Tools for Email Management

Email ManagementIf you are like me, you send A LOT of emails every week.  It can get difficult to manage follow-up and tracking.  The good news is that over the last few months we have discovered a few tools that make staying on top of email a little easier.

Here is a sample of some of our favorite email management tools.

Signals by Hubspot.  Want to know if the last email that you sent was opened? Signals tracks emails and notifies users that their emails have been read.  It works with Gmail, Outlook and Mac Mail.  This freemium product can integrate with other Hubspot products for more sophisticated tracking, but is a handy tool all by itself.

Boomerang for Gmail. This is a tool for Gmail users that allows you to compose an email and send it at a later time (perfect for those who works crazy hours and on weekends).I really like that it integrates with Google Calendar so I can plan messages that correspond with my schedule. It also has a reminder tool that notifies you to follow-up if you didn’t get a response from an email that you sent. It also has a nifty feature that removes an email from your inbox and makes it appear later – helping you keep focused on the highest priority messages.  This is a free tool (for basic use) and only works with Gmail (business and personal accounts), but it’s a huge tool for effective email management.

Streak This tool has features similar to Boomerang and Signals in that it tracks opens and allows for future sending. It also split Gmail threads (a feature of Gmail that can annoy users).

Evercontact.  This is a fantastic tool for keeping your contact database fresh. This tool works with both web-based email and Outlook  as well as with several CRM systems including Salesforce.  Evercontact looks for contact signatures and automatically updates your contacts.  This eliminates the need for manual entry of contact details for the people whom you correspond with.  It is an intelligent tool that identifies duplicates – keeping your existing contact base clean.  The pricing on this starts at $59/month.

Which inbox management tool is best? The jury is still out.  I have been experimenting with these solutions for several months and find some value in all of them. I am on free versions of all of the tools and that works well for my needs.  It is clear that people are often overwhelmed with the email inboxes and we need better ways to keep our sanity.

What are your favorite email management tools?

 

 

Inspirity: Easy Mobile-Friendly Websites in Minutes.

Mobile Website

Our website after being run through Inspirity.

I have a lot of clients who are waiting for the perfect time to make their websites mobile-friendly. As much as they know that they need to do it, they just aren’t ready to make the change.   To be honest, even the 7DC site didn’t look great on mobile devices until we redesigned our site a few months ago and added a responsive component. The truth is that converting an older website to be mobile-friendly isn’t the easiest tasks.  Many old websites are built on proprietary platforms that are not easy to edit.  Because there is an expense that comes long with website redesign (not to mention the time to decide what you want and to get everyone on board with a new look), many people put off optimizing their website for Smartphones and tablets.

Because of this challenge, I was thrilled to learn about Inspirity.  This is a subscription-based program that converts a website into a mobile site in seconds. For about $10/month, you get a fully-hosted website without any work.  You don’t need to get your programmers involved and you don’t need to change hosting companies.  It’s really simple and I was pretty impressed with the results. Keeping in mind that this is different than a mobile app, you are not creating a downloadable tool.  This is for people who are accessing the internet using a browser such as Chrome or Safari from their smartphone or tablet.  Inspirity creates an abbreviated version of the site that is simple to navigate and has minimal graphics – making it readable on a small screen. Inspirity isn’t a permanent solution as a website design will most likely come with a responsive design. However, for businesses who want to make a quick change, this is a darn good solution.

Do you have  a site that is mobile-UNfriendly?  Why have you waited to make the switch? Are you comfortable with the way it looks for are you anxious for a change.  Let us know where you stand.

Overcoming the Obstacle of Opinions: A look at Claudia Chan’s SHE Summit

This post was written by Stacy Hanas, Marketing Assistant at Seven Degrees Communications.

She SummitIf you can be anything in a world where stereotypes were non-existent, what would you be?  An astronaut?  A firefighter? A hairdresser?  Unfortunately we live in a society that naturally associates a career with a specific gender, social class, and ethnicity.  Former Secret Service Agent, Evy Poumpouras believes that stereotypes and expectations served as fuel to help achieve her dream while Formula 1 Race Car Driver, Simona de Silvestro felt opinions were obstacles, not roadblocks.

On June 5th and 6th many empowering women filled the room at the 92nd Street Y Center at the Claudia Chan SHE Summit.  Although time has past since the event, I still replay moments of inspiration from the conference.  A panel entitled “Where Are The Women?” captivated my attention.  The panel consisted of Maureen Sullivan (President, AOL.com) as the host, and Evy Poumpouras (Former Secret Service Agent), Simona de Silvestro (Race Car Driver, Sauber Formula 1 Team), and Justine Aitel (Head of Cyber Risk, Dow Jones).  All four women had one thing in common; they each excelled in fields that were perceived as male dominant.   The panelists addressed struggles regarding bias in the workplace and how they overcame them.

