Blogs - Archive

Top tips from Mesmo Consultancy (and Associates) on how to save time and improve business and personal performance by ‘Taking Control of your Inbox’ and using proper business email etiquette.

Why include a video link in an email? Guest Blog by Alan Coote of 5Digital

Wednesday September 4th, 2013, 5:26 pm

Alan Coote

Alan Coote CEO 5Digital

What is email best practice for including video within your campaign can increase click through rates by 300%. If you want to correspond with a company’s senior executives, you had better include a video link as 60% of them prefer receiving video to text. Yet click through only generates traffic. In order to be successful you really need to convert this into sales. That means generating compelling content. Whilst I could write a book on the subject, let’s break it down into three steps which also make for good email etiquette.

Step 1: Know your audience

In broadcast media it’s standard practice to have a profile of a typical viewer or listener. We give them a name, we know how old they are, where they live, how many kids they have, what car they drive, the newspaper they read and what other programmes they are watching.This is your starting point; it steers the whole production in a single, clear direction informing not only how the video looks and sounds, but also how it’s filmed, edited and presented.

You may think being too specific could lose you business – it won’t. The more specific you are, the greater the clarity of your production.

Step 2: Know what outcome you want

It doesn’t take long in business to realise that nearly every marketing message your company puts out must have a clearly defined objective. If the aim is to make a sale then everything you do should point the viewer in that direction. If it’s to raise awareness you’ll need a mechanism for measuring that too.

Step 3: Know how you are going to get a response from your video

Now we have to determine how we’re going to achieve the final step – the all-important conversion. This is where a significant number of people are lost. Imagine promoting a holiday destination with an enticing video of the hotel. The pool looks inviting and there are lots of happy people saying what a great time they’ve had. The video ends on a call to action to visit the website to book. That’s another hoop, more typing and more effort. To increase conversions include directions in the video to a simple tracking link included in the email. Autoresponders such as Aweber and GetResponse allow you to manage the success of your campaign.

Even with a compelling video, the maxims of email marketing still hold true – a captivating subject header, personalisation, call to action and click through tracking. To find out more on video statistics, watch this:

http://vimeo.com/59225582

Alan Coote’s career spans 35 Years in Creative and Digital Media including the BBC, BAE Systems and numerous Independent broadcasters. He is the CEO of 5 Digital and broadcasts weekly on the national business radio programme Let’s Talk Business. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlanCoote

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To check or not to check ….email on holiday…that IS the question

Friday August 16th, 2013, 2:27 pm

Will you or won’t you?  Should you or shouldn’t you … check your emails while you are on leave?  These questions remain hot topics judging by recent press coverage.  Some feel their bosses and today’s 24/7 way of working means it is required of you as a professional.  Others say you can’t really switch off properly and get the benefits of your break if you are constantly on line.

Many of you will be just about to go away or just coming back.  So I thought you might like to take a look at the coverage and be reminded of some useful things you can do to minimise email intruding on your vacation and making your return a misery.

Lucy Kellaway in the Financial Times, not surprisingly, dislikes those Out of Office messages saying you are on leave and feels that staying connected is the right image for those who want to survive in today’s full on business world.

Email stress free vacation

Email stress free vacation

My view? – well I believe in disconnecting if possible but being realistic.  I would say restrict yourself to logging on once a day but don’t let yourself get dragged back into work detail.

Delegate responsibilities and do some work to cut your inbox before you go as summarised in an article by Darren Slade business editor of the Daily Echo.

With respect to Out of Office message, I agree with Lucy about banal ones.  However, setting a professional Out of Office message can help manage sender’s expectations and reduce cyber crime risks.

Whether or not you disconnect or stay connected you will undoubtedly return to a bulging inbox and Timothy Stenovec on Huffington.Com provides five very useful top tips to take back control of your inbox.

  1. Ruthlessly unsubscribe
  2. Send fewer emails
  3. Empty your inbox!
  4. Eliminate distractions
  5. Own your inbox (Don’t let it own you)

Click here for the full article by Tim Stenovec.

For more tips and hints on how to deal with email both on leave and on your return see my recent blog on email security over the vacation and the seven step plan for dealing with the vacation back log.

But this is not just about individuals making the decision to log on or not during the holiday season.  Companies need to give clear guidlines about what they expect.  Just as you should provide guidelines on what is acceptable email etiquette/style for your business, you should also include what is expected from employees on leave and especially in relation to their Out of Office message.

This is an area where we can and would be delighted to provide advice and guidance on email best practice to ensure you and your most valuable asset (your employees) have stress and email free vacations and minimise the cyber crime risks associated with Out of Office messages.

Have a great holiday.

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Entrepreneurs urged to take control of their inboxes guest post by Adriana Sopi

Tuesday August 6th, 2013, 9:40 pm

Email overload is a problem for businesses of all sizes across the world.  A client of mine recently upgraded his email server. While going through their requirements, an IT consultant understood that no email server was going to help them if they had no knowledge on managing their email inbox properly. Poor email management is the biggest distraction for most small businesses. So, what is the reason that made him so disappointed? The executives had no filters, no folders and more than 44,000 emails in their inbox.

Email overload

Email overload

Email is one of the most ideal communication platforms in the business world. It is important for entrepreneurs to take control of their inboxes. So, don’t waste one more day running a component of your organization improperly. Here are five suggestions for arranging your inbox and boosting up your overall productivity and reducing email overload.

1.  Separate Personal From Business Emails

Just like you have different accounts for personal and business finances, you must also have different email ids for every account. Family email chains during a winter reunion may really clog up the inbox. If you haven’t separated them initially, then create a new personal email id today and send a mail from your business account asking your family and friends to send all personal mails to your new email id.

