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Ultimate guide for email tags: Maximize email efficiency

In this guide, we’ll explore the benefits of using email tags in your inbox, and how to make tagging part of your daily email communication.

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    By James

    James has seven years' experience as a Content Marketer, bylines on Left Foot Forward, Submittable, and INOMICS, and a Master's in History. In his free time he likes to read, play guitar, and write for his personal blog.

    In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of using tags in your email inbox, and how to effortlessly make tagging a part of your daily email communication.

    Key takeaways

    • Tags help you find emails quickly: Just like putting sticky notes on things you don't want to lose, tags help you keep track of your emails.
    • They make your inbox neat: With tags, you can sort your emails into categories so your inbox isn't messy.
    • How to use tags well:
      • Pick good names for your tags: Use names that make sense to you so you can find emails easily.
      • Use tags the same way every time: This makes it easier to know which tag goes with which kind of email.
      • It's okay to use more than one tag on an email: Sometimes an email fits into more than one category.
    • Don't make these mistakes:
      • Don't go crazy with too many tags: If you have too many, it gets hard to keep track.
      • Remember to keep your tags up-to-date: Sometimes you need to change your tags as things change.

    What are email tags?

    We all know the struggle: a cluttered inbox teeming with unread emails, promotional offers, updates, and crucial business correspondences. The result? Reduced productivity and added stress. The solution? Email tags.

    Email tags are labels that you can add to your emails to help you organize and categorize them. Using tags lets you quickly and easily find the emails you need, when you need them.

    Think of them as virtual sticky notes you can slap onto your emails, but with a much broader utility range.

    How can email tags help with email organization and productivity?

    By assigning tags to your emails, you can quickly and easily categorize them based on their content, sender, priority, or any other criteria that you choose. This makes it easier to find specific emails when you need them and helps you stay on top of your inbox.

    Email tags can also help improve your productivity by allowing you to quickly filter and sort your emails. For example, you can create tags for emails that require your immediate attention, emails that can be dealt with later, and emails that are low-priority. By doing this, you can focus on the most important emails first and avoid being overwhelmed by less pressing emails.

    Note: Using email tags optimally requires a strategic approach. It's not just about labeling every mail you receive, but about creating a system that helps you locate important emails swiftly, prioritize tasks effectively, and ensure nothing slips through the cracks.

    Dos and don’ts when using tags in your inbox

    dos and don’ts when using email tags in your inbox

    Dos and don’ts when using tags in your inbox

    To get the most out of using tags in your inbox, here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:

    • Do use descriptive and specific tag names
      One of the most important dos when using tags is to use good tag names. This will make it easier to find and sort your emails later on. For example, instead of using a generic tag like 'work', try using more specific tags like 'project updates' or 'client communication'.
    • Do apply tags consistently
      Another important do when using tags is to apply them consistently. This means using the same tags for similar types of emails. For example, if you have a tag for 'invoices', make sure to use it for all emails related to invoices. Consistency will help you quickly find and sort your emails.
    • Do leverage multiple tags per email
      One of the most powerful strategies for maximizing the informational value of tags is to add multiple tags for each email. Single-tagging an email as 'Urgent' or 'Project X' is helpful, but it lacks depth. By using multiple tags - such as 'Urgent,' 'Project X,' and 'Meeting' - you have a good insight at a glance.
    • Don’t use too many tags - keep it simple and focused
      While using tags can be helpful, it's important not to go overboard. One don't when using tags is to not use too many different tags. Having too many tags can make it difficult to find what you're looking for and can actually make your inbox more cluttered. Instead, keep it simple and focused by using only the tags that are most important to you.
    • Don’t forget to regularly review and update your tags as needed
      Over time, your needs and priorities may change, and your tags should reflect that. Take some time every few months to review your tags and make any necessary updates. This will help ensure that your inbox stays organized and efficient.

    How to include tagging in your email routine

    To make tagging an effortless part of your daily email communication, start by creating a list of tags that are relevant to your needs. This might include tags for different projects, clients, or topics.

    For example, you might have categories such as: 'personal', 'urgent', 'follow-up', 'newsletter', etc.

    Once you have your list of tags, make it a habit to apply them to your emails as soon as they arrive in your inbox. This might take a little extra time at first, but it will pay off in the long run by making it easier to find and manage your emails.

    Transform Your Inbox with Mailbutler Tags

    Create and add multiple tags (labels) to your emails and Mailbutler items.

    Comparing different email tagging tools

    Email tags are an essential tool for managing your inbox, and there are several different email tagging tools available. One popular option is Gmail's tagging system, which allows users to create custom labels and apply them to individual emails.

    Another option is to use third-party tools like:

    • Mailbutler (for Outlook, Gmail, and Apple Mail)
    • SimplyTag (for Outlook only)
    • MailTags (for Apple Mail only)

    UPDATE: Due to the macOS Sonoma release, MailTags has stopped supporting their tagging feature for Apple Mail.

    These tools offer more advanced tagging features such as the ability to auto-tag emails based on keywords or sender information, smart filtering, and more.

    Mailbutler in particular is introducing a unique tagging feature that stands out in the market. Not only does it allow users to tag emails, but it also extends this functionality to other Mailbutler features like Notes, Tasks, Contacts, Signatures, and Templates, ensuring an all-inclusive email organization approach. Mailbutler is available as an extension for Apple Mail, Gmail, and Outlook.