Evy Poumpouras stated, “As women, we seek approval.  If I waited for the okay from anyone while pursuing my career, I would not be where I am today,” she continued, “my mother always asked me to be like all the other girls.”  Simona de Silvestro laughed in harmony as she recalled her similar challenges as a female racecar driver.  As women and as men, we naturally seek answers from those around us but how unique would that make us if we always listened?  How would we excel in our personal goals if we often listened to others?  How unique would Simona de Silvestro be if she did not become a Formula 1 Racecar Driver because others expressed their concern about her taking risks on the racetrack?

Also, how unique would Evy Poumpouras be if she gave into the low expectations of others that questioned her ability as a female secret agent?  While preparing for her physical exam, Evy discovered a lower requirement for women than for men. Rather than accepting the lower bar, she trained even harder to fulfill the male prerequisites.  Her courage signified strength and a strength that I yearn to have.

Overall, I left the SHE Summit empowered with a newfound urge to make a difference and excel beyond my comfort zone.  I felt compelled to develop my character by following my own personal goals.  I challenge you to do the same; I challenge you to listen to your intuition more and the negative opinions of others less.  

Anticipatory Marketing

Anticipatory MarketingIn my Communications 2064 presentation, I have been talking a lot about what I call, Anticipatory Marketing.  This is the concept, that marketers and product developers have been using to meet the needs of people before they ever know that they have a need. The late, great Steve Jobs once said “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”  That is anticipatory marketing.

Amazon is experimenting with this concept by preparing to ship items to you before your even order it. Yes, that’s right.  The forward-thinking online retailer is gearing up to deliver items yesterday.  For those people who are too impatient to wait the two days for Prime shipping, you can receive package before you knew your wanted them.  According to this Wall Street Journal Article, “Amazon said it may consider previous orders, product searches, wish lists, shopping-cart contents, returns and even how long an Internet user’s cursor hovers over an item.”   

What do you think about this concept?  It certainly worked when the iPhone was developed.  With over 500 million phones sold, people realized quickly they wanted it.   Steve Jobs was right. Of course.

But how does this translate to your business?  How would your customers feel if you performed a service for them that they didn’t request.  Would you expect them to pay for it?  Would they be offended or flattered?

Here are some ways that you adopt an anticipatory model for your company:

Gather customer data through listening. In an age where “big data” is considered hot jargon, take a look at the little data. How well do you know your clients. Do you know how they are performing? Do you know about the strengths and weaknesses in their organizations.  By knowing the challenges that they face, you can begin to develop solutions.

Gather customer data through technology.  Are you tracking where people are going on your website? Do you know what keywords they are searching for?  Do you know what articles get the most reads in your newsletter or on your social media sites? The answers will hint at what is important to people and can help in the development of solutions and responding to their needs.

Brainstorm.  Once a week or once a month, gather your team and talk about your clients.  You can discuss a specific client, a category of clients or your business as a whole.  The difference here is that the conversation is entirely focused on them. Their needs. Their problems. Their successes.  What do THEY need to be better – to do better – to succeed. Once you come up with some ideas, use this to reach out to clients before they call you.  Let me know if they are impressed.

Focus Groups.  A formal setting like a focus group can help you identify issues that might not be clearly articulated. Using the information provided by the group, you can begin problem solving.

You don’t have to be Amazon or Apple to offer help to your clients and prospects before they realize they need it.  Anticipatory marketing is not new.  Yes, technology is making it easier to learn about people, but you need to act on the information and bring creative solutions.

 

 

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

What do you want to be when you grow up?What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a question I often ask to my clients. Sometimes I ask an individuals who is trying to figure out their role in their company. Other times it is helping an organization define who and what they want to be to their clients. I find that the question often evokes an expression that is a combination of fear and inspiration. I’ve heard some great answers too. One client told me that he wanted to be Batman. Another wanted to be a butterfly – I can’t make this stuff up.

As a business or a person in business, it’s important to assess where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow. What does it take to get you there? Is it more training? Is it more targeted messaging? Is it abandoning what you are doing completely and starting over? What tools do you need to become the person and organization that equals success? If you haven’t evaluated this lately, take some time this summer to think about what you want to be when you grow up. How can we help you achieve those goals?

Speaking of growing up….Stacy Hanas wanted to be a marketing and public relations professional when she grew up. We are thrilled to have her as a full-time team member at Seven Degrees Communications. With the addition of Stacy to the team we will be able to help our clients reach a larger audience through public relations, social media and content marketing.

As for being Batman, we believe that anything is possible. Let us know how we can make that a reality for you.

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