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Fourth book in the “Small Biz Success Tips” series


4 Things You MUST Know About Email

Small Biz Success Tips vol. 1, number 4

2 http://communit.us/helpdesk | cgreen@communit.us | 646-727-0212


4 Things You MUST Know About Email

Small Biz Success Tips vol. 1, number 4

4 Things You MUST Know About Email Cornell D. Green

Free Edition from communit.us/helpdesk  Copyright 2010 Cornell D. Green Published by the author.

3 http://communit.us/helpdesk | cgreen@communit.us | 646-727-0212


4 Things You MUST Know About Email

Small Biz Success Tips vol. 1, number 4

4 http://communit.us/helpdesk | cgreen@communit.us | 646-727-0212


4 Things You MUST Know About Email

Small Biz Success Tips vol. 1, number 4

4 Things You MUST Know about Email

CommunIT's Small Biz Success Tips - volume 1, number 4 Finally, we arrive at the fourth book in the “Small Biz Success Tips” series. Email. By now, everyone has at least one email account – most of us have several. A work email, (at least one) personal email (usually free and web-based), an email from our Internet Service Provider (which we rarely use) among others. Considering the other topics in this series, you might ask “Email? You send email, you read email, you reply to email – what else is there to know?” Well, as the title implies, at least four things…

Email is probably the most valuable hidden resource at your command. The purpose of this eBook is not to recommend a particular email site or client, but to cover four basic concepts to help you get the most out of your existing email accounts: 1. 2. 3. 4.

You must avoid INBOX Overload Email contains untapped marketing power Web-based email is a strategic business asset Email can be a low-cost document repository

5 http://communit.us/helpdesk | cgreen@communit.us | 646-727-0212


4 Things You MUST Know About Email

Small Biz Success Tips vol. 1, number 4

Avoid INBOX Overload: Emails from colleagues and co-workers. Messages from family & friends. Newsletters & jokes. Sales pitches & SPAM. Have you ever missed a message because it got lost in the flood of a single day’s incoming messages? Is finding an email message older than a month or so a tough task? Are you bombarded by all the friendly reminders, newsletters and updates from websites you gave your email address to in order to download or access some useful bit of information? If so, then you’re suffering from INBOX Overload. The very qualities that make email so immediately useful – it’s fast, and it’s FREE – make it possible for even a casual email user to be flooded by so much email that managing it has become a task in itself As overwhelming as it may seem, there are a few simple tips for taming the wild(ly) overloaded INBOX: •

Use filters – Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird and others provide the ability to create folders (or labels) and associated rules to route your email by whatever criteria allows you to sort & prioritize. After that, it’s just basic time management principles…

Use multiple accounts – Gmail & Yahoo Mail are free. Each Gmail INBOX is 7.5GB; Yahoo INBOXes are unlimited! Create “throw-away” accounts for website subscriptions, “placeholder” accounts for e-commerce and online bill payment, etc. Leave your primary account for messages from real human beings, and high-priority, “must see” messages.

Use Search – has the Internet taught us nothing? Stop scrolling through a bazillion messages, looking for that one critical email from... who knows who, or when? Just search for it, the same way you find a website. If you can remember who sent it, or when, or the “Subject” line, or even key words or phrases within the message, Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Thunderbird and others all have excellent Search capabilities. Use technology to your advantage – that’s why it’s there…

Clear your INBOX – okay, this might be getting a little GTD, but a (possibly) useful practice might be to move emails you’ve read and responded to OUT OF YOUR INBOX, and into one of those folders (or filters) mentioned above. This way, email is only IN you INBOX if you haven’t processed it yet. Of course, this would mean you have to be pretty diligent in regularly processing your INBOX this way otherwise, well… INBOX Overload, all over again… 6 http://communit.us/helpdesk | cgreen@communit.us | 646-727-0212


4 Things You MUST Know About Email

Small Biz Success Tips vol. 1, number 4

Harness Email’s untapped marketing power: Using FREE email campaign sites such as MailChimp or Constant Contact, you can turn your existing email addressbook into a profitable source of potential clients and customers. These are people who you have sent an email to, or received email from. They know you. They know you are not a SPAMmer. The key to turning email contacts into clients and customers is – don’t BECOME a SPAMmer. If you’ve looked into using email as a marketing tool, you’ve probably been warned that you have to have an “opt-in” policy. This is true – for soliciting complete and total strangers. Though some email marketing professionals may disagree with me, my advice is that as long as you have a clear and simple “unsubscribe” link, you need not worry about such things for your existing mailing list. If you market to your mailing list properly, you won’t give them any reason to unsubscribe. That’s what I mean about becoming a SPAMmer. It’s a matter of common sense, and common courtesy, to prevent being seen as a SPAMmer by the folks on your email marketing list: • •

