How to Cure Email Overload (Video)

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Instead of our regular blog posts, we are creating a series of 3 video posts to solve what our 30,000+ blog readers tell us is there #1 problem… TOO MUCH EMAIL!

You can watch the first two (short) videos here:

*   Video #1: How to Cure Email Overload

*   Video #2: A Focused Inbox to Get Things Done

These videos are free for the moment.

You will need to opt-in to see the video (as always we respect your privacy and will NEVER share your email with anyone).

We’re asking for your email again so we know who to send the PDF version of How to Cure Email Overload to… as soon as the video course is complete.

Once you have seen the videos, please let us know if there is any question you want answered in the third and final video.

Best Regards,

Your Outlook Team at Standss

PS: The videos may be taken down and converted into a paid training course later. Watch it now.

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Managing Projects in Outlook using Appointments and Tasks

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

In the post last week, we looked at some of the ways that you can customize outlook to suit your style of working and also effective handle the pile of emails in your inbox.

Other than emails, Outlook users also use the calendar and task to manage their daily lives and projects… and yet Outlook does not give us an easy way to manage projects inside Outlook. Outlook users frequently ask us how they can see all appointments and tasks that make up a project in one place.

Why is this important?  Most work or projects are made up of a series of steps all being related to each other. As we finish a step, it is important to know what the next steps are to get the project completed. Things also don’t always go according to plan… and we need to see what else gets affected when things change.

Our research showed that there is no simple way to organize and view related tasks and appointments under projects… so we added this functionality to our Outlook Project Management addin Smart Schedules for Outlook.

With Smart Schedules for Outlook you can:

  1.  Assign existing (or new) tasks and appointments to projects
  2. Quickly see all tasks and appointments for a project at the click of a button.

Here are step by step instructions showing you just how easy this can be:

Assign existing (or new) tasks and appointments to projects

  1.  Open Outlook and go to the Calendar/Task folder that the existing appointment/task is located in
  2. Select the appointment/task
  3. Click on Assign Project button on the Smart Schedules toolbar/ribbon. This will display the following screen:

123

 Select an existing project from the Project list.

  • Note: You can also type in a new project name if you would like to create a new project and add this selected appointment/task to that project.
  • Click OK.

Quickly see all tasks and appointments for a project at the click of a button

Smart Schedules Project Centre makes it easy to see all appointments and tasks that you have associated with a project.

On the Smart Schedules toolbar, click Project Centre

  • From the Project drop-down, select the Project to which you assigned the appointment or task
  • You will now be able to view the appointment or task assigned to the project and all other related appointments and tasks for the project as shown below:

b

Next Steps…

Smart Schedules for Outlook was designed with the help of almost 20,000 Outlook users. Try it for yourself today and tell us what you think.

Download a fully functional version of Smart Schedules for Outlook.

Watch a short video of our Outlook based Project Management tool (Smart Schedules)

I hope you find this tip useful managing your projects in Outlook.

If you know of other ways to manage projects using Outlook, share it with our readers by leaving a comment below.

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Why images in your marketing emails can reduce response rates

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Adding images to your sales and marketing emails can make your emails look attractive and engaging but ONLY if the images and your well-crafted HTML email appears the same in the recipient’s inbox as you intend it too…

Using images in your marketing emails incorrectly can cause a reduction in response rates. Here’s why:

  • Plain text emails get through spam filters more easily (ultimately it depends on content so your plain text emails will still get caught if you are sending out obvious spam).
  • Email clients like Outlook do not display graphics in emails by default because spammers use them for tracking purposes etc. Therefore if you have your main message only in an image (without repeating it in plain text), then your readers may never actually see it.
  • Many email users are now using the preview pane to scan through emails before deciding which emails deserve their attention. If you have a graphic at the top that is not meaningful then your emails may be skipped.
  • Not all your readers are using the same version of Outlook as you are… in fact many may not be using Outlook at all (think Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail etc). In our experience images often cause HTML emails to display differently in different browsers which can spoil the look you want to achieve with your emails.

