The easiest way to keep emails organized is to create folders inside Outlook for each client (or project or matter) and then move both sent and received emails to those folders… or so we thought.
A recent survey that we carried out of professionals (lawyers, architects, engineers etc) who use Outlook revealed that most users prefer to move emails out of the Inbox BUT not from the Sent Items folder.
Instead they prefer to copy emails out of the Sent Items folder and leave the original in Sent Items. In this article we look at why… and how you can copy emails instead of moving them.
Why you need a copy in the Sent Items folder
There are two main reasons that professional using Outlook prefer to keep a copy of all emails sent in the Sent Items folder.
1. Filling in Timesheets: Professional often bill clients for time. While timesheets should be filled as the work is done, this doesn’t always happen. Timesheets are often filled at the end of the day. The Sent Items folder often provides a good reminder about the work that we did on a particular day.
2. Finding emails quickly: You will probably need to refer to at least some of the emails you sent today in the next few days (probably to answer questions on a phone call, to clarify what you said etc) While Outlook’s search is pretty good even if you have emails filed away in folders, the easiest way to find a recently sent email is to quickly scan your Sent Items folder!
How to copy emails from the Sent Items folder
I am going to give you a more automated solution at the end of this post but the two manual ways of doing this in Outlook are:
Manual Method 1: The Move Command
Go to your Sent Items folder.
Right-click over the email that you want to move.
Click Move and then click Copy to Folder to display the Copy Items screen.
Select the folder and then click OK.
Method 2: Drag and Drop
The other way of copying a email is to drag and drop the email BUT do the drag and drop using the Right mouse button instead of the normal left.
When you drop the email (by releasing the right mouse button), you will see a small pop-up.
Click Copy and the email will be copied to your chosen folder.
An automated option for busy people
If keeping emails organized is important to your business, then you may also want to look at QuickFile for Outlook. QuickFile will save you hours of valuable time by learning and recommending where to file your emails. You will be able to file 90% of emails at the click of one button.
Best of all QuickFile can prompt you (with the recommended folder), whenever you click Send… and automatically file a copy of the email to your chosen folder and still leave a copy in the Sent Items folder.
If you find Outlook almost hanging up on you while you are writing emails, this tip will save you from a lot of frustration (and as a bonus increase your focus and productivity).
Does this sound familiar…?
You’re replying to an email and then Outlook starts doing something in the background. It basically locks up! You can’t do anything except wait for it to finish!
After a few moments, you get tired of waiting so you switch over to something that still works on your computer… something to do while you’re waiting… most probably the Internet… or Facebook.
10 minutes later you remember what you were actually working on! That’s 10 minutes wasted just because Outlook started doing something you never asked it to in the first place.
And it’s not just 10 minutes. It normally takes another 10 minutes to get refocussed again.
How many 10 minutes do you lose in your day?
I spend a significant part of my day working on emails and recently I have been having this problem several times a day.
I use Outlook 2013 with Office 365 and I discovered that the problem seems to coincide with when my Outlook is syncing emails with Office 365… particularly when I am working from home where my Internet connection is not as fast.
I found that I can greatly improve my productivity by making Outlook work offline when I plan to do actual work.
This is what you need to do:
- Go to Outlook
- Click Send/Receive on the Ribbon and then click Work Offline.
- Work on your emails
- Make Outlook go back online (by clicking on the Work Offline button again).
Warning: Please remember to make Outlook go online again. While Outlook is offline, no emails will be sent or received. Emails that you send will still be in the Outbox and new emails will be not be received in your Inbox (they will be waiting to be downloaded from your mail server when you go back online).
This simple tip has had a surprisingly positive effect on my productivity. Why?
- It stops Outlook from hanging up so I am able to get what I am working on completed without waiting for Outlook. I don’t get distracted to look at other things (Facebook!!).
- I also don’t get distracted by new emails popping in to the Inbox while I am working on something. (New emails are not downloaded while Outlook is working offline)
- As a bonus I enjoy work more without the frustrations of waiting.
Did this tip help you? Do you have your own tips for fixing Outlook performance issues? Please let us know by leaving a comment below.
We are happy to report that thanks to your support, Standss has had the privilege of again making a donation to the Hilton Special School. In this post I would like to share details of how the donation will be used and some of the truly inspiring work we witnessed when the Standss team visited the school last week.
The Hilton Special School is the main organization in Fiji that works with children with hearing and physical disabilities. This organization serves a very important and often neglected group of children in our community… and they have been doing it very well for many years.
