Tag Archives: Business Tools

Email Marketing Tip: Using Outlook Categories to Segment your Customers/Prospects (for better sales result)

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Have you heard of the phrase “ONE SIZE FITS ALL”?

This works quite well for devising policies or procedures within companies or single departments where individuals work for a single goal BUT…

If you are applying this strategy for your email marketing campaigns, you are likely to be annoying your customers/prospects by sending them emails/information that they don’t need.

As a result, prospects might unsubscribe from your list even before you get a chance to offer them something that would have been valuable to them and ultimately this could lead to a LOST SALE in future.

When it comes to email marketing, the phrase needs a slight tweak.

The phrase should say “NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL”

Not everyone on your list of customers and prospects are interested in everything you sell so it is important that you group them into different segments… and then send different emails based on the needs of each group.

Outlook has a very powerful feature called Categories that you can use to segment your contacts.

Unfortunately it is not as easy as it could be to do email merges with this!

Users of our Email Merge PRO for Outlook software can easily use the Email Merge Wizard to both send out emails to particular segments/categories and to maintain their mailing lists.

The Email Merge Wizard lets you save your selected contacts to a new or existing category easily inside the Wizard.

outlook email merge categories

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

I hope you find this tip useful.

If you have other email marketing tips, please share it with us by leaving a comment below.

Updated Outlook Reply protection is much more than just a warning prompt (Outlook 2007, 2010 and now Outlook 2013)

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Thursday, June 6th, 2013

We have updated the Reply Guard feature in Send Guard so it fully supports Outlook 2013.

What is Reply Guard and why do users need it even when newer versions of Outlook have built in warnings?

How many times have you accidently done a Reply-All (when you really meant to do reply) and disclosed confidential information to people who should not have received/seen it… or maybe you accidentally did a Reply instead of a Reply-all and missed some people?

Send Guard protects you from accidental Reply-Alls with much more than just a warning prompt.

Whenever you click Reply or Reply-to-All on an email with multiple recipients, the Reply Guard feature in the Outlook addin will display a list of all the original recipients so that you can visually see and change who your reply is going to.

outlook reply-to-all

If you’ve accidentally addressed the email to the wrong people, just untick them. If you’ve forgotten to include some people, just tick them.

Reply Guard virtually ELIMINATES any chance of you replying or replying-to-all to the wrong people!

Send Guard for Outlook works with Outlook 2007, 2010 (32 and 64 Bit) and Outlook 2013 (32 and 64 Bit).

The latest version of SendGuard (1.1.4898) now fully supports Outlook 2013’s new Inline Response feature.

You can download the latest version of Send Guard for Outlook from here.

This update is FREE for Existing users of SendGuard. Install it over your old version and your registration information will automatically be retrieved.

Haven’t tried Send Guard yet? Find out more about Send Guard for Outlook and download a fully functional trial today.

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

By standss - Comments ( 1 ) Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Do you use Outlook to send out sales and marketing emails to your customers? Here’s a few tips to help your emails reach customers and not get blocked as SPAM


Don’t send one email with a big list of recipients… or worse to undisclosed recipients. That’s a red flag to junk mail filter software.

Instead send separate emails so that each recipient should only see their own name in the To field of the email that they receive.

Creating separate emails for each person can take time. If you have a big list of prospects or customers you can use an Outlook addin like Email Merge PRO which will create and send separate emails to each customer.

2. Don’t use words that Spammers use.

This means avoid words like free, discount, guarantee, special offer, best price, bargain etc.

But… how can you sell something without using those word…  use them… but use them once or twice only where it makes sense.

Don’t make your whole email a sales promotion. Spam filters look at how often these trigger words are used so make sure you also have other (relevant) content.

3. Send emails from your own email account.

If you’re using Outlook, you probably don’t need to worry about this one. This applies to people who try and use unknown servers or web services to send out emails.

If the recipient’s ISP detects that your email is coming from an unreliable server or if the email is coming from a different domain then your email will be blocked.

