How to Manage Email Marketing in Your Inbox

There are three strategies to manage the email marketing flowing into your inbox.

  1. Unsubscribe - Cancel your subscription to any email newsletter that you no longer wish to receive.
  2. Organize - Route your email newsletters into a separate folder so they don't clutter your main inbox, but you can access them when needed.
  3. Firewall - Use multiple email addresses: one to give to businesses and another for friends and colleagues.
The first two approaches require regular upkeep to flag and categorize new commercial senders. If you can keep separate personal and commericial email accounts, that's the easiest way to go. But if you want to clean out the marketing mail from an existing personal email account, then you need to use one of the first two tactics.

There is almost always an unsubscribe link at the bottom or top of each marketing email. If you want to stop receiving these messages from a business, you can click the link in one of their emails and follow any directions to unsubscribe.

According to US law, they have 10 business days to stop sending you marketing emails. If they continue beyond that timeframe, the easiest next step is to mark the messages as spam. The button to do this varies depending on the inbox provider you use.

Gmail spam button
Gmail uses an Exclamation point button

Hotmail spam button
Hotmail uses a Junk link

Yahoo spam button
Yahoo! Mail uses a Spam button

One drawback to this approach is that some stores use unique codes on coupons for each email subscriber. To use one of these offers that you find on Patroneer, you must locate your personal copy of the email promotion. The next two techniques allow you to keep your commercial mail in a separate location in case you need to find one of these offers.

Most email clients have filters or inbox rules that you can configure in your settings. You can create a filter to route messages from a specific sender into a custom folder. Manually creating a new filter from scratch is cumbersome, so some inbox providers have a shortcut command to create a new sender filter from the selected email. After specifying the desired folder, future email from that sender will be moved there.

Gmail filter command
Gmail uses a Filter command under the More button

Hotmail sweep command
Hotmail uses a Move command under the Sweep link

Most of the time it's easiest to have your commercial email and your personal email sent to different accounts. This way you can regularly check your personal mail without having to process all of the marketing messages. When you do want to look up a shipping notice or find a store's coupon, you can do a quick search in your commercial email inbox to get it. If you can migrate your friends to a new email address, this is the best way to go.