Sending Personalized Holiday Season Invites, Greeting and Newsletters via Email/Fax/Traditional Post

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Monday, December 8th, 2014

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Christmas is just around the corner… parties are planned and the invite list is ready.

This is the time of the year when businesses and individuals need to send out holiday season invites for parties/events… greetings to families, friends, colleagues and clients.

Most companies also send out newsletters during the year end to update their clients/members of the achievement for the year, plans for the New Year, and special offers for the holiday seasons etc.

Are you wondering how to send out personalized invites in the
most easiest and efficient way possible?

Depending on your contact list, the best way to send out your invites, greetings or newsletters this year may be using email, fax or post/hand delivery.

Most of these mailing can be considered “mass mailing” i.e. we want to send copies of the same mail to everyone… possibly customized with their name and address at most.

Microsoft Outlook and Word have some built-in features that automate this process for you. In addition we have built our own tools to further speed up and simplify the process for you.

In this post I’ll discuss both, the built in free way as well as our own addins.

Send Personalized email Invites, Greetings and Newsletters directly from Outlook.

I am going to start with what I consider to be the easiest, fastest and most powerful way of doing this… our own EmailMerge PRO for Outlook.

Seeing is believing so check out this short video on how to send out Invites, Greetings and Newsletters using EmailMerge Pro.

Send unlimited emails to unlimited number of contacts directly from Outlook. EmailMerge supports HTML emails so don’t hold back in creating beautiful and colourful emails this Christmas season :)

We also have built-in email templates for invites, greetings and newsletters. You can easily customize this emails to suit your style and personalize it yourself. You don’t have been be an expert at HTML, you can customize this templates using the standard word formatting options in Outlook.

“I have found emailmerge pro the most useful tool in my marketing armoury! It is simple to use, has some great options for sending emails and is of great value to any businesses wanting a mass email facility.”
- Lori Hope, Spraytanz Ltd
“Emailmerge Pro is a fantastic tool to personalize emails for large or small groups of people. The ability to mail merge gives you unlimited abilities to create very personalized emails. I use it to improve communication to groups ranging from 8 – 1000+.”
- Jack Fiscus, first Baptist Orlando

How to Fax out Invites, Greetings and Newsletters.

Despite what many people will have you believe, Faxing is not dead.

In fact in terms of deliverability, it can beat email – there is almost no chance that your fax won’t get delivered because of an over-zealous spam filter.

You can use Microsoft Word and the free fax printer that comes with Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7 to send out personalized faxes to your customers this year.

The Bad News: Windows Fax and MS Word don’t talk easily to each other out of the box.

The Good News: Fax4Word allows you to fax merge straight from Word to the Windows Fax printer.

View more information on Fax for Word

How to Print Letters and Envelopes for Posting and Hand Delivery

Even if you will be sending paper based mail this year, technology can help you.

Here are step-by-step instructions to:

Use mail-merge in Word with Outlook data to create and print personalized letters

Use mail-merge in Word with Outlook data to print mailing labels and envelopes

I hope you find the above information helpful in staying in touch with friends, families and clients this year.

Merry Christmas to all our readers from the Standss Team.

Till next time… have a better Outlook

Categories : Email Marketing, EmailMerge for Outlook Comments ( 0 )

The Best use of Outlook Rules to improve Productivity (and Reduce Distraction time)

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

I have written on several occasions that I don’t use the Outlook Rules much but I have now managed to find an excellent use of this feature which has helped me stay focused and improve my productivity.

Do you subscribe to any email newsletters, mailing lists or groups?

I often find myself going to check my email and 30 minutes later all I have done is read through “interesting” articles instead of doing any real work.

Microsoft’s built-in Rules feature provides a solution.

Let’s start off with a bit of background about Outlook Rules for “Outlook Newbies”

What are Rules in Outlook?

According to Outlook 2013 Help…

“A rule is an action that Microsoft Office Outlook takes automatically on an arriving or sent message that meets the conditions that you specify in the rule”

For example… you can set a Rule to automatically move emails from a particular email address out of the Inbox to another folder.

Normally I don’t use Rules much because…

My Inbox is my To-Do list.

I don’t want anything automatically moved out of it. Even Outlook automatically moving items after they are read is NOT acceptable because I sometimes leave stuff in there to deal with later.

I want to move emails out myself after I have finished with them – I need to stay in control of my Inbox.

