Archive for the ‘mass emails’ tag
I recently heard from a TED speaker who was able to quote, verbatim, truly nasty comments people had posted about her talk.
And yet, I’ve never once met an author who said, “Well, my writing wasn’t resonating, but then I read all the 1 star reviews on Amazon, took their criticism to heart and now I’m doing great…”
There are plenty of ways to get useful and constructive feedback. It starts with looking someone in the eye, with having a direct one on one conversation or email correspondence with a customer who cares. Forms, surveys, mass emails, tweets–none of this is going to do anything but depress you, confuse you (hey, half the audience wants one thing, the other half wants the opposite!) or paralyze you.
I’m arguing that it’s a positive habit to deliberately insulate yourself from this feedback. Don’t ask for it and don’t look for it.
Yes, change what you make to enhance delight. No, don’t punish yourself by listening to the mob.
ToutApp, the email productivity app that emerged as part of the 500Startups Summer Accelerator program last year, is rolling out a new feature that will let users track their emails right from within Salesforce. With the update, ToutApp customers will be able to see who viewed their emails, when they were viewed, where they were viewed, what the recipient clicked on, and how long they read the email.
Creepy? OK, maybe. But for serious CRM users, it’s kind of great, too.
If you haven’t heard of ToutApp before, a little background: the startup is attempting to address one of the most woefully overlooked pain points nearly everyone deals with today: email overload. To help speed up the process of creating and responding to email, the company launched its service last year which helps users create personalized email templates (aka “canned responses”). After installation, the app digs into your email to identify the types of mass emails you send to help you build these templates.
After your templated emails are sent, you can track nearly everything that takes place with them in the recipient’s inbox: it’s the who, what, when, where and how long of email viewing. It then presents this in a live-updating feed within your preferred email client. While privacy advocates my find this a shocking invasion, I disagree. Privacy, shmivacy. There are real-world benefits to this sort of tracking across multiple industries.
In my (fantasy) world, here’s how ToutApp could improve my life dramatically: a PR person sends a pitch. I open it. Read it. Click the link. Close the link. Then return to reading more email. When the PR person doesn’t hear back, instead of sending out one of those “just circling back” emails to determine interest, they already know I read the email and followed through by viewing the URL it included. If they still had to follow up, the response wouldn’t be a time-wasting “hey, did you read my email?” email, but a more productive follow-on pitch containing different angles or information the first one had neglected to include.
Of course, that’s just one example. As a entrepreneur, you could template different pitches to journalists and investors, and then see if they were read. Salesforce users could craft templates for client emails that help them close deals. And so on.
ToutApp is designed to integrate with Gmail, CRM systems like Highrise, Batchbook, and Capsule, and has been working to support Salesforce. However, until this latest update, the Salesforce integration was limited. The startup was doing some sporadic testing, but nothing was available to the public.
But now, Salesforce users will be able to see real-time updates on when and where emails were read, what was clicked and other analytics data related to email tracking directly from within Salesforce. Templating, automatic file attachments, and performance reports are also included.
In addition, for Gmail and iOS ToutApp users, there are a few other changes rolling out today, too, including a new Email Activity Feed for real-time tracking of emails, an improved interface for ToutApp’s Gmail integration and an updated iOS app that allows you to edit templates, send messages while on the go, and view email analytics on mobile.
ToutApp was founded in 2010 by Tawheed Kader, and closed a seed round of $350,000 last summer from 500 Startups, Esther Dyson, Eric Ries, Daniel Eskapa, NYC Seed Fund, Joshua Baer, and others.
Pricing for the service is based on the size of your team, ranging from a $12/month pack allowing you to send 25 emails a day, make three Tout groups and use 10 email templates, all the way to $199/month, offering support for unlimited groups and shared templates, team-wide analytics tracking, and support for up to 25 team members. More info is available on the ToutApp website here.
Pitching to the press is no easy task. Every day, journalists receive thousands of emails from public relations professionals who are pitching their clients’ ideas; sometimes hundreds of mass pitches are sent to unsuspecting journalists from just one person in a given day. With such a high quantity of pitches, it is really easy to make a mistake, but it’s a shame when those mistakes could’ve easily been avoided with just a little awareness.
Take a look at the 7 biggest mistakes, and unfortunately some of the most common ones, that PR and marketing professionals make when pitching their stories to journalists. And next time you’re pitching your story, make sure you don’t fall victim to these public relations faux pas so you can increase your instances of PR success.
1. Forgetting to Follow Up
There is a fine line between calling and emailing a reporter non-stop until they answer you, and leaving a friendly voicemail reminding them about your pitch or sending over a short email following up. Reporters get so much email, that it is easy to lose track of a pitch, even if it’s one they’re interested in writing about. Give them a day or two to think about the email, and then make your contact. But most importantly, keep track of who you follow up with so you do not contact those who have already said “no.”
