The world of emails can be a busy place, on daily basis we are bombarded with hundreds of messages that demand our attention. Surely there must be a way to power through your inbox to get the most important messages? Especially your Campaignmaster emails 😊. Well there is! In this post we will outline some of the best approaches to hack your Outlook productivity and point out useful shortcuts you can use to save time.
If you find yourself receiving the same emails over and over again, it might be time to investigate the power of email filters also known as “rules”. Rules are a set of conditions that an incoming message has to meet for an action to be carried out. For example, if you receive an email from your manager, a rule could flag it as important and show a pop-up.
Setting up rules
Setting up Outlook rules is relatively simple, more complex rules can take a little longer to create but automating your inbox is worth the initial effort. You can get started with creating your own email filters by clicking on the “Rules” button the Home tab of your Outlook client.
From there you can specify most basic conditions that will cause the rule to trigger as well as the actions which will be taken once the message is detected.
For example, you could specify emails with specific words in the subject such as “blog” or “blog post” to be filed automatically into a “Blog” folder. Alternatively, you could use the advanced options to create more specific rules. You can read more about creating advanced rules here.
Not sent to me
You might find yourself amidst email overload because your co-workers tend to CC you to every email they send. Whilst some of these messages might be worth your attention, that’s not always the case and email rules can come to your rescue.
You can create a rule where if an email is not sent directly to you, it will be filed in a separate folder for later review. (You could even have Outlook flag them so you will be reminded to get to them by the end of the day).
In an avalanche of emails searching for one message can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. So, how do you do it? You bring a magnet! Or in our case, you use the search features in Outlook.
Outlook offers powerful search tools for filtering through your emails to find any message within your inbox. Simply click on the search box just above your inbox and use the search tab to finetune your criteria. Here you can specify whom the message was from, whether it had attachments, when it was sent, or even if it was read or not. The richer your criteria, the sooner Outlook will fetch your message.
If you find yourself searching for the same emails over and over again, it might be worth setting up a search folder.
From there you can specify your search criteria, that way you can easily pull up all the emails from your manager or your team without having to search for them each time. Your search folders will appear in the folder list in your sidebar.
Do you often find yourself writing the same thing over and over again? Why not use Quick Parts? Outlook allows you to store frequently typed snippets of text to save your time. To create new quick part, highlight the text you want to save and go to insert and then click on Quick Parts, then Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery.
You can specify the name, category and description of your snippet to keep your responses organised. Next time you find yourself typing the same response, Outlook will show a helpful pop-up and will let you paste the entire message by pressing Enter.
Group Messages into Conversation
We rarely send emails without expecting to hear back from the recipient. As conversations continue, the email chain becomes longer and longer which means that the individual messages can become notoriously difficult to track. Luckily Outlook has a neat feature for grouping messages into conversations so they are much easier to manage.
You can easily trigger this feature by going to the View tab and checking the “Show as Conversations” box in the Messages section.
Some Outlook actions take a couple of steps to complete. For example, you might want to launch an email to your manager or your team, move your message to a subfolder or mark a message as completed to signify it has been dealt with. Quick Steps let you create shortcuts for doing just that.
Outlook comes with some predefined Quick Steps as seen below:
You can also create your own by pressing the downward arrow on the right, from there you can define your new custom quick actions.
You might find yourself in situations where you want your email to be sent at a specific time, but you don’t want to wait until the exact time to write and send your message. Luckily, with Outlook, you can schedule your messages. You can easily write out your emails and set them to be delivered at a specified time.
When writing your email, head over to the Options tab and choose Delay Delivery from the menu bar. This will open up a window which lets you specify when the message will be delivered.
Once you’ve specified your date and time you can simply press send and your message will wait in the outbox until it’s time to be delivered. Beware that for the message to be sent at the correct time, you will have to keep your Outlook open.
Using the mouse to find an option buried deep in the Outlook menu can be time consuming and often frustrating, especially if you’re using a laptop with a trackpad. As an alternative we’ve prepared a small cheat-sheet with the most popular shortcuts used in Outlook.
Sometimes, making group decisions can be difficult, especially if your teammates work in different areas of the office. Luckily, Outlook has a very clever feature that you can use to conduct polls. You can find Voting Buttons in the Options tab when you create a new email. By default you could choose from the predefined responses, but if you are trying to organise team lunch, you can easily define your own options:
When defining your own options, make sure you separate each value with a semi-colon, like in the team lunch example above.