I use QuickFile for Outlook to simplify email filing out of my Inbox (and Sent Items).

But in this situation it makes sense…

I want the newsletter emails moved out of my Inbox and into a folder dedicated to newsletters.

These emails are not part of my daily to-do-list and I prefer to go through them when I take a break from real work.

How to create a Rule?

BEFORE creating the Rule, create a folder inside Outlook where you want the newsletter emails to be moved to. Then…

  • Go to your Inbox
  • If you are using Outlook 2013/2010. Click on File and select the Info tab and then click on Manage Rules & Alerts.
  • For all other versions of Outlook, click Tools and then click Rules & Alerts.
  • Click on New Rule… to display the Rules Wizard as shown below:

manage_outlook_rules

  • Move Messages from someone to a folder” will already be highlighted. (This example assumes that the newsletters come from the same email address – otherwise you can use one of the other predefined Rule Templates)
  • Click “people or distribution list” to display the Rule Address screen.

rules_address

  • Choose a name from the list or type in the name in the From field and then click OK.
  • Click the hyperlink word “specified” to bring up the Choose Folder dialog. Select the desired folder from the list and then click OK.

Now that the Rule is created, any emails coming from the list will automatically be moved to the chosen folder.

You can also apply it to any emails that are already in the folder by going back to the Rules and Alerts screen and clicking the “Run Rules Now” button.

Use Rules in this way to move emails that you know are NOT part of your REAL WORK.

This keeps your Inbox clean and focused on things that need your attention.

I recommend that you don’t use Rules to shift work related emails.

Keep them coming to your Inbox and use a tool like QuickFile for Outlook to manage their filing. 

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Use Outlook Speak to Proof-Read your emails

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

I have a habit of reading my email to myself while typing it and I’m sure a lot of us do the same.

we usually read to ourselves what we are typing, but often we say the correct word to ourselves but type the wrong word.

How many times have you used Outlook to send out emails with correctly spelt but the wrong words in them?

In a earlier post, I showed you how you can avoid common spelling mistakes using Outlook’s Autotext.

Here is another great way to avoid spelling mistakes…

Get Outlook itself to READ OUT the email to you!!!

Let’s look at the example we discussed in the earlier post again:

“Our sincere apologize for any inconvenience caused”

The word “apologize” was spelled correctly but was incorrectly used. The correct word was “apologies”.

These mistakes are easy to pick up if you use Outlook’s built-in (but well hidden) feature that will read the email aloud to you.

Windows already has the ability to read text back to you. Here’s how you can add a button inside Outlook to read out selected text to you.

Note: The following tip works in Outlook 2010 and 2013 only.

  • Create a new email.
  • Right Click on a blank area of the Ribbon
  • Click Customize Quick Access Tool Bar
  • Choose Commands not in Ribbon in drop down

outlook_ribbon_options

  • Scroll and select Speak
  • Click Add
  • Click OK

Outlook will add a new button to your Quick Access Tool Bar as shown below.

outlook_speak_icon

How to use the button to get Outlook to read the email aloud to you

  • Create a new email
  • Type some text
  • Select the text that you want read out to you.
  • Click the new button that was added in the previous steps.

Outlook will read the email out to you.

Next Steps

You may also want to add the “Speak Selected Text” button to your Inbox so that you read emails that you are reading in your Reading Pane.

Go to your Inbox and follow the steps above to add the button.

Finally you can also open an email that you have received and follow the same steps so that you can hear any email that you have received or already sent.

This simple tip has improved the quality of our emails here at Standss… hope it does the same for you.

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How to NOT Email Yourself when using Reply-to-All in Outlook

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Monday, October 13th, 2014

We received an email query earlier this week from one of our readers asking

Outlook includes my email address in the To field when I do a Reply-All. Clearly I do not want to email myself but Outlook lacks the intelligence to not add my email address to the email. Do you have a solution?…

The reply to this was YES!!!

We have this functionality built into our own Outlook addin called SendGuard for Outlook. You can turn this feature ON from the setting screen following the steps below:

  • Open Outlook
  • In Outlook 2013/2010, click on the Standss Outlook Addins tab > click SendGuard > Settings In Outlook 2007/2003, click on the Tools menu > Standss > SendGuard > Settings

SendGuard will display the following screen:

Reply_Guard

  • Click on the Reply Guard tab
  • Tick the checkbox for Automatically remove me when doing a Reply to All
  • Click OK

Now if you do Reply-to-All on any email, SendGuard will automatically remove your email address from the mailing list.