2. Pitching at the Wrong Time
On a Friday afternoon, your email will not only get lost in the other mass emails from the week, but journalists will also not want to talk to you. It is almost the weekend, and many people will already be out of the office. It is also important to figure out what times the reporters are on deadline because they will not be interested in hearing new pitches; they’ll be busy finishing up some of their other stories. Timing is EVERYTHING.
3. Depending Solely on Press Releases
Press releases used to be the best way to get out messages about new developments. But in a world dominated by social media and short messages, press releases are not always the most successful way to announce something new. Press releases are still useful, but they should not be the only tool used. Combining press releases with email pitches that have bullet points of the main information in the press release can be the perfect combination to get the press you are looking for. It gives your media contacts the wherewithal to disseminate your information in other ways that may be even more beneficial for you.
4. Not Conducting Research About a Reporter
When you are pitching a reporter, make sure you are knowledgeable about his or her past articles. Research what topics he or she likes to write about and whether or not the reporter has written about competitors. Also conduct research on the news source that reporter works for to see what type of topics they have written about in the past. Having this context will make the pitch much stronger and make your conversation with reporters more relevant, increasing your likelihood of coverage.
5. Not Doing Background Research On YOUR Industry
It is important to know a lot of information about your own industry, competitors, and other press in these areas. Before you get on the phone with a reporter, know all of this information like the back of your hand so your answers aren’t generic, but rather speak to the meaty topics in your industry. Competitive and industry knowledge will let you, and thus the reporter, position you correctly in their coverage.
6. Making Careless Mistakes
With the large quantity of pitches public relations professionals send out every day, it is all too easy to make a careless mistake. Unfortunately, that usually guarantees your email goes right in the trash or your voicemail is deleted. In addition to proofing for grammatical errors, make sure you’re not misspelling a reporter’s name in a pitch, using the wrong news source, or point blank including incorrect information to ensure you’re taken seriously.
7. Not Personalizing Your Pitch
No one wants to be on the receiving end of mass communication. Every pitch should make the reporter feel like he or she is special and that you put a lot of thought into a pitch that was appropriate for just one reporter. Whether that means referencing past articles that the reporter has written or connecting with them via Twitter or other social media networks, it is a necessary step to get their attention.
What egregious mistakes have you seen public relations professionals make when pitching to reporters?
Photo Credit: Valerie Everett
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I’ve been meaning to write about this for awhile now, but I’ve been a bit under the weather and, well, email is not a subject I always enjoy — in discussion or in practice. Yes, as many have written before, we have a love-hate relationship with email, which has been shown in even starker relief with the redesign of Gmail.
Put simply, ToutApp integrates with Gmail and scans your inbox to parse through emails to identify the most commonly-sent mass emails, then creates a dynamic template for that email chain, allowing users to autofill recipients, auto-CC, attach files, etc. ToutApp also lets your outbound emails be tracked both for views and clickthroughs, so that you know when the recipient of the email has opened it and is planning a response.
It may sound invasive to some, but it’s a great tool, and you have to respect Tout Founder TK Kader’s perspective on email and entrepreneurship. Those put off by this scanning may balk at Tout’s year-end offer, but for those who receive a lot of email, I highly recommend it.
ToutApp has been offering something called “Your 2011 Emails In Review” that gives you a thorough look at everything from how many emails you received versus how many you sent, to what time of day you spend most time in your email, to the top recipients of your emails. More than 10,000 people have jumped on the bandwagon, which shows that this has already been a big success, publicity-wise for Tout.
Yes, you have to give Tout access to your email inbox, and as I said, some may balk at this. But if you’re willing, in less than 72 hours, Tout can give you a fairly complete set of analytics on your email habits. Catching a glimpse into your email activity can give you a better shot at productivity, efficiency, and, perhaps, a peace of mind. Perhaps not the latter, but at least your email will get a thorough vetting.
It’s nice to know what time of day I’m at my busiest, what day of the week, what buzzwords appear most in my email chains, and who is the unfortunate soul who receives most of my email communications. (Your mom!) This can help improve working relationships, your relationship with your inbox, and perhaps even with yourself.
I saw nearly 70,000 emails in 2011, and that doesn’t include my personal email. All in all, at over 100,000 emails, I saw how much people respond to the emails I wrote, and had the time for a bit of personal reflection on how best to optimize this percentage, along with how frequently I’m responding.
Unfortunately, Tout’s Year In Review is only for Gmail and Google Apps users, but it’s worth a look for those Googlers out there, and it’s a great complement to ToutApp’s freemium CRM email service (and $1 iPhone app). Check it out, and let the emailing begin — with improvements for 2012.
Want to send a bunch of emails personalized to each recipient? Sending mass emails is easy using Microsoft Word’s mail merge, less so with Gmail. This Google Docs template, however, brings email merging to Gmail. More »