• •

Select wisely: not EVERYONE in your addressbook is a potential client or customer. Filter out those who obviously aren’t ever going to respond to your offering Segment intelligently: all those who ARE potential clients or customers are not the same. Don’t address personal friends the same way you do casual business contacts. At least, not all the time. Nothing beats a personalized approach, if not an actual personal note. Exercise self-control: Yes, email is fast, and free. That’s no excuse to load up an auto-responder and bombard your list with an email a day. Use some common sense – even your closest friends don’t expect to hear from you EVERY DAY… Focus on the “value add”: There better be something in your emails other than a pitch; “Buy now” gets old before the third mailing. A free download, a helpful hint, some demonstration of your specific expertise that is immediately useful is better than a simple appeal for their money. And it makes the pitches easier to take Speak to them, don’t talk at them: This is a list of people you already know. Don’t suddenly become aloof and impersonal just because you’re trying to do business with them. Use the personal to your advantage. Segment your list as specifically as possible without getting ridiculous. This way, you can still “personalize” your approach without actually writing hundreds of individual emails each mailing.

Following established email marketing best practices can help you turn those hundreds of names into real business opportunities, for the simple investment of a little time, thought and effort. 7 http://communit.us/helpdesk | cgreen@communit.us | 646-727-0212


4 Things You MUST Know About Email

Small Biz Success Tips vol. 1, number 4

Web-based email as strategic business asset: Years ago, the “wisdom on the street” was to avoid using web-based email accounts, such as Gmail or Yahoo Mail. The objections were: • • • •

Free = cheap These accounts will be viewed as transitory and/or untrustworthy Emails MUST BE BRANDED with your company domain name The email infrastructure must be either hosted on premises, or by a paid contracted third-party

Well, that was years ago. Nowadays the most reputable and prestigious individuals have @gmail.com, @yahoo.com or @ymail.com email addresses. They understand, as you should, the powerful business advantages of FREE, web-based email accounts: • •

Cost-benefits: they’re FREE! You get instant, global communication, without paying a dime. Capacity: if you’re still paying for Your Small Business INBOX, you’re no doubt paying by the megabyte. Gmail’s FREE INBOXes are over 7.5 GIGABYTES in size; Yahoo Mail offeres an UNLIMITED INBOX. Capability: use the desktop email client of preference, or handle your email on the fly. All major smartphone platforms operate seamlessly with all of the “freemail” platforms – Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail (Windows Live) – often enabling you to manage your email more efficiently than on your desktop Connectivity: with web-based email accounts, you can access your email from any Internet capable device, without exposing Your Small Business network to the perils of hackers, bots and identity thieves. Visiting a friend or on a third-party’s computer; at an Internet kiosk in an airport terminal; even on a not-so-smart phone, with web-browsing ability. All for FREE, with no software required other than a web browser.

Especially in this current economy, FREE is the new black. FREE1 with actual business value is practically like free money… ok, not really, but it is a distinct advantage. You still have to exploit the power of the web, but don’t say I didn’t tell you…

1

I think there may be a “4 Things You MUST Know About FREE” eBook in the works… what do you think?

8

http://communit.us/helpdesk | cgreen@communit.us | 646-727-0212


4 Things You MUST Know About Email

Small Biz Success Tips vol. 1, number 4

Email – low-cost document repository: Tired of wasting an entire CD (or DVD [!]) just to transport a few word processor documents, or a handful of images. Is it hard to find the right file, or the right version of a file, among a pile of unsorted (and often unlabeled) CDs or USB thumb drives? Well, why not take advantage of all those freemail accounts, and use them as an online data storage plan. Think about it – consider all the things email naturally does with your data, that saves you hours of manual effort: • •

Sets the date: if you get into the habit of email documents to yourself, your business partners and/or clients, you not only have an online copy as an attachment in you “Sent” folder… you have a record of when it was sent, fixing the document in time. Categorizes: by recipient (the “To:” column, if you sent it); by sender (the “From:”); by topic (the “Subject:”); by team (the “Cc:”) – all this, with basic email functions. Imagine if you applied some actual system or structure… that “filters and folders” stuff starting to make a bit more sense now? Archives: as long as the files are on Google’s or Yahoo’s massive, multiple, distributed, fail-proof hard drives… do they really need to take up space on your laptop (which you last backed up… when??)

Many of the most cost-effective solutions derive from repurposing tools and resources you already have. The common theme of these first four “4 Things You MUST Know” eBooks, is “make computers help YOU MAKE MONEY”. Technology is much more than replace and repair. When you discover all the ways you can leverage your existing technology investment, you’ll gain an advantage (nearly) as huge as if you found an angel investor for Your Small Business. And you’ll understand why the final word in our company name is not “Technology”, or “Service”, or “Support”… but “Solutions”.

21st Century CommunIT Solutions partners with you to keep your technology working, so your technology can get to work! We work with solo entrepreneurs and Small Businesses to get the greatest business value out of the computers and technology they already own. Call us today at 646-727-0212 for a free telephone consultation. Or click here to visit our website contact form. Start Success TODAY! 9 http://communit.us/helpdesk | cgreen@communit.us | 646-727-0212

4 Things You MUST Know About Email  

Fourth book in the "Small Biz Success Tips" series. This eBook covers four essential things everyone must know about a topic they may think...

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