If you haven’t tried Send Guard for Outlook, you can download a fully functional trial of the Outlook addin.

SendGuard has a number of special filters that check outgoing emails to ensure that they are going to the correct people with all the required information. It’s built in tools include the Attachment Guard, Subject Guard, Reply (and Reply All) Guard, Account Guard, Bad Mood Guard and Send Confirm.

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Categories : Outlook Email Tips, SendGuard for Outlook Comments ( 0 )

Personalized Email helps improve Open Rates and Conversion

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

I read an interesting case study today about how a company called CloudEndure achieved 58% open rate and high quality leads by sending personalized emails to prospective leads. I would recommend that you read this article as it is a perfect example of How to generate quality leads and why personalized email marketing works.

The way that we gather insight about our leads may vary from business too business but in today’s post, we will look at a simple solution that will allow you to send out personalized emails to improve your open rates and conversions.

But first let’s understand why sending personalized emails is better?

Emails sent the wrong way are MUCH more likely to be blocked by the many levels of junk email filters that we all have (even if we don’t always know they’re there).

Junk/SPAM Mail Filters have different levels of sophistication but they all follow a few basic rules including:

  • An email with a lot of recipients is more likely to be spam than an email addressed to only my valid email address and…
  • An email that is NOT addressed to me directly is more likely to be SPAM than one that is addressed to my email address.

Many Outlook users don’t realize the multiple levels of junk email filters stopping both junk and often real emails from getting to our Inboxes.

  • Level 1 – Internet Service Provider: Most ISPs now have Junk Mail Filters setup on their servers. These filters do their work even before the email gets to our computers i.e. they remove the email to a Junk Folder that can only be accessed via the Internet.
  • Level 2 – Anti Spam Software: Many users have additional anti-spam software on their computers that automatically remove and quarantine suspected spam emails.
  • Level 3 – Outlook’s built-in Junk Email Filter: Finally Outlook has its own Junk Mail filter which moves suspected junk emails to Outlook’s own Junk E-mail folder.

If you’re still sending out your Sales and Marketing Emails from Outlook by putting them all in the To, CC and BCC fields of one email then guess what… your email is most likely lost in a Junk Email Folder somewhere… it is NOT reaching the Reader.

Very few users bother checking the various Junk Mail folders… if your email is getting blocked then chances are it’s going to stay blocked.

THE SOLUTION:

Email Merge! You can use Outlook to create and send out personalized copies of the same email to many people.

Outlook has some basic mail merge functionality built into it (it uses Word to do the merge) but this does have some limitations including:

  • being harder to use
  • not being able to customize the Subject line and
  • not being able to send out your emails in smaller lots (which again impacts deliverability).

The easiest way to do this is using our own EmailMerge for Outlook addin. Our addin installs inside Microsoft Outlook and then provides a step-by-step Wizard that will guide you through your first email merge.

Watch a short demo video to see Email Merge in action or download a trial version to test it yourself.

Hope you find this tip useful with your own email marketing campaigns.

Do you know of other ways to improve open rates and conversion?

Share it with our readers our leaving a comment below.

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Reduce Distraction by limiting New Email Notification to Important Emails Only

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

It can be quite annoying when you are in the middle of something important and you keep getting notifications “you’ve got email”.

Those small pop-up windows on the right bottom corner can really divert your attention especially when you are working on something that is very stressful or the work has come to a point which required a difficult decision… and you were hoping to find something easier to do in your Inbox… something to help you avoid the difficult decision… imagine getting a notification “Happy Hour Tonight from 6pm to 7pm” or “50% off on all iphones

I have personally turned off this notifications except for very important emails for example emails from clients and families.

In this post today, I will show you how to set email notifications for important emails only.

Firstly you will have to turn off all the desktop alerts:

  • Open Outlook
  • Click on the File tab > Options
  • Click on Mail in the left pane
  • Scroll down to the message arrival section and UNTICK the option for “Display a Desktop Alert
  • Click OK

This will now turn off all email notifications.

Next… we will be creating rules which will display the email notification for important emails only that meet the set criteria.