Even when your email has gotten through to the user’s Inboxes, your job is still not done. You still need to get past the main Junk Mail filter… the person reading this email.

1. Make sure that the email is individually addressed (in the To field) only to him (or her).
When I see a big list of recipients from someone who is not a personal friend (I still get some joke emails etc from friends), I assume that someone is trying to sell me something.

2. Personalise the email at the start (something like Dear Sanjay) but don’t get carried away and personalise it too many places.

3. Send the email only to people who are actually interested in what you are writing about selling etc. If you have a big list of people, you may want to segment it into smaller lists. Not everyone is interested in everything you have to offer.

(If you are using Email Merge PRO, you can group your lists into smaller segments directly from the Wizard)

4. Make the Subject line interesting enough that the user wants to open the email.

I hope that these tips help your emails deliver better results for your business.

You may also want to look at Email Merge for Outlook which has an easy-to-use Wizard that helps you send out personalized individually addressed emails. It works from inside Outlook (your recipient list can be inside Outlook or Excel…)  and also has advanced features to help you segment your list etc.

Changing where Outlook Searches Emails by Default

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Last week we had some tips on searching Outlook emails. Here’s how you can tweak things further by controlling where Outlook searches by default.

Outlook 2013/2016
Type anything in the Search Box and Outlook will search the current folder except if you’re in the Inbox. If you’re in the Inbox, Outlook searches all folders in the current mail box.

Since I have started using Email Tags, I now organize my emails by Tags instead of folders. As a result I prefer for my Searches to be in ALL MAILBOXES and not just the current mail box. Here’s how you can change the setting in Outlook 2013 to search All Mailboxes.

  • Open Outlook
  • Click File > Options
  • Click the Search tab to display Search Options.

Outlook Search Options

  • Select All Mailboxes and click OK

Now when you do a search, Outlook will search in all mailboxes by default.

In Outlook 2010/2007, there is not an option to search all Mailbox but you can search all “All folders” by default.

Here’s a quick setting changing that will force Outlook to search all mail items by default.

In Outlook 2010:

  • Click File > Options
  • Click the Search tab to display Search Options.

search all folders outlook 2010

  • Click All folders and then click OK

In Outlook 2007:

  • Click Tools > Options
  • Click the Search Options button on the Preferences tab to display the Search Options box.

search all folders outlook 2007

  • Click All folders and then click OK.

It’s a small tweak but it could save you a lot of clicks.

Do you have any other Search tricks that you find useful. Share it with other readers by leaving a comment on the blog.

Is your Email killing your Productivity?

By standss - Comments ( 2 ) Monday, October 10th, 2011

Emails are a very dominant means of communication nowadays and it can take up hours of our time just checking, reading or answering emails. So let me ask you again, is your Email killing your Productivity?

If your answer to the above is YES, then below are just some simple email tips that can help you stay focused and more productive.

1. Turn-off any forms of Distractions (Email Alerts)

I have always preferred to turn off e-mail notifications in Outlook, particularly the blue notification rectangle that shows up everytime you receive a new email in Outlook versions 2003 and later.

Imagine this pop-ups appearing every 5 or 10 minutes, or even more often and the end result – your productivity is getting affected (even if you do not open and read the email immediately).

You can refer to an earlier post on how to Turn-off the Email alert in Outlook.

2. Automatically highlight important emails

You might receive hundreds of emails a day but this does not necessarily mean that all have to be dealt with immediately.

You can setup Outlook to automatically highlight or color-code important emails that require your immediate attention. This ensures that you are focusing your attention on the right emails.

3. Try to automate as many processes as possible (rather then doing it manually)

If you are using an email program such as Outlook, you can setup rules to perform some of the obvious tasks such as moving SPAM/JUNK emails out of the Inbox automatically. This saves you time which can be used for other important matters rather deleting individual SPAM emails.

4. Process your emails in batches

It’s not necessary to check emails throughout the day or work on them all day long. As noted above, more often you will find that not all emails require an immediate response. So try to process your emails in batches, you can answer the first lot of emails first thing in the morning and the others sometime in the afternoon.