So, we’re all brilliant email marketers and we create superb content, but what about those standard parts of every email? Yes, I’m looking at you forward to a friend, view online, unsubscribe and add to senders links!
How can we make those links work harder? Maybe it’s about time for a bit of a make-over.
View Online Link
At the end of the day this link just takes you to an online version of your email. This can be valuable to recipients using email clients that have limited to no support for HTML and ultimately impact your click rates. But this doesn’t mean that the link has to become part of the background. To make our view online link stand out a bit more you can label it differently. Some good alternatives to view online could be:
Follow this link if this email is not displaying correctly
See this email with pictures
Email not looking great?
View this email with all images displayed
Email not showing correctly? View it in your browser
- Click here to see our previous edition (link off to the last email’s view online link)
Now, most email aficionados know that you can download images in Outlook with a click, so you could make your view online link work harder by making it into a link to your main message instead. For example, if you’re promoting snazzy socks, replace the view online link with a link to your best-selling socks page!
Check out how much is going on here at the top of this email from a travel insurance company:
The view online link is actually the last link at the top of the email and the prefixing links, all link to the crux of the email message.
This content below, from an online shoe retailer, attempts to ask the recipient to save the from address, thereby allowing images to download automatically the next time the email is received:
Also, a view online link really comes into it’s own in the text version of your email. In here, your reader doesn’t have to look at a wall of text, they can click on the “view online” link and be shown your shiny HTML version. CMAdvantage even allows you to edit the text version, so you’re not stuck with reams of plain text and long URLs.
Forward to a Friend
Some people say this poor old link is part of ancient history since you can easily forward your email with a click of a button. However, the truth is that the email may not stay intact. Email clients will often embed additional text atop of the original message. So, it’s best to always forward emails via the forward to a friend link so your new recipient sees your beautiful email in all its original glory.
If the email is forwarded using the link, this information can be tracked as opposed to the forward being done through the email client so it’s worth the effort. Why not get creative with the wording and say "share this offer with a friend by clicking here"?
With CMAdvantage you can fully brand your forward to a friend form with your own logos, colours etc. so it’s even more appealing to complete. Furthermore, your reader can even insert their own message for their friend to read along with the email they are forwarding.
Add To Senders Link
If you’re recipients are not familiar with how to save your sender details, then our handy little website is here to help www.addtosenders.com. It contains useful videos on how to save senders to any email client that they may be using.
It contains useful videos on how to save senders to any email client that you may be using. Saving your favourite senders also helps greatly with deliverability.
As much as we don’t want people to opt-out of receiving our emails, we must include this in our content. So, when people do choose to opt-out, it is a simple and quick process. CMAdvantage gives you various options for opt-outs, including opt-downs and preference management.
Manage my Preferences
If you don’t have this link in your email marketing campaigns, now would be a good time to think about incorporating it.
With GDPR looming on the horizon and the regulation stating that we cannot presume the type of content people want to receive, you need to make it very clear what people are subscribing to when they sign up, thereafter you have to ensure that you only send them they content that they subscribed to.
We recommend you include a ‘Manage My Preference’ or ‘Change My Preferences’ link in your email by which your subscribers can select and deselect what content they wish to continue receiving or not.
CMAdvantage allows you to create a full preference centre that can be stand alone or incorporated in your website, allowing new subscribers to sign up easily and existing subscribers to update their preferences at any time.
“Walking under an open ladder will bring you bad luck!”
A classic example of an old myth and, if you’re superstitious, you may well avoid walking under them for fear of the unknown!
The email marketing industry also has some myths which could seriously hinder your performance as a marketer, if you stick to them. We’ve broken down a few of the popular ones and given you sound, logical reasons why not to believe them:
Myth #1 – Tuesday is the best day to send marketing emails
You may be thinking, why Tuesday?
To put it simply, some email marketers presume Mondays are hectic as people begin to settle into the week. They may also think that on Thursdays/Fridays people are leaving work earlier in preparation for the weekend. And Wednesdays mean middle of the week, which is when most people are knee deep in work. Therefore, it must be Tuesday! True? No!
Sending emails on a Tuesday is not necessarily the best day and especially not for all companies. Research conducted by Smart Insights found that for both B2B and B2C emails, opens and clicks are pretty much even throughout the week, even peaking slightly during the weekend for retailers.
Myth #2 – Your subject lines should be short
If you read email marketing best practise guidelines, we are told that subject lines should be between 21-50 characters in length.