  • Go to your Inbox.
  • In Outlook 2013/2010, go to the Home tab and click Rules > Manage Rules and Alerts

In Outlook 2007/2003, Click Tools > Rules and Alerts to display the Rules dialog box.

 outlook_rules_alert

  • Click the New Rule button to display the Rules Wizard screen.

 outlook_rules_wizard

  • Click “Display mail from someone in the New Item Alert Window”. (A on the picture above)
  • Click on “people or distribution list” (B on the picture above) to display the Rule Address screen. In Outlook 2010/2013, it would say “people or public group“)
  • Select someone from the list or type in the person’s email address in the From: field.
  • Click OK to go back to the Rules Wizard screen.
  • Click “a specific message” (C on the picture above)
  • Type in what you want the alert message to say and click OK e.g. Email from Boss!
  • Click Finish

The next time you receive an email from that person (like your Client/Boss), Outlook will display a message over everything else that you are working on.

This simple trick has helped me stay focused on real work and also made me efficient in deciding which emails need my attention first and which ones can wait.

I hope it works well for you too.

If you find this tip useful or have your own tips for better email notifications, please leave a comment on the blog.

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Categories : Outlook as a Business Tool, Outlook Email Tips Comments ( 0 )

Reasons why you should avoid using BCC for emails + Alternative Solution

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Outlook users BCC emails for two main reasons… sending sales/marketing emails or sending someone a copy of the email without letting the other recipients know. We strongly recommend that you DON’T use the BCC field for either purpose. Why?

  • Your sales/marketing emails will probably get caught in SPAM filters: Stuffing the TO/CC/BCC field with email addresses makes your email look like spam and it might be caught by the SPAM filters, which means your recipients might never receive your email about an important announcement/sale/event etc.
  • Your sales/marketing email might not get read even if it gets past the spam filter (because it looks too much like a sales email to the recipient)
  • If you used BCC to keep a recipient hidden from others, imagine what would happen if the hidden recipient did a reply-to-all! Suddenly the other recipients would be aware that you had been using BCC and depending on the nature of the email conversation, this may be viewed as dishonest or sneaky.

What to do instead of using the BCC field?

Send Personalized Individual emails (Marketing or Sales emails)

Your emails have a better chance of reaching the recipients inbox if it is personalized and addressed to that person.

You can either send the same email to the recipients one at a time (compose a new email and copy paste the content) which would be time consuming… or

You can use an easy mail merge tool like Email Merge for Outlook to send out personalized individual copies of the email to each recipient. Each recipient will get a personalized copy of the email which is addressed only to him/her.

Forward Emails (when you need to hide a recipient from the others)

If you need to send someone a copy of an email without others knowing about it, don’t BCC them on it. Instead send the email out to the “disclosed” list of recipients. Then forward a copy of the Sent email to the “hidden” recipient. Now if the hidden recipient reply’s to the email, the reply will only come to you.

Avoid accidental Reply-To-Alls yourself

If you or others in your organization are dealing with confidential information that you are BCCed on, you might want to also look at Send Guard for Outlook to avoid doing an accident Reply-to-all yourself!

Send Guard has special filters that check emails as you respond to them and as they are sent out.

A special prompt will warn you and ask for confirmation if you reply to an email on which you have been BCCed.

This can avoid the accidental disclosure to other recipients that we referred to earlier.

I hope you find this tip useful.

If you know of other email abuses or ways to avoid email abuses, share it with us by leaving a comment below

Related Posts:

How to create NON-SPAM emails that get opened and read

When to BCC Emails in Outlook

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Easily find special emails in Outlook by Color Coding them

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Saturday, September 13th, 2014

Here’s a quick tip that you can use to get Outlook to automatically display special emails in a different colour so that they stand out in your Inbox (or any other folder)

In this example we will be using this technique to display in green bold any emails that you have added notes to (using Email Notes for Outlook).

emails_highlight

Step By Step

1. Go to the Folder in which the emails are. This can be the Inbox or any other folder.

2. In Outlook 2013/2010, Click View on the Ribbon and then click View Settings.
On all other versions of Outlook, on the menu at the top, Click ViewArrange ByCurrent ViewCustomize Current View to display the Customize View screen.

3. In Outlook 2013/2010, Click the Conditional Formatting… button
On all other versions of Outlook, click Automatic Formatting… button

4. Click the Add Button

5. Enter a name e.g. “Emails with Notes

6. Click the Font button and using the resulting screen to choose how you want emails to be highlighted (I chose the colour Green and Bold). Click OK to return to the previous screen.

