Lets all take a little break.

“You’ve been working really hard. You should take a break.”

If someone told you that, would you believe them? Would you allow yourself a few minutes of respite-- an actual break?

For so many people, break time means just stopping looking blankly at the section of their screen called “office” and instead looking at the section of their screen called Facebook. And that’s no good.

You should take a break. You deserve a break. A real break. Stand up from your desk—even if your watch hasn’t told you to yet—and walk around a little. Go outside. Go down to the atrium. Every company has an atrium; you just haven’t found the one at your company yet. Use that funny little bathroom that’s tucked in behind the stairs in the old part of the building. (True story. Can’t talk about it here.)

The point is, taking time off from working on your work doesn’t mean doing something else that is like work, but isn’t. Checking your personal email is a shitty way to take a break from checking your work email. Taking a break – a really good break— makes you a more productive worker.

  1. Fast Company, People Magazine for Entrepreneurs, says you should Stop pretending you’re too busy to take breaks.
  2. Taking a break at work makes you a better employee, according to Health.com, which (according to their fine print) is practically Time Magazine, and is not intended to constitute medical advice.
  3. The Huffington Post, creeping ever closer to becoming Buzz Feed for adults, has Five Very Good Reasons to Take A Break At Work Today.
  4. There is a great infographic about the importance of taking breaks at work published on Lifehack.org, who is hoping you’ll confuse them with Lifehacker.
  5. Want to know how taking time off is the secret to increased productivity? You’ll have to check out this Entrepreneur Magazine article, which is written from the unique perspective of a rich white businessman.

I'd like to make this list longer, but frankly, I'm ready for a break.

Just sending happy little emails

Early on in my career, I was something of a Bob Ross of email marketers. Don't get me wrong, I love Bob Ross, but, just like how he would sometimes paint "Happy Little Clouds," sometimes, I was just sending "Happy Little Emails."

Like Ross' little clouds, my emails were fluffy and pretty and made me and my bosses feel good. At the end of the day we made little reports we could show off. We were so proud.

Don't get me wrong; I looked at the analytics-- in all cases, I had a pretty respectable readerships and click through rate-- but what I didn't have was any kind of inbound or follow-through marketing strategy.

And that's where the real power lies in email marketing, right? I mean, I know I'm preaching to the choir here. None of you would ever send out a huge smash of emails to everyone on your list just because.

Of course not. That would be crazy.

The problem is, people do just that all the time. If you've ever had your email address fed into the spam machine by a group of angry script kiddies (long story) you know just how large of a problem this is.

Five ways to be a better email marketer

So what are responsible inbound marketers to do? Here are five suggestions for how we can be better stewards of our email marketing efforts.

  1. Don't buy Lists. Ever. And refuse to work with those who do.
  2. Understand how email works. Not just server to server, but understand the peering and reputation systems at play behind the scenes.
  3. Segment, Segment, Segment. Don't send email to people who don't want it. People who already bought your product probably won't want to see that email that tells them you're having a sale on the thing they just paid full price for.
  4. Understand your audience Not just to the demographics of your audience, but understand all the ways your audience wants to interact with you, and what your unique value proposition is to them. If you don't have audience personas written down somewhere, you're probably not really marketing.
  5. Take a class or get a certification. You probably don't know as much about this as you think you do, and this stuff is changing all the time.