Microsoft’s Email Insights finally adds some useful search smarts to Outlook

email insights search

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Credit: Microsoft

Email Insights, a new experimental app from the Microsoft Garage, is the answer to a problem Google’s Gmail solved more than a decade ago: how to search Outlook and find exactly what you want.

Google’s Gmail gained enormous traction in part because it allowed a quick, convenient way to search emails. Today, you can search Outlook, but it arranges the results in order with no real preference given to what might be most relevant.

Email Insights works with both your Microsoft Outlook desktop application as well as Gmail, and attempts to bring the three most relevant results to the top of your inbox via an “intent pane.” The tool also provides contextual autocomplete, spelling correction and a fuzzy name search that will pull up the name of a contact, even if you’re not entirely sure how to spell it.

email insights intent pane

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Microsoft

The “intent pane” within Email Insights brings up relevant search results to the top of your inbox.

Users can open tabs within Email Insights to perform multiple searches. The search box can also be used to fire off a quick, one-line email to a contact, or even set up a quick meeting—functions that are becoming more common in the notifications window within smartphones.

If you’d like, you can even “detach” the Email Insights toolbar from Outlook itself and drag it down to your taskbar, Microsoft said.

Why this matters: Let’s face it: Gmail is still easier to use than Outlook, at least where everyday email searches are concerned. If Email Insights proves as useful as it sounds, maybe Outlook will incorporate it into a future release. The problem, though, is that this app is being published via Microsoft Garage, Microsoft’s online home for app experiments. If you like Email Insights, encourage others to download it, too. Otherwise, Microsoft could kill it, as it recently did with Cache, its erstwhile Google Keep killer.

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[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Control Your Email Inbox: Stop Email Notifications From Twitter, Facebook

control emailSocial media is one of the greatest inventions of the modern world. It allows us to connect with people we lost touch with, keep up with the daily lives of people we care about but don’t see often in real life, and share content that can be truly rewarding. Not to mention the ability to find others from around the globe to chat with. Whereas before, it was a difficult prospect.

Yes, social networking in particular has managed to open up our lives to the wider world in a way we never would have thought possible before the creation of the miracle known as the Internet. But it has also created a whole list of minor irritations and distractions that can build up and make life a little more stressful.

For me, the most irritating of these minor annoyances is social media notifications. Emails flooding my inbox about every little comment or activity on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is a hassle. With more social networks becoming a part of life, they can now also come from Pinterest, YouTube, StumbleUpon and a dozen other sites you just don’t need to be constantly updated on.

Here’s how I handle the email craziness:

  • Use social media inboxes to get notified of social media interactions in a user-friendly, non-intrusive way (here are two tools to get productive).
  • Stop certain types of social media updates to my main inbox. All I am usually interested in learning quickly is a DM or a private message. All other types of social media updates have to go. Otherwise, I’ll have no time for work.

However, it took me ages to realize that I could stop this. All it takes is a few alterations to your settings and you are free. Or just get one of the programs made to make it even easier.

Using Settings

All social media sites have an area of your settings, sometimes in your account settings, that lets you specify what you would like to be notified of.

Facebook

In Facebook, just simply go to Account Settings through the little gear in the top right hand corner of any Facebook page. On the left hand side will be a bar with options. Select Notifications > Email. You can choose to get all notifications except those specifically unsubscribed from, important notifications about you or activity or only notifications about problems with your account, security or privacy.

You can also select what text message notifications you get (if you are subscribed to mobile use). This includes comments on your profile, friend requests/confirmations and everything else. You may also set the times you get notifications if you don’t want them at certain hours of the night or morning.

Twitter

Twitter isn’t quite so customizable, but you can still specify what you want. Just go to your account, hit the gear button on the top header, then select Settings > Email Notifications. You can choose when you get an email and who it applies to on your list. You can also choose to get an email digest weekly, daily, etc.

Using Gmail Filter

Whether you want to avoid or better organize older social media updates that get archived in your inbox (to stop them from interfering with your inbox search) or to stop the clutter from the future ones, this Gmail search command will come in handy:

  • Search: [from:noreply* OR from:do-not-reply* OR from:donotreply* OR from:notification*] This filters out most automated updates.

You can now set up a filter to send these emails to a separate folder, bypassing your inbox. Now just create a calendar reminder to check that folder once a day or a couple of times a week, depending on your workload.

control email

Using Tools

Notify Me Not

control email

If you want more thorough directions for changing your settings, or you want them for a different site than those above, you might want to check out Notify Me Not. They cover all the social networks, including those that are only social in a secondary way like Amazon.

Easy to follow, helpful and with a complete guide on the subject, it is the number one authority on banishing annoying emails to Hell, where they belong.

Unroll Me

control email

Not only does this program allow you to get rid of unwanted emails, but it also rolls everything into a very simple, highly organized inbox for you. That means all of your emails are better formatted for easy sifting, reading and storage. Plus, it works for both Yahoo and Gmail, which means it isn’t compatible with other clients. But come on, who uses them anymore?

Know of any good programs or tips for stopping annoying social network notifications?

Image source: sps

More in: Facebook

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Vocus.io Chrome Extension Aims to Boost Email Productivity

Vocus.io Chrome Email Extension Aims to Boost Email Productivity

Usefulness
Functionality
Price

Summary


Vocus.io is a Chrome extension that will help you to accurately track email opens and link clicks, find any person’s email from their name, automate “gentle reminder” followups and more.

