest.

1. Thank you for the follow-up and material; however, at this point I am only educating myself on email marketing best practices.
2. While I am educating myself on email marketing, I am also interested in learning more about ExactTarget’s email solutions.
3. Please call me as soon as possible. I am looking to evaluate my email programs and take a look at what ExactTarget has to offer.

I’m a firm believer that any one of these answers could be the right answer as long as it is what’s best for your business. Your response will allow me to better gauge your interest without bothering you during this busy time. Thanks again for your consideration and I hope to talk with you soon.

Best Regards,


How great is that? I quickly sent her a note telling her that while I have purchased and enjoyed ExactTarget solutions in the past,  I was merely interested in the white paper and not presently seeking a new provider (I’m currently using MailChimp.) This brief exchange was helpful to us both. The sales rep was able accurately tag me in her CRM system and move on to hotter prospects, and I was able to close the loop and prevent unwanted follow-up.

So often we let email linger because we don’t think we have time to respond properly, and that inaction can create even more work, more email, and more stress. Or we respond with poorly written notes filled with slang, text-speak and half-sentences.

Take-Away: Whether you’re in LinkedIn, your email account or a similar channel, remember to provide easy choices so the recipient can respond quickly and you can move on. Be thoughtful but succinct; create repeatable processes that work not only for you, but your readers as well.