This reduces frustration (that more often happens due to email overload) with emails and at the same time allows you to focus on other productive tasks through the day.

These are if you like some simple tips to help you stay focus and productive.

Do you have other methods of your own to stay productive?

Please share it with us and our readers by leaving a comment below.

Email Marketing Tips for Accidental Salespeople

By standss - Comments ( 1 ) Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Right now a lot of you might be wondering… who are ACCIDENTAL SALESPEOPLE?

Well to keep it simple, these are people (like me) who have found themselves becoming salespeople because of the needs of their business and I’m sure there are others like me.

For the sake of this people, here are some of the Email Marketing Tips that are used and recommended by Real Salespeople:

TIP #1: Send a SEPARATE EMAIL TO EACH PERSON, personalized with personal data if appropriate.

Make sure that each person gets a separate email with only their own name in the To field. You can further personalize the content of the email with the person’s name and any other data you want if it adds to the value of your message.

  • Do NOT send just one email with everyone’s name stuffed in the To or CC field. It lets everyone know everyone else who is getting the email.
  • Don’t send the email to yourself (or undisclosed recipients) and BCC everyone else. It looks unprofessional and makes your email look like SPAM… both to the readers and to most spam filtering software.

TIP #2: Email your list with RELEVANT (and hopefully INTERESTING) information

The information you send to customers must be relevant to them… otherwise you will quickly find yourself banished from their Inbox to their Junk Emails folder.

  • Don’t spam your customers. Write content that they are interested in. That way they will WHITE LIST you so that your emails will stay out of their Junk Emails and get into their inbox.  

TIP #3: Email your list at the appropriate interval.

What is the appropriate interval between emails? Not so long that they have a hard time remembering who you are… and not so frequently that they lose interest in what you’re writing.

  • Don’t train your customers to ignore your emails… if you send them too much information, they won’t make time to look at it.

TIP #4: Segment Your Customers and Prospects (or you could end up losing sales)

Not everyone in your list of customers and prospects are interested in everything you sell. Try and group them into different segments… and then send different emails based on the needs of each group.

  • Outlook has a very powerful feature called Categories that you can use to segment your contacts. Unfortunately it is not as easy as it could be to do email merges with this!

TIP #5: KNOW why you are writing the email… What is in it for the reader? What is in it for you… what do you want the reader to do?

Why are you writing a particular email… Is it to inform the customer of a new product… is to inform them of a promotion you are running?

Is there something you want the customer to do… maybe click on a link… or call you… or download a file?

  • If you want your customers or prospects to do something then ask them to do it… they can’t read your mind! (You’d be surprised what a difference in conversion rates this simple tip will make)

TIP #6: Write your Emails in a way that gets into their Inbox (and not Junk Emails) folder.

We often get asked by prospective customers if our Email Merge for Outlook can guarantee that their emails end up in Inboxes instead of Junk Mail folders.

Email Merge does many things to improve your chances of staying out of SPAM folders but guess what… if your email is basically spam then chances are it will be blocked.

TIP #7: Respect your customers wishes… don’t send them marketing emails if they’ve asked you to stop

If your customer has asked you politely (the first email is usually polite) to not send them marketing emails then STOP. You will probably need to contact them via email again… use their email address against their wishes and you may find that you get blocked off.

These are if you like the 7 tips that can help you with your Email Marketing efforts.

If you have any other tips, please share it with us and our many readers by leaving a comment below.

Do NOT CC customers from Outlook

By standss - Comments ( 3 ) Friday, July 8th, 2011

Do you have an important message that you need to communicate to all your customers now? Your customers are already saved as contacts in Outlook… so maybe you could just create an email and CC it to all of them. NO!

Using the CC field to send out your sales and marketing emails is not recommended. It can result in annoyed customers and lost sales because:

You are violating your customers’ privacy: When you use CC to send out emails, every person who receives the email will be able to see everyone else’s email address.  The problems this can cause are:

  1. Your customers may not want other people to know that they are working with you.
  2. Your customers may not want other people on your list to have their email address.
  3. One of the recipients may decide to use your list for their own marketing efforts.