The organization operates a school, an early intervention center, an audiology unit, a physiotherapy unit and a hostel.
While they get some government assistance, a lot of their work is only possible with the help of grants and donations.
Last year we donated $10,000 to them to assist with setting up a new physiotherapy unit. The physiotherapy unit has now been setup.
Last week we donated an additional $10,000 which will be used towards the salary of a qualified physiotherapist who will work with the children.
During our visit to the school, we were given a tour of the different classes that are currently being held. Some of the truly inspirational things that we learnt and witnessed included:
• The children are taught the exact same syllabus that are taught in all other schools in Fiji. The only difference here is the mode of learning as the children here need different attention because of hearing impairments or restricted mobility.
• The teachers of one class were both without hearing. They had benefited from the work that from organizations like Hilton in their youth, had gone through teacher training and were now inspiring and teaching other students that their disabilities did not have to hold them back.
• The Hilton School also had a computer lab. Krishneer Sen, the teacher and administrator of the lab was also a former Hilton student.
After Hilton, he went to a technical school in New Zealand and then won a scholarship to Gallaudet University which is the world’s only university designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students.
Krishneer is a source of inspiration for all of us.
His life shows us what is possible with support and determination. He also shows the tremendous impact that organizations such as Hilton have , not only on individuals directly affected, but also on the lives of people that that these individuals will affect in turn.
I know that I may have overused the word but this visit by our team was truly inspiring for us.
It is too easy to forget that just having normal hearing, site and mobility is a privilege.
It is humbling to see the work that others are doing to empower these children to live full lives.
We want to thank the team at Hilton for their service and for allowing us the opportunity to contribute.
And finally… we want to take this opportunity to thank all our customers.
We are only able to support Hilton and other similar organizations because of your continued support of our products and company.
We want you to know that you have are making a difference.
Sanjay and the team at Standss
Here’s a little tweak that I did to Outlook Search (in Outlook 2013) to make it work faster for me.
What is Outlook Search
Outlook displays a Search box at the top of your emails. Simply click in the search and type the words that you are looking for.
In Outlook 2013, you can also change where the Search is done (current folder, current mailbox, all mailboxes etc) directly from the same screen
How to make Outlook Search your Inbox faster
By default Outlook searches for emails in the current folder except if you’re in the Inbox. IF you are searching from the Inbox, Outlook searches for emails in all folders in your current mail box.
The problem with this is that Searching for emails from your Inbox can be slow because it is searching for emails in all folders instead of just the current folder.
You can change where to search each time but this seems to almost hang Outlook if the Search has already started.
Instead you can change Outlooks settings to search only the current folder when you are in the Inbox.
Click File > Options
Click the Search tab to display Search Options.
Select Current Folder and click OK
Now when I do a Search from the Inbox the results are almost instant. I can still Search all folders by selecting Current Mailbox or All Mailboxes from the list on the right of my Search box if I want to do a wider search.
Why this works for me
This works for me because I usually go to the folder I am interested in before I do my Search. When I am searching my Inbox, I know that I am looking for an email in my Inbox.
Share your own thoughts on Searching by leaving a comment below.
QuickFile for Outlook was recently reviewed for TechnoLaweyer’s SmallLaw publication by New Jersey lawyer Edward Zohn.
His gave it an A+ rating and summarised that:
QuickFile easily fulfils its promise. Even if you have a modest Outlook folder structure, you will immediately start saving time.
It’s all very painless. There’s no need for Outlook’s tedious dialogs, no need to monitor the “Sent Items” folder, and no need to memorize your folder tree.
The review is basically a CASE STUDY on using email management in a legal firm or any professional firm.
Written by practicing lawyers who manage small successful firms and legal technology and practice management experts who jave achieved rock star status, SmallLaw provides practical advice on management, marketing and technology oissues in small law fiorms, as well as comprehensive legal product reviews with accompanying TechnoScore ratings. technolawyer/smalllaw
Are you happy with the response rates to your sales and marketing emails? You can greatly improve the number of responses if you stop giving your readers too many choices.
What are response rates?
The response rate you get is the percentage of people who actually respond to your emails. Obviously the higher your response rate, the more people are actually reading your emails and doing what you want.
What is a Call to Action?
It must be very clear to recipients what they need to do after they read your email.
Why are you sending out your email? What do you want recipients to do? Do you want them to call you? Do you want them to email you? Do you want them to click on a link? Do you want them to reply?