This is one of the main reasons that most of the professionally designed templates in our Email Merge for Outlook addin have little or no images in them. Instead we have used HTML to create a professional look that displays properly and looks great in all the email programs that your readers will be using.

I hope you find this tip useful with your email marketing campaigns this holiday season and improving your response rates.

Let us know if you have other techniques to improve the email response rate by leaving a comment below.

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Email Marketing Tip: Make sure you put your Contact Details on Emails

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Friday, December 13th, 2013

It’s holiday season and for most of us it’s also the busiest time of the year… sending out sales and marketing emails like newsletters, sales catalogues, invites, season greeting etc.

The last thing you want is for your emails to be marked as SPAM and not reach your recipients therefore you need to ensure that your sales and marketing emails meet the CAN-SPAM Act. The aims of this Act is to provide standards for sending out promotional emails while limiting the amount of spam.

One of the requirements of the CAN-SPAM Act is that the Sender must clearly identify himself/herself by providing relevant contact information.

What does this mean to you… If you are sending out promotional emails then you probably need to put the following contact information at the bottom of all emails at the very minimum:

  1. Your (the Sender’s) Name
  2. Your Email Address
  3. Your Postal Address

It is a LEGAL REQUIREMENT that all promotional emails include the above at a very minimum.

If you’re not already doing this, make sure you include your contact information on the next promotional email you send out.

I hope you find this tip useful.

If you know of other tips to ensure your emails are not marked or regarded as SPAM, please share it with our readers by leaving a comment below.

Related Posts:

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

Ingredients for Effective Email Marketing Campaigns

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Emails To-Do today at the Top of the Inbox

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Although I have tried many different productivity techniques (GTD, TBYL etc),  I still find that I have too many emails in my Inbox. Here’s a little technique that I use to get the emails that I need to work on today  to show up highlighted at the top of the Inbox. This works even if the emails were received on different days.

Follow the steps below to have the emails you want to deal with today appear at the top of the Inbox:

You will also need to have our eeminders for Outlook addin installed.

  • Open Outlook
  • Go to your Inbox, select the email that you want to work on today
  • Right click on the email and eemind me
  • Click Now
  • Follow the same steps above for all emails that you wish to deal with today
  • Once done, on the eeminders toolbar/ribbon, click View > click Inbox (sort by eeminders)

This will now sort your Inbox and show all emails that you need to deal with today at the top of the Inbox. The emails will also be bold and marked as unread so you know which ones have been done and which are still left.

New to eeminders?

eeminders for Outlook makes it much easier to have an uncluttered Inbox that helps you get the right work done. eeminders comes with a number of views to make it easier to see what you need to work on in your Inbox. With eeminders you can also:

  • Defer/Snooze emails out of your Inbox …. until you need them
  • Get Follow-up reminders for emails you send… in your Inbox
  • Do more than just emails… schedule your non-email tasks in your Inbox too
  • Move your non-urgent emails into a Someday folder to relook at in the future when you have free time
  • Review and Reschedule your future email workload easily

Download a free 30 day fully functional trial from our website to test drive it yourself or watch a short video to see eeminders in action.

I hope you find this tip and eeminders useful.

Do you know of other ways to use your Inbox as a To-do list? Share it with us by leaving a comment below.

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Send Personalized Targeted Emails from Outlook using Email Merge

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Are your Sales and Marketing Emails from Outlook reaching their audience… or are they lost in Junk Mail folders?

In order to get your marketing emails read by your customers, you should NEVER send out bulk emails by stuffing many email addresses in the To, CC or even BCC fields.

Instead use Outlook to do an email merge i.e. create and send out a separate, personalized, individually addressed copy of the same email to each person.

This will not only avoid SPAM/Junk filters but will also help you increase your conversion rate by 208% as shown in a recent email marketing case study by Marketing Sherpa.

Why is this important?