Return Path analysed over nine million emails from over 3000 retail senders to examine how subject line length affected average read rates:
Although most marketers stuck to the 21-50 character limit, there was no significant drop in read rates for longer subject lines. In fact, there was only a significant drop once subject lines had a character length of great than 100. Furthermore, the highest read rate was for subject lines with a character length of 61-70.
From this we can conclude that short subject lines do not necessarily mean more reads, just ensure your subject lines stand out with the right wording and you’re ready to go. Click here to read more about using emojis to make your subject lines stand out.
Myth #3 – Unsubscribes are a bad thing
It’s inevitable. Unsubscribes are going to happen – but this is not necessarily a bad thing.
A recipient unsubscribing simply means they do not want to receive your emails. This could be down to the content, frequency or just de-cluttering an inbox. Therefore, no matter what you sent to them, no amount of email magic would have changed their view.
Essentially, unsubscribes remove any individuals who are not engaged with your offering. It’s better for delivery rates that these people opt-out rather than remain on your marketing database and doing nothing, or worse, still marking your email as junk.
Unsubscribes leave you with a more targeted marketing list; boosting your engagement and those all-important open rates.
Furthermore, with GDPR looming on the horizon, your data is getting cleaner with organic opt-out’s.
Myth #4 – You shouldn’t send the same email twice
We feel it’s perfectly fine to resend the same email to subscribers, BUT only to those people who didn’t open it the first time around. With busy inboxes, your recipient may have genuinely missed your emails and with CMAdvantage you can even change the subject line when resending automatically to non-engagers. This way you are acknowledging that you are sending the same content and just want to ensure your recipient is not missing out.
Myth #5 – You have to use double opt-in – it’s the law
Only in Germany 😊
But it is a great feature if you want to ensure you have authentic opt-in susbcribers. Click here to learn more about double opt-in.
Myth #6 – Email Marketing is dying out
A study conducted by Radicati Group predicted by the end of 2020 the number of email users will be over 3 billion; this is almost half of the world’s total population, showing no indication of email marketing slowing down any time soon.
You need an email address to register, set up an account, purchase something etc. so we don’t see it dying out anytime soon!
We hope we’ve helped bust some popular email marketing myths for you – if you need any more advice or tips to boost your marketing emails, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also sign up to our fantastic e-newsletter at campaignmaster.co.uk/receive-hintstips-updates
Does your email marketing take a back seat as new projects and priorities come your way?
Why not take a big chunk of unnecessary pressure off your marketing department and instead, outsource your email marketing entirely?
Outsourcing comes with many benefits and here are just a few to consider if you’re thinking of easing your email marketing efforts:
Saving an enormous amount of time on designing, building and testing emails.
Reducing head count in your company and therefore cost.
Gaining external, expert opinions on your e-marketing efforts.
- Still have full access to your account to view results and reports in your own time and as often as you wish.
This all sounds very compelling but we appreciate you may have concerns about an ‘outsider’ managing your emails, so here are just some of the great benefits you can gain from outsourcing your email marketing to Campaignmaster.
Working with a UK based supplier means that it is easier to comply with specific data protection laws and regulations within the UK and EU. In fact, your data never leaves the UK thanks to our London-based datacentre.
Upon signup you will receive a dedicated account manager who will assess your current email marketing activity, understand your objectives and discuss strategies moving forward.
Your account manager will also devise a plan of action to meet your email marketing objectives and provide professional advice to rejuvenate your email campaigns and keeping in line with your brand guidelines.
Your account manager will additionally create a bespoke booking form so all you need to do is simply fill in the details, provide the content and submit to a designated support consultant.
A professional designer will create your emails and always with best practice in mind.
We will test your emails across all major inboxes to ensure that they render correctly regardless of platform or device used to read your content.
Changed your mind about the content? No problem, send us your changes and we will make all the necessary modifications for you.
- When we have finished designing and testing your campaign, we will send you a final test, and only launching the campaign when you sign it off.
So, to summarise, you’re getting an account manager, a digital graphic designer and an email marketing support consultant at a fraction of the cost of recruiting them directly.
- We’re at Accountex
- Outlook Productivity Hacks
- Making The Most of Your Email Marketing Best Practice Links
- Common Email Marketing Myths Busted
- No time to manage your email campaigns? You could always outsource to us!
- How to Avoid Email Phishing
- Why you should stop using Outlook for email marketing
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- Campaign Master Salesforce Integration
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