If possible, only ask readers to do one thing… or at least have the one main thing you want them to do extremely obvious.
Why a SINGLE call to action is better?
Research shows that when people have to choose between several options (that may all be better than doing nothing), they very often still do nothing.
We all fool ourselves by deferring action… saying that we will make a decision once we have more time. The problem however is that your unresponded email soon sinks down the Inbox and may never get responded to.
Try and have ONE VERY CLEAR CALL TO ACTION in your emails.
What are some other things you can do to improve response rates
1. Send each person a separate personally addressed email instead of stuffing many email addresses in the To, CC or BCC fields. Research shows that personally addressed emails are more like to get past SPAM folders and into Inboxes.
You can use an addin like Email Merge for Outlook to automate this instead of typing each email manually.
This makes your email look less like SPAM and more like an email from a real person.
2. Add a P.S. after your signature.
Restate the benefits of what you are selling and the call to action. Readers often scroll to the end of the email instead of reading the whole thing.
What are some other things that you do to increase response rates? Please share your ideas with other readers by leaving a comment below.
We recently upgraded our TBYL! for Outlook users to QuickFile for Outlook. The response has been overwhelmingly positive but a few users asked… Where are the Quick-Task and Quick-Calendar buttons?
These buttons are used to create Tasks and Appointments from Emails (to use TBYL terminology, move emails from your collection system to Action System)
The Quick-Task and Quick-Calendar buttons are part of QuickFile Pro for Outlook as shown below (we are only showing icons and not words to save space on the Ribbon).
By default clicking on either button will create the Task or Calendar as appropriate and attach the email to the body. You can change this default behaviour if you want from the QuickFile Settings screen.
If you have any other questions regarding QuickFile, please let us know by sending an email to email@example.com.
Are people either not responding or taking too long to respond to your emails? Here’s a quick tip that could greatly reduce the response times and increase the response rate to your emails.
The secret… unless absolutely necessary, make each email about one topic/project /subject only.
I am not saying that each email should only have one question, but at least make each email about a separate topic.
This will get you faster and more complete responses… and also simplify email filing and management.
Why does this work?
Whether we admit it or not, most people use their email lists as To-Do lists…. And it feels great to be able to knock things off that list.
If you send someone an email that they are able to respond to quickly (because it deals with one thing only), they will respond to it quickly because it makes them feel good to have the email out of their Inboxes.
Many productivity techniques preach the Two Minute rule which says you should respond immediately to an email if it will take less than 2 minutes. Make it easy for them to respond immediately!
This can be even more true if you send several emails about different things (that are all quick and easy to answer). They now get the joy of crossing several things off their email to-do list.
If you put several topics in the same email, you may find that…
You receive no response!
If you put several different topics on one email, the recipient may be able to answer some quickly but others may take more time. In the time-starved world we live in today, this could mean that he will not respond at all until he has more time.
Unless your email is very important to him, it could soon get buried under newer emails that have arrived in his Inbox.
At least if you had separated emails into several topics, you would have received a response to some things that were easy or important enough to respond to quickly.
You receive incomplete response
On the other hand, if you have several questions in one email, you may get answers to a few of the easy ones but not the difficult ones. Why?
The recipient responds to your email and then moves it out of his Inbox (one more thing crossed off that email list).
An added benefit of single topic emails… email management is much easier… and safer
Most Outlook users file emails into client or project based folders. Keeping each email about a separate project means that they are easy to file into folders (because the email only deals with one projects). You don’t have to waste time figuring out where an email needs to go (or making copies to file into more than one folder).
(If you do use client or project based folders for email filing, we recommend Quick File for Outlook)
You project folders will also be safer in case you need to share project information with others. This way you know that you emails do not contain unrelated information that could be accidentally shared with the wrong person.
I hope that you found this tip useful. Let us know if you agree or disagree by leaving a comment below.
A great email signature can help your business by building your image and credibility as well as making it easier for people to contact you. In this short post I look at what things a good signature block can do for you, what you want to put in, and what you should leave out.
The most important thing to remember… Your signature block needs to be as small as possible particularly since so many emails are only a few lines long… but it still has to achieve several objectives.
The objectives of a good signature block
A good signature block should do most if not all of the following for you:
- Let people know who you are
- Let people know how they can contact you
- Show people who may not know you what you or your company does
- If possible, convince people who don’t know you that you are a credible person that they can safely work with
- If you use social media a lot, let them connect you via your preferred social media website.