2. Set Time Aside For Finding A Solution

Email is usually used every day. If there is a problem with it, you shouldn’t delay. Dedicate the time, which is needed for finding an apt solution.

3. Set Up An Email Policy For The Company

If the email system of your company needs overhauling, invite chief decision makers for a consultation to weigh in on the setup. Also, talk about your expectations regarding separating business and personal emails and response times to customers.

4. Create A Backup Plan

Did you ever think what you would do if your business mail server stopped functioning for an extended period? How are you going to interact with your vendors, customers and salesperson? Never wait for this scenario to occur. Make preparations beforehand. Copy your contacts list and put them on a different email provider’s system as a backup.

5. Create Folders

If you want to keep your inbox at zero and manage your inbox effectively, you need to make sure you have a place for putting emails that you can use for future refence. For example, I have created eight folders for corraling my emails. The folders are unsubscribe, reading, business development, today, this week, clients, office and miscellaneous.

Are you the one who struggles with managing inbox content? Then, do something about it. You can follow all the suggestions that I have mentioned above and you will see measurable improvements in efficiency, productivity and time management. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

For more help contact Mesmo Consultancy and ask them to run one of their Brilliant Email workshops (as either a webinar or traditional class room based workshop).  Too busy for either and wanting a personalised serviced.  Ask them about their on-t0-one coaching.

Adriana Sopi is a freelance tech journalist based in the USA.  For more information she recommends www.8acertification.net.

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Email security over the vacation period

Monday July 29th, 2013, 8:41 pm

Email cyber crime attacks effect one in two UK citizens and on average £247 is stolen from bank accounts per successful attack.  Moreover, the Government’s Intelligence Services estimate that UK businesses are subjected to roughly 1,000 cyber attacks every hour.  Email is often the low hanging fruit for the cyber criminal, rather like leaving the car keys near the front door so that the criminal can fish them out.  How well do you and your business manage email security?  When was the last time you updated your email best practice policy and provided any email management training?

There are two types of email security breaches, those we cause by carelessly leaking confidential information and those where others attack us.  This blog deals with the former.  Common cause of leaking confidential information by email (and not just during vacation time) are through:

  • forwarding information to others who should not see it;

    Cyber crime

    Email security

  • sloppy Out of Office messages;
  • sending the email to the wrong recipient;
  • delegating access to another person but not properly briefing them on how to handle our inbox.

Here are five top tips to help you manage the risk of a breach of email security and hence open the back door to a cyber crime attack especially during the vacation period.

  1. Set a simple and safe Out of Office message – click here for for more help.
  2. When giving access to someone else leave adequate time to brief them on what to expect that needs handling and how to manage the rest.
  3. If you are expecting confidential information aks the sender to put ‘confidential’ in the subject and set up a rule to send it to a separate folder.
  4. Avoid sending work emails to a social/home email account.
  5. Always re-read emails you are forwarding on to check the whole chain for any information which the new recipient should not see.

If possible try to take an email free vacation.  We all need down time.  Dealing with sensitive emails over the holiday in a relaxed state of mind is often when breaches of security happen as we are at our most vulnerable.  If you feel you cannot swich off it might be because you are suffering from email addiction.  Click here to check if you are suffering email addiction.

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Ten top tips to minimise your email traffic – guest blog from Alistair Kane

Monday July 22nd, 2013, 9:52 pm

Six trillion business e-mails were sent in 2006 according to David Ferris, senior analyst of Ferris Research. Although some have predicted its death, email as the default mode of communication has only continued to increase. The two main causes of email overload are the volume of email traffic and lack of effective management. This turns a supposedly quick and convenient means of communication into something time-consuming, distracting, frustrating and ultimately counterproductive.  The stress of dealing with this kind of information, hitting us from all directions equivalent to a hundred newspapers being hurled at us at once, affects both our health and state of mind. This is not all. Unsolicited or unwanted emails cost companies billions in lost revenue. But by effective traffic control and management, we can hugely reduce email overload. The benefits of this are enormous in terms of mental, physical and financial well-being.

Here are ten simple tips to achieve just this:

  1. Avoid indiscriminately using features like “reply to all” or CC/BCC. These are some of the biggest culprits in increasing email traffic.
  2. Do not feel you need to acknowledge every single email you receive. ‘Netiquette’ demands that you acknowledge emails but use your judgement and discretion here.
  3. Use NRN in subject headline; saying No Reply Necessary saves both you and your correspondent unnecessary emails
  4. Set up rules that automatically prioritise, forward or delete emails.
  5. Observe the ABC of effective writing by making your emails accurate, brief and clear, and format the layout so that the reader quickly, clearly and directly gets the message you intended. These avoid unnecessary and annoying back-and-forth of emails.
  6. Use filters and blockers to reduce spam mail.
  7. Set up multiple email addresses so you receive only work-related emails on your work email account.
  8. Be careful where you post your email address and request senders not to send you group emails where all recipients can see your address. This way you can prevent, to some extent, marketing companies harvesting your email ids from public places.
  9. Unsubscribe to unwanted newsletters.
  10. Colour-code to identify and separate urgent and priority emails which need immediate attention.

Above all, think if you really need to send an email. Can you pick up the phone or have a quick face-to-face chat instead? The more you send, the more you will receive, so avoid being a part of the problem.

Modern technology is supposed to save us time, enable us to work more efficiently, and make our lives less stressful and more productive. And it does. Only, we have to learn how to manage it so we are in control rather than the other way around.

Alastair is a freelance writer and has provided this article on behalf of Communicaid a culture and business communications consultancy.

 

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