    When comparing different email tagging tools, it's important to consider the features that are most important to you. For example, if you primarily use Gmail, it may be more convenient to stick with the Gmail Labels system rather than switching to a third-party tool. On the other hand, if you need more advanced tagging capabilities, a third-party tool like Mailbutler is the better choice.

    Another factor to consider when comparing email tagging tools is ease of use. Some tagging systems can be complicated to set up and use, while others are more intuitive and user-friendly.

    Similar post: Apple Mail Flag

    3 ways Mailbutler’s Tags feature will transform your inbox

    Mailbutler Tags on an email task

    Mailbutler Tags on an email task

    Mailbutler is an email productivity tool for Apple Mail, Gmail and Outlook that includes a powerful tagging feature. Here are three ways that Mailbutler’s Tags feature can transform your inbox:

    • Beyond email tags
      With Mailbutler, you're not restricted to tagging emails alone; you can also apply these tags to your email notes, tasks, contacts, templates and signatures. Imagine working on a project and having the ability to tag not just the related emails, but also all the notes you've taken, tasks you've set, and people involved.
    • Color-coded tags
      You can assign different colors to your tags, making it easy to identify different categories of emails visually.
      For example, you can assign the color red to urgent emails and green to emails that require follow-up. This feature ensures that you can quickly identify and prioritize your emails.
    • Smart filtering
      Mailbutler’s smart filtering feature allows you to quickly find emails, tasks, notes, or even contacts based on their tags. This feature saves you time and ensures that you can easily find what you are looking for. For example, you can quickly find all emails related to a specific project by searching for the project’s tag.

    Mailbutler Tags short demo


    Real-world use cases for email tags

    Personalized Campaigns for Holiday Packages

    Email tags were recently implemented for a holiday package business, enabling them to provide personalized email marketing campaigns to their subscribers. 

    Data was collected, including customer preferences such as the type of holiday, travel dates, and destination interests, and then email subscribers were tagged accordingly. This allowed the business to send highly customized emails. For example, a subscriber interested in beach vacations with a December travel date received an email featuring a special promotion for a beachfront holiday during that period, while an adventure-seeking subscriber received information about thrilling trips tailored to their preferred destinations.

    This approach resulted in increased subscriber engagement, higher conversion rates, improved customer satisfaction, and a reduction in unsubscribes.

    Vicky Smith, Email Strategist and Copywriter, Flic Email


    Behavior-Based Segmentation

    We once had a client who struggled with low engagement rates in their email campaigns. It was clear that one-size-fits-all messages were falling flat. 

    Enter email tags. We began tagging subscribers based on their behaviors and preferences—whether they clicked on links about outdoor products or showed interest in kitchen gadgets, for instance. This enabled us to develop highly targeted campaigns. 

    Subscribers who had been tagged as "Outdoor Enthusiasts" received content relevant to camping or hiking, while the "Home Chefs" got recipes and kitchen tips. This resulted in a 25% increase in click-through rates and a much happier client. The beauty of segmentation through tagging lies in its ability to offer value in a more personalized way.

    Josh "Snow" Elizetxe, Founder, Customer Feedback


    Subscription-Based Tagging

    We tag emails based on our user behavior. When a user signs up for a free trial, we tag them as “Trial Users.” If they engage with specific features, we tag them with those feature names. This allows us to tailor and segment our campaigns. For example, we can send 'Feature Update' emails to users tagged with the relevant feature. It has significantly improved our engagement and conversion rates. Tagging helps us deliver personalized content, enhancing our overall email marketing strategy. 

    As we offer three types of pricing plans, email tags helps us segment customers based on their subscription plans. We tag customers as “Basic,” “Popular,” “Pro,” and “Custom,” which allows us to send targeted messages, such as upgrade incentives to “Basic” users or premium feature announcements to “Custom Plan” customers. This way, email tags ensures customer-aligned messaging and increases the chances of customer retention.

    Vaibhav Namburi, Founder, Smartlead

    Email tags FAQs

    What are email tags and how can they benefit me?

    Email tags are labels that you can apply to your emails to help you organize and categorize them. Using tags allows you to quickly and easily find the emails you need when you need them. They offer several advantages, such as making it easier to locate important emails, helping prioritize your emails, and enabling personalized communication.

    How can I effectively incorporate tagging into my daily email routine?

    To seamlessly integrate tagging into your daily email communication, begin by creating a list of tags that cater to your needs, like 'invoice', 'personal', 'urgent', and so on. As emails arrive in your inbox, make it a practice to apply these tags. While it might take a bit of time initially, it will eventually streamline your email management.

    How does Mailbutler enhance the email tagging experience?

    Mailbutler is an email productivity tool that boasts a robust tagging feature. With Mailbutler, you can apply tags not just to emails but also to notes and tasks. The system allows for color-coded tags, making it visually easier to categorize emails. Its smart filtering lets you swiftly find emails based on their tags. Additionally, users can add tags to their Mailbutler email signatures and templates, which is useful for those who use multiple signatures in their daily email correspondence or frequently use email templates.


    In conclusion, using tags in your inbox can help you save time and stay organized. By implementing tagging into your daily email routine and using a powerful tagging tool like Mailbutler, you can transform your inbox and maximize your email efficiency.

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