Canned Responses in GMail

The Googlers are at it again – if you receive common questions again and again in email, you can save a canned response and use it at the click of a mouse.  See the Mashable review for more information, or just  go to Google Labs by clicking the green beaker on the top right side of your GMail browser window, and enable Canned Responses.  You’ll see it right below the subject line next time you compose an email.

Tackling the pile of stars

I use GMail’s “star” feature Star as a giant honking todo list, and I’m pleased to