A good example of this recently happened at our golf club which circulates its weekly newsletter using the CC field. A few of the members have simply copied the list and started advertising all kinds of things… from cars… to computers… to garage sales. I’m not quitting the golf club because it is the only one close to my home but your customers may quit on you.

Your email may never reach your customer: One of the rules that junk email filters use to work out if an email is spam is based on the number of recipients. Stuff too many people in the CC field and suddenly your email ends up in the Junk Email folder where it is never read.

Your email never gets read because it is obvious to the customer that this is a bulk mail out: Even if the email gets to your customer, it looks like a marketing email. He thinks you’re just trying to sell him something so he either deletes it… or leaves it in his Inbox to read later (how many of those emails do we ever read later?).

… can you use the BCC field instead!
The BCC field is no better at customer communications. Because the email is not addressed to the customer, the junk filters either move it to the junk folder… or the user recognizes it as marketing and deletes or ignores it till too late.

So what can you do?
If you’re one of the tens of thousands of users of the Email Merge for Outlook addin, you already know. Email Merge takes your chosen list of people (from Outlook or Excel or wherever) and:

  1. Creates a separate email for each person… with only their email address in the To field.
  2. Personalises the Subject and/or body of the email with their personal details (name, company name etc) if you want.
  3. Sends the email out immediately or schedules it out at a time suitable to you.
  4. It does all this and more inside Outlook using a Wizard that steps you through the process in a few minutes.

If you haven’t tried Email Merge yet, click here to learn more and download a fully functional version of the Email Merge for Outlook addon.

You’ll be sending out your first set of sales and marketing emails within 5 minutes.

Are Outlook Appointments and Tasks too DUMB for use in real business?

By standss - Comments ( 1 ) Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

You may have noticed that I dedicate a lot of time to getting the most out of Outlook for my (and hopefully your) business – just look at the emails and blog articles I send you.

So I was abit surprised (confused?) during lunch when two of my friends (a lawyer and a real estate agent) commented that they do NOT think that Outlook’s Tasks and Appointments were SMART enough tools for their businesses.

They were both using Outlook but were frequently finding that when they relied on their Outlook calendar, they were RUSHING about in the last minute trying to meet DEADLINES due to INCORRECT entries…

These guys are both extremely competent highly professional people… if they were having problems then I was sure that many other people would be having similar problems.

So I decided to do some research… to try and understand what they actually meant… and hopefully find a solution.

Their problem was that they needed to enter a SERIES of related appointments and tasks into Outlook (sort of like a process)… based on the start date for the real estate agent and the end date (generally a court date) for the lawyer.

It was TIME-CONSUMING and ERROR-PRONE to do this by hand each time…
sometimes some steps were missed or entered on the wrong date.

The problem was made worse because invariably there was a change in a critical date which required RESCHDEULING of multiple items and… it wasn’t easy to find and change them all in Outlook.

It wasn’t uncommon to miss updating one or more appointments.. and unfortunately THE SIMPLEST STEP BECOMES THE MOST CRITICAL AS SOON

The good news is that we have been working on something that I hope to release in the next month or so.

But before we do that… we thought we better make sure that we were understanding the problem properly.

Could you give us a couple of minutes of your time to answer two simple questions:

1. Why does your industry need to enter a series of appointments (and
tasks) into Outlook?

2. What are some of the problems of doing this in Outlook at the

Please type in a quick response and send it to news@standss.com

With so many readers, I can’t guarantee a personal response… but
I can guarantee that I will personally read your email.

That’s all for now… Wishing you a better Outlook.

Sanjay Singh

P.S. I really DO value your input in getting things right. Why
does your industry need to enter a series of appointments (and
tasks) into Outlook? and… What are some of the problems of doing
this in Outlook at the moment?

Please send your response Now to news@standss.com

Handling Unsubscribes Using EmailMerge for Outlook

By standss - Comments ( 1 ) Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Several Email Merge PRO for Outlook users have recently asked about how to handle people who wish to Unsubscribe from their emails(Newsletters). The short answer is “Stop sending them emails!”. The problem however is remembering who NOT to send emails to when you have a long list or if you have several lists. That’s why we built the Do Not Send To list in Email Merge for Outlook.