Want to keep better track of your email? Vocus.io, is a Google Chrome browser extension that founder Ahmad AlNaimi says will “dramatically improve your productivity on Gmail”  — and more.

How It Works

Adding the extension to Google Chrome is pretty straight forward. Just go to the Vocus.io website and click the get started tab. The extension will immediately ask your permission to integrate with your Gmail account. You will also receive an email confirming your request.

Vocus.io Chrome Email Extension Aims to Boost Email Productivity

You will also be prompted to add the extension to Google Chrome. Here’s how it appears when integrated.

Vocus.io Chrome Email Extension Aims to Boost Email Productivity

Now you are ready to start using the feature as you please.

Features

The Chrome extension carries with it the ability to: accurately track emails, find any person’s email from their name, integrate with Salesforce and other CRMs, launch multi-stage mail merge campaigns, schedule emails, and more.

Accurate Email Tracking

Vocus.io helps you to take the guess work out of email tracking. The extension is able to tell you not just who, but also when, where, and how your email was opened. Classic email trackers will just send you a notification that someone opened your email and that’s just about it. Vocus.io, however, goes on to tell you who that someone is, the gadget they were using and the exact time they opened the email.

Automation of Followups

Another important feature that any business will find useful is the ability to automate followups. We all know that followup emails certainly double the chance of getting a response, but many times, the day-to-day business activities hinder effective followup of emails. Vocus.io, however, allows you to create what they call “a sequence of gentle reminders” to your recipients. This instantly doubles the response rate.

Smart Planner

The Chrome extension also offers you a chance to smartly organize meetings. Instead of engaging in the daunting back and forth emailing when planning a meeting, Vocus.io allows to you share your availability and poll the invitees in a single email. The poll content automatically changes to show responses from your team members.

Ability to Write Now, Send Later

The extension also allows you to schedule your email to be sent at the most appropriate time that your recipient is most likely to see and respond to it. You can therefore write an email on a weekend or late on Sunday night and schedule it to be sent at 9 a.m. in the morning.

Besides, you can also use the extension to run a multi-stage business campaign with attachments. All you have to do is to create a new campaign from Dashboard > Mail Merge and upload a CSV file. The CSV file must have a column with emails. You can as well have any number of columns that will be available as variables in your subject line or message body. You can then schedule the emails to be sent at a certain time.

Pricing

The company offers a 30-day free trial of their extension and if satisfied with its performance then you can opt for the Starter pack that costs $4.99 per month or the Professional pack that has a limited offer of $7.99.

Conclusion

Vocus.io is truly an effective email management tool that will dramatically increase your productivity. The downside is that it is only works with Gmail for now, but in an email to the Small Business Trends, Ahmad says that they will soon be bringing support for Outlook.

Image: Vocus

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Happy Grasshopper Delivers Customized Email Followup

Happy Grasshopper Delivers Customized Email Followup

Usefulness
Functionality
Price

Summary


From instant automated responses to long-term keep-in-touch campaigns, Happy Grasshopper is an automated email marketing service that helps businesses convert more leads and generate more referrals easily.

Happy Grasshopper is an automated email marketing service that provides businesses and entrepreneurs with a way to automatically stay in touch with their contacts.

How? The company has a team of creative writers and an automated system. The writers create short, memorable emails that guarantee a response. You simply choose a new message every three weeks.

A Look at Happy Grasshopper

Custom Written Content

It is true that people only do business with those they know and trust. Happy Grasshopper therefore bridges this gap by offering your customers with emails optimized for response. All emails relate to your unique business needs and approach.

Database Automation

Besides offering you customized emails, Happy Grasshopper also gathers, organizes and cleans existing contacts so you are sure your emails are going to the right people. The platform also automates the capturing of new contacts.

The Fortune is in Follow-ups

Email follow-up is one of the highest ROI-producing tool and yet not so many business invest in it. That’s really a shame considering most businesses rely on their list of contacts for repeat business. Efficient and effective follow-up of inquiries and interested customers might definitely see you increase your sales.

Happy Grasshopper bridges this gap by providing fun follow-up emails that will keep your customers happy and thinking about your business every so often.

More so, as much as they send out fun and friendly emails, Happy Grasshopper also maintains a high-level of professionalism so you never have to worry about losing credibility due to a badly crafted email.

And while it is really difficult to foretell which of your customers is ready to buy, Happy Grasshopper makes it a little easier by sending monthly keep-in-touch messages that are designed for response.

Leads Conversion

Besides sending out emails, Happy Grasshopper also makes follow-up calls on your behalf. “It’s not about the click, it’s about the call’” says the company on its website. To be able to convert leads you need instant response, nurturing and strong positioning.

Pricing

Happy Grasshopper offers a variety of pricing plans. Are you running a small business and want to just try it out? Well, you need to try the Starter pack that goes for $59 per month and includes both Blast and Keep-in-Touch functionalities. If you seek much more features then you should choose either the Team pack that goes for $1,895 or $199 per month, the Pro pack that goes for $1,495 and $99 per month or the Elite pack going for $5,000 plus.

Conclusion

Many businesses miss out on business either due to high unsubscribe rates where people get tired of boring emails or because of lack of follow-up. Happy Grasshopper closes that gap and takes on the task giving you the time to concentrate on other aspects of your business.

Image: Happy Grasshopper

[“source-smallbiztrends”]