Productivity

2 Email Power Tools to Add to Your Productivity Toolkit

By January 29, 2014 2 Comments

Let’s look at two scenarios…

Patricia is an office administrator for a large distribution company with outlets throughout the Southeastern United States. Her company, Rose Distribution, employees dozens of sales reps who serve hundreds of customers in various territories throughout their service area. Patricia is responsible for communicating news, updates and announcements from headquarters to the reps and customers. For years, she has been using Outlook to send mass emails, but as the company has grown, so has her address book. Sending mass emails from Outlook takes a toll on her computer’s processor and the company’s email server, which brings her productivity down to a snail’s pace. Not only that, but Patricia has no way to make sure her address book is current and that she’s not sending to ex-employees and former customers. Some of these former customers have marked her messages as SPAM, and now their email domain is on the verge of being blacklisted (this means that anyone who sends an email from Patricia’s company will probably end up in the recipient’s junk mail or SPAM filter). Patricia has to make a change.

What should she do?

Use an Email Marketing Service

You have most likely heard of email marketing services like Constant Contact, Mailchimp, or Vertical Response. When you think of these services, you might think about coupons and e-blasts, but they can be used for everyday communications as well. If you send out one-way communications to more than 50 people on a regular basis, I highly recommend you use an email marketing service. We use Mailchimp and love it, but each service I listed has it’s pros and cons. Check them all out and decide which is the best fit for you.

Here are some  benefits to using an email marketing service vs. sending mass emails:

  • Send hundreds or even thousands of emails at a time.
  • Protect your company’s email domain. You won’t have to worry about being blacklisted, which could prevent emails from being sent from anyone in your company.
  • Take the load off your email client/server.
  • Track who has opened what, which emails bounced, and who clicked on links in your emails.
  • Setup beautiful templates with your company branding.
  • Easily copy campaigns if you wish to send a similar email again  (a campaign is a mass email).
  • You can segment your lists and send only to specific segments. For example, Patricia could send an email to her reps, customers, or both groups at once.

Examples of email template designs

If you want to take one of these tools for a test drive, Mailchimp offers a free account for up to 2,000 subscribers. You can send up to 12,000 emails a month (for example, if you had 2,000 subscribers, you could send 6 campaigns a month).

Here’s another scenario…

Jack is the president of his local chapter of a CPA Society. His chapter has about 100 active members. They meet once a month and also hold periodic professional development (CPE) training sessions. Jack and the society’s members communicate via a convoluted email thread that everyone “replies-all” to when they want to contribute. When someone wants to send a message on a new topic, he copies the email list over and starts another mass email. Some people who have changed professions or moved away still remain on the list, causing them frustration every time they receive an email, even after they have asked to be removed from the list.

Keeping an accurate list between 100 members is basically impossible. Like Patricia, Jack knows he has to make a change.

What should Jack do?

Use a Google Groups list

With Google Groups, Jack can setup a list that contains all the email addresses of his members. When someone joins or leaves his chapter, he can add or remove them with the click of a button. All the rest of the members need to know is one simple email address: HometownCPASociety@GoogleGroups.com. Whenever anyone on the list sends an email to that address, the email is sent to everyone else on the list. Jack can start new topics and assign other members roles so that they can also add users and start new topic. The members won’t even have to have a Google account to use the Google Groups list (although Jack will need one). Jack can add and remove list subscribers, and subscribers can also remove themselves with the click of a button.

These are just a couple of ways to get more out your email communications. Are there any email tools you use in your business to make communications flow a little easier? Tell us about them in the comments!

2 Comments

  • So, for your next Partners Conference, an ‘intensive’ session on MailChimp and basically all the things it can do would be a great topic!

    • Anne Shenton says:

      That’s an excellent idea, and if you don’t want to wait until later in the year…

      Ryan and I are co-teaching a social media workshop on April 24th from 10 AM – 1 PM at the Hilton Garden Inn here in Valdosta. Since it’s a 3 hour course, we’re going to go into a lot more detail on how to effectively use social media tools (including email!). If you’re interested I will make sure to keep you posted when registration opens. We are partnering with the Home Builders Association of South Georgia and they should have registration open soon.

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