What you should include:
- Your Name
- Your Title (Optional but very useful, particularly if you have an important or at least important sounding title)
- Your company name
- (Optional) Your company logo
- (Optional) Logo or text details of any awards or memberships that build your credibility. Keep this as short as possible. Don’t list too many things or it loses it’s impact.
- A tag line that makes it easy to understand what you and your company do (Optional only if your company name is immediately recognizable)
- Your Phone Number
- Your web site address
What you do not need to include
Personally I feel that it is a waste of space to include the following:
- Your email address (they already know that sine they received the email from you)
- You fax number (unless you are in an industry/country that still makes use of fax)
- Your postal or physical address (they can always ask for this if they need it)
What do you think?
I hope that you find this article useful.
Do you have your own tips for better email signatures? Please share your ideas with other readers by leaving a comment on this post.
Many email marketers who use Microsoft Outlook rarely focus on the one thing that that almost always results in increased responses: contact list segmentation. In this post I am going to show you how you can use Outlook categories to segment your contacts.
What is segmentation and why does it work?
Segmentation basically means dividing your email list into smaller groups (or segments). Each contact can be part of one or more segments.
So why does segmentation work? It allows you to give your contacts more personalized attention.
You are now able to send out more specific emails targeted to people who are interested in that particular topic. This always results in higher open rates, click rates and response rates.
It also means less annoyed customers received emails on topics that they are not interested in.
How to you segment your list?
We will use Categories (a feature built into Outlook) to segment our contacts.
1. Make a list of the Segments (Categories) that you will use
What are the key elements to distinguish your customers? It could be product, company size, region… whatever makes sense to your business.
Make a list of these segments. For example, we have a range of products at Standss that are reasonably different. We could therefore segment our list based on products.
- Email Merge PRO for Outlook
- Quick File for Outlook
- Send Guard for Outlook
- Email Tags for Outlook
- eeminders for Outlook
- Email Notes for Outlook
I also like to keep a separate segment of our Volume License Customers since they have further requirements for deployment, control and support.
Volume License Customers
2. Add the Categories to Outlook’s Master List (of Categories)
Go to your Contacts folder in Outlook.
Right-click over a contact and click Categorize and then click All Categories.
Click New and enter the Name of your category. You can also choose a color if you want but I generally select None. Click OK.
Hint: You will see that I have named my category ml_EmailMerge instead of just EmailMerge. I use the ml_ in front of all my segment names to indicate that they are my mailing list categories. The master category list appears in all parts of Outlook (emails, appointments, tasks etc). By putting the ml_ in front of my mailing list categories, I can get them to appear together in the list when they are displayed alphabetically.
3. Assign your contacts to the relevant segments.
Go to your Contacts folder in Outlook.
Right-click over a contact and click Categorize.
You can click the category from the list or you can click All Categories and then select multiple categories for a contact if you want.
Repeat for all relevant contacts.
Viewing Your Various Segments
Once you have your contacts segmented, you will need Outlook to show you the contacts by segment so that you can use them easily.
Go to your Contacts Folders.
Click on the View Tab and Click on Categories (which will be in the Arrangement group)
Your contacts will now be displayed grouped by Categories. Contacts will be displayed more than once if they are in more than one category.
You can simply type the name of the Category in the Outlook Search box and only matching contacts will be shown
How to use your Categories/Segments in Sales and Marketing Emails
The next time you need to send out an email that is relevant only to a particular segment, display the list of contacts in the segment as explain above.
Then create your email and send it out only to the people in that segment.
I guarantee that you will get much better responses rates… and you will also get less emails from annoyed contacts asking to be removed from your list (since you will only be contacting people who are genuinely interested in your email).
Fine-Tuning Outlook emails to segments (Better Responses in Less Time)
If you want to get even better response rates, you should send out personally addressed emails to your contacts.
This means that each email should only have one contact’s name in the To field. You may even want to personalise the email with the contact’s name and other details.
This can be time-consuming to do if you try and do it by hand.
We recommend Email Merge Pro for Outlook. Email Merge Pro installs inside Outlook and uses a step-by-step Wizard to quickly create and send out personalized emails to selected contacts.
Best of all, the emails will still be sent out from Outlook instead of looking like emails from a mailing service. This is extremely important, particularly if you are dealing with larger customers.
Email Merge Pro has full support for Categories so that you can easily send out emails to segments when you need to.