Before we get into using the Do Not Send To list, here’s a small quote from a happy user of this feature.

“I just found the function to update the do not send list from email responses in the current folder with Unsubscribed in the subject line and the ability to change the Subject word being searched for. Awesome! I lost my unsubscribe list, but keep all my responses in one folder.”

I’d like to say a Special Thanks to Marge for the positive feedback.

For all existing users of EmailMerge for Outlook and also who are currently trialing it, this post highlights what the “Do not Send To” list feature is and how you can use it to handle Unsubscribes.

What is the “Do not Send To” list?

The Do Not Send list allows you to maintain a list of email addresses to which EmailMerge will NEVER send emails (even if they are in your mailing list).

Why? Certain contacts may request to not be part of your mailings. Accidentally emailing them could result in annoyed prospects or customers… or complaints against you to spam authorities.

Adding these contacts to the Do Not Send list ensures that EmailMerge will not send emails to them.

How to Use it?

To Open the Do not Send List:

  • In Outlook go to your Inbox, click on the little arrow beside(below) the EmailMerge button on the Toolbar/Ribbon.

Dont Not Send List Button

  • Click Do not Send List. The application will open the following screen:

Do not send to screen

1.  Add an email-address to Do not Send List:

  • Click Add, the application will display the following screen:

Add Email Address

  • You can add email address(s) to the Do not Sent list using 1 of the 3 options below:
    • Manually add the new items to the list
      Select this option if you would like to type-in the email addresses manually. (Enter 1 email address per line)
    • Email address (sender) of currently selected email(s)
      Select this option if you want Email Merge to automatically add email addresses for the emails you have already selected in the current folder. The email address of the sender will be added to the Do not Sent List.
    • Emails in current folder with unsubscribe/bounce back words in subject
      People can unsubscribe from receiving emails from you by having certain words in the subject of the email they sent to you. (Normally they would reply to your email and add the word Unsubscribe)

You may also find that certain emails addresses on your list are no longer valid as emails you send are bounced back. EmailMerge can automatically add addresses of the above to the Do not Send List by comparing words in the Subject fields.

You can edit the list of words by clicking on Maintain Word List to add, delete or reset the Word list to default.

2.  Edit Do not Send List:

  • Select the email-address and click Edit
  • Make the necessary changes to the email-address
  • Click OK to save your changes

3.  Remove an email-address from Do not Send List:

  • Select the email-address you want to remove
  • Click Delete and the application will display a prompt to confirm the removal of the indicated email address from the list.
  • Select Yes to remove the email-address from the Do not Send List.

So… are you using the Do Not Send To feature of Email Merge PRO for Outlook. Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment on the blog.

Not a user of Email Merge PRO for Outlook yet? Find out how you can keep customers informed using EmailMerge PRO for Outlook.

Common (Costly) Emailing Mistakes in Outlook and How to Prevent Them

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Friday, December 10th, 2010

If you are running a business, particularly a professional business, these seemingly small errors can make you look unprofessional and waste precious billable time.

Please raise your hand if you ever:

  • Forgot to attach a document to an email message.
  • Clicked Reply when you meant Reply-All or vice-versa.
  • Forgot to write a subject.
  • Emailed someone using the wrong email address (for those of us with more than one email address).
  • Fired off an angry message that you later regretted.

SendGuard 4Outlook, protects you from all these mistakes by automatically warning you if it detects the possibility of any of the above mistakes (and more).

SendGuard even gives you a way of changing your mind about an email after you have clicked Send.

SendGuard works inside Outlook and takes no time to learn – you continue to write and send your emails the same way you always have. SendGuard will automatically warn you and let you take corrective action if it detects a mistake.

You can download a fully functional 30 Day Trial of SendGuard from:

SendGuard 4Outlook works with Outlook 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007 and 2010(32-bit).