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:

  1. An email with a lot of recipients is more likely to be spam than an email addressed to only my valid email address and…
  2. 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

80-20 Rule – Outlook Emails Tip 2: Outlook Automatically Highlights Important Emails

By standss · Comments ( 2 ) Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

In the first tip last week, we showed you how to automatically process newsletter emails using Outlook rules to ensure that only actual work related emails are in your inbox… This way you are focused on your real work, your inbox remains clean and you can easily find the newsletters later when you want to read them.

Ever wished that your most important emails or emails that interest you would automatically stand out from the ocean of emails in your inbox?  It just saves you so much time then going through your emails one at a time and deciding which ones to do first.

I’ve setup Outlook so that it automatically highlights (Red Bold) any email with the word Outlook in it.

You can do this using Outlook only (no additional software required) and it’s super easy to setup.

Here’s how:

  • Go to the Folder in which the emails are. This can be the Inbox or any other folder.
  • In Outlook 2013/2010, Click View on the Ribbon and then click View Settings.
    In old versions, on the toolbar, Click View > Current View > Customize Current View to display the Customize View screen.
  • In Outlook 2013/2010, Click Conditional Formatting… button
    In old versions, Click the Automatic Formatting… button.

outlook_automatic_formatting

  • Click Add
  • Enter a name for the rule e.g. “Color Code Outlook Emails”
  • Click the Font button and use the resulting screen to choose how you want emails to be highlighted (I chose the colour Red and Bold). Click OK to return to the previous screen.
  • Click the Condition button to display the Filter screen and enter your criteria and click OK.

outlook_filter

In my case I chose;
Search for the word(s): Outlook
In: Subject and message body

  • Click OK 3 times to return to your Folder.

The current emails in your inbox (or any other folder) will now be automatically color coded based on the criteria you have setup.

You can also use this technique to highlight other important emails for example:

  • Emails from your most important clients (you don’t want to upset them)
  • Emails from your Boss (you’d definitely want to check his/her email first :) )
  • Email from your partners/resellers/affiliates (get new leads and close sales)
  • And more…

Do you have other techniques to highlight important emails in Outlook and stay focused?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Categories : Outlook as a Business Tool, Outlook Email Tips Comments ( 2 )

80-20 Rule Applied to Outlook Emails (stay focused on real work)

By standss · Comments ( 1 ) Friday, October 18th, 2013

I’m sure everyone is aware of the famous 80-20 rule and apply it to your business model (we do at Standss). In this post I will show you how the 80-20 rule can be applicable to handling emails to get the best results so read on…

For those who are not aware, this principle states that most of our results (80%) come from a small portion of our actual work (20%).  An example in terms of sales is 80% of our sales come from 20% of our customers.

How does this apply to emails?

Well, check your inbox now, I’m sure you will notice that out of all the emails in your inbox, only a small portion would actually be important or those which will yield you the most return.

In the next few posts, we will share some simple tips that will ensure you are focusing only on emails that are ACTUALLY work-related and yield you the best results (leads, sales, productivity boost etc). Here is the first tip in this post.

Tip 1:  Use Outlook Rules to Process Newsletter emails

Do you subscribe to email newsletters? Newsletter can be informative and interesting but they also distract you from your real work. So rather than deleting or manually filing each newsletter, you can setup a simple rule using Outlook Rules to automatically file your newsletters to a separate folder.

This way you are not distracted from your real work, your inbox remains clean and you can easily find the newsletters later when you want to read them.

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.
  • In Outlook 2013/2010, Click the Home tab > In the Move group, click Rules > Manage Rules & Alerts…
    In Outlook 2007, Click Tools > Click Rules & Alerts
  • Click New Rule to display the Rules Wizard.

outlook rules wizard

  • 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.

outlook rule address

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

Once the rule is created, any emails coming from the email address will automatically be moved to the chosen folder.

To apply the rule to existing newsletters in the folder, go back to the Rules and Alerts screen and click “Run Rules Now” button

If you don’t like using the Outlook rules, you can try QuickFile Pro for Outlook addin. This addin also has a special Newsletter feature which moves emails to dedicated folders automatically PLUS reminds you at a time of your choosing to look at your newsletter.

I hope you find this tip useful.

