Visualizing the Inbox of Each Recipient in Your Contact List

Motivational speakers often rely on visualization on the part of their audiences in order to get their listeners focused on a goal. Let’s try doing this exercise ourselves in running our email campaigns and see what wonders it can do for us. As email marketers, one of your top goals is for your messages to reach your contact list recipients’ inboxes. If you can’t vividly imagine what it looks like, then you’re facing a potentially big problem.

But don’t worry just yet. In fact, today’s your lucky day. This post takes a careful look at what a typical professional recipient’s inbox looks like so that you’ll get a picture of what your emails’ destination really is.

Most of the information included below has been taken from a study conducted by Mimecast, a provider of cloud-based email storage and integration solutions, published around three months ago in June. In its research titled “The Shape of Emails,” Mimecast sheds some much-needed light on the composition of employee inboxes as well as the changes that these digital destinations have gone through.

Here are the email messages that make up the average employee inbox:

Internal, Work-related, Employee-to-Employee: 63%

Not surprisingly, work-related emails make up the majority of messages in a typical professional employee’s inbox. But around one-half of this number isn’t essential for work and, of those belonging to the other half, only 14% are of critical importance. Even with this category, entries in your targeted mailing list of professionals still have to deal with message relevance and priority.

Spam or Junk: 7%

This is naturally the group of messages that you don’t want your emails to be a part of. With spam filters and other related criteria becoming more and more sophisticated, it’s often difficult to be absolutely certain that all your emails pass through safely. In addition, your recipients do hold the ultimate power over your email’s fate and move them from the inbox to the junk folder or the other way around.

Personal: 11%

Unless you know your recipients on a personal level, then there’s no possible way your emails could end up in this category. But it’s still quite interesting to note that more than 1 in 10 messages in a professional inbox are actually personal and not work-related in nature.

Others: 19%

By the cold-hearted process of exclusion, this is the only category which your emails can proudly call their own (hopefully). Put in another way, close to 1 out of every 5 messages recipients in your professional emailing list receive comes from a sender with potentially similar motivations as you. That’s quite a tight competition.

Now that you’ve gained some idea on what your email marketing audiences’ inboxes look like, it’s time to put your thoughts into action. Getting to the desired inbox in one piece is only a fraction of the journey that your emails have to take. Once there, you’re message is locked in a fight to the death for your recipient’s time and attention. If your message does make it as part of the 19% non-work-related, non-spam, and non-personal category, it still has hundreds of other emails in the same inbox to contend with. Make sure that it stands a chance – visualize.