7. Click the Conditions… button to display the Filter screen.

8. Click the Advanced Tab

9. Click the Field button > User-defined fields in Inbox > EmailNotes

10.  For the Condition: drop-down, select “is (exactly)” and for the Value: enter “Yes”.

11. Click Add to List

12. Now OK your way back to the Outlook Inbox

You should now notice that any emails with notes would appear in the format you have defined.

In this example we have used this technique to highlight emails with notes linked to them. You can also use the same technique to highlight any emails that are important to you (e.g. emails from you main clients/manager etc).

Categories : Outlook as a Business Tool, Outlook Email Tips Comments ( 0 )

How to update General Information for multiple contacts in Outlook

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Creating contacts in Outlook is very easy and even before you might realize, you would have hundreds or thousands of them in your Outlook Contacts folder. It is also likely that most of the contacts might have some relation to the others for example working in the same company. Now if the company relocates, would you want to go and change the address for every contact who works in that company? I know I wouldn’t!

Here is an easier method that will let you update the general information for multiple contacts that are linked with one another.

To start off, we simply update the information for one contact (in this case the Business Address) and then Save and Close that contact. Then we modify the view of the Contacts folder so that all the contacts are grouped by that updated field. So for our example of the Business Address that would be;

1. In Outlook 2013/2010, Click View > View Settings…
In all other versions of Outlook, Click View-> Arrange By-> Customize Current View…

2. Click on Group By…

3. At the bottom set the “Select available fields from:” to “Address fields

4. At the top set the “Group items by” to “Business Address” field

5.Click OK and then OK again.

Now you’ll notice that all your contacts are grouped by the Business Address. Select the contacts who still have the old address, drag and drop them into the group of your updated contact. Outlook will now automatically update the Business Address field for all the contacts you added to the group.

The above example was for updating the Business address but you can follow the same steps to update any other outlook fields for multiple contacts

Do you have any other methods of updating multiple contacts? Let us know by leaving a comment.

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Outlook Notes Tip: Why (and how) we need to make Notes on Emails in Outlook

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Sunday, September 7th, 2014

I was at a friends office yesterday and observed him rummaging through his desk looking for email printouts… on which he had hand-written notes.  We got into a discussion on why we need to make notes on emails at all… and a way of making notes on emails directly in Outlook.

Why do we need to take notes on emails?

It turns out that many conversations are started via email… and then get added to by our own thoughts or phone calls or face-to-face meetings. Adding notes (handwritten or electronic) to emails just makes it easier to refer to the FULL conversation or take action later.

For example:

1. Emails from people outside our own companies are often followed by phone calls… it is convenient to record follow-up notes directly on the email so that all the information is in one place.

2. We often delegate things to other people in our team via email… and then clarify them via phone calls or face-to-face meetings. Recording details directly on the email makes it easier to check if a delegated task has been fully completed.

3. Similarly we may have work that has been delegated to us via email initially but then followed up by phone calls or face-to-face meetings. Recording details directly on the email improves our chances of carrying out the delegated tasks fully.

4. Like many people I have a habit of quickly scanning through my emails… if an email relates to something I can do easily, I take action… otherwise I work on it later but… I may have ideas immediately and it is useful to record it with the email… ready for me to use later. This way I don’t lose thoughts or ideas related to an email.

One way of writing notes on emails is to do what my friend used to do… print out the emails… handwrite on them… and hope you can find them later.

The downsides of this method are that we waste a lot of paper… and the emails and notes are difficult to find when we need them

There is an easier way… use Email Notes for Outlook… an Outlook addin that adds a button inside Outlook for you so that you can easily add, view, edit and print notes on emails… all from inside Outlook.

You can learn more about and download a fully functional version of Email Notes for Outlook from our website.

Here are what some existing customers say about Email Notes for Outlook.

I help people with insurance and Email Notes makes it so much easier for me to work. I make the note on the email lead and it makes it so much easier to keep myself organized. Those notes have made a difference in my closing ratio. – Jim Lambert

EmailNotes gives me an immediate way to jot a reminder to myself connected with the e-mail. Absolutely hassle-free installation and use with Outlook. Wonderful utility!! – Pam Rolph

I don’t have to print the email message, hand write a note on it, and then keep track of it on my desk. Eliminates extra desktop paper and the info doesn’t get accidentally put in a job folder lost forever. – Patrick J. O’Leary, Estimator/Project Manager

Hope you find this tip useful.

Let us know what you think about the tip or Email Notes by leaving a comment below.

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