We will share more tips in the next post on how to stay focused on real work to get the best results from the least effort, so stay tuned.

Improving Sales Conversion Rate for Emails using Outlook Categories

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

A recent email marketing case study by Marketing Sherpa showed a 208% higher conversion rate for targeted mailing (instead of batch-and-blast). Here’s why and how you can use categories in Outlook to do this yourself.

What do we mean by targeted email marketing

Do you send out email newsletters to your contacts? The case study shows that  you can get much higher conversion rates and revenue if you create emails for particular segments of your list.

How did they do this?

  1. They targeted a high value segment. We’ll show you how to segment your list using categories.
  2. They created a message that met the specific needs of the segment instead of a more general message. Your recipients are more likely to be interested in something specific to them.
  3. They used a more personal tone in the email.
  4. They made the customers feel special by personalizing the email’s subject and greeting with the person’s first name. (You can do this from inside Outlook using an addon such as Email Merge)

Using Categories to Segment Your Contacts

Outlook has a feature called categories that you can use to group contacts into segments. Each contact can have as many segments as you want.

If you are using Email Merge PRO for Outlook software, the Email Merge Wizard lets you assign categories, create individual addressed emails, personalize them and send them out in one step.

If you are NOT using Email Merge PRO for Outlook…. You can use the following steps to put your contacts into a particular category.

  • Go to your Contacts folder.
  • Select the contacts that you want to put in the same category.
  • Right click on a contact and click Categorize.
  • Select the category that you want (or click All Categories to use the resulting screen to add and assign a new category).
  • Repeat the above steps for each contact

Send emails to a category of Contacts

Unfortunately there is no easy way built into Outlook to do the type of personalized segmented email blast described in the case study.

If you want to do it the hard way, you could create a separate email for each contact in your category and then send it out manually.

The significantly easier solution is to use a tool like Email Merge for Outlook that will let you create personalized individually addressed emails for each person in your Outlook category.

Email Merge will let you choose your contacts, write your email, create your category and send out your emails… all from an easy-to-use Wizard… inside Outlook.

emailmerge categories

Check out the short demo video on our website or test drive Email Merge Pro by downloading the 30 day trial today.

Create Task or Appointment from Outlook Emails (To ensure things get done)

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

If you use the Outlook Calendar or Tasks List to get your work done, here’s a quick tip on how to convert emails to appointments or tasks.

Why might you need this? Like me, you probably get a lot of requests to get things done via email. You also probably send many emails that you want to follow up on. I personally do not use my Tasks List or Calendar for this (I use eeminders which lets me use my Inbox as my To Do list. However if you use your Tasks List or Calendar, this is what you can do.

OPTION 1: (FREE) Create a Task or Appointment from Emails.

All you need is Outlook…

  • Select the Email (either from your Inbox or Sent Items folder)
  • Drag-and-drop it from the folder to either your Task List or your Calendar.

This will automatically create a new Appointment or a new Task for you that you can then modify with due dates etc!

If you also want to attach the email to the newly created appointment or task (for easy reference later)… you can drag & drop the email using the right mouse button (instead of the left), this will give you the option to attach the email to the appointment or task.

I prefer the Right click option. Have the full email attached to the appointment/task makes it easier to Reply or Forward if I need to.

While the free option will work, here’s a few additional options that you may want to look at to really boost your productivity.

Option 2: File and create the appointment/task automatically when you click Send

If you send out a lot of emails that you need to follow up on, I would recommend QuickFile for Outlook. It automatically prompts you every time you send an email out. The email will be filed to the correct folder after it is sent and your follow-up task or calendar item will be created for you.

sent item organizer

Option 3: Get your reminders at the top of your Inbox on the correct day and time

I have personally found that I forget to look at my Calendar and Task List and as a result many actions get left undone. I have started using eeminders which shows me what I need to work at the top of my Inbox. You can watch a demo video or download a trial version of eeminders for Outlook from here.

I hope you find this tips useful.

Do you know of other ways to schedule your work and complete them on time?

Share it with us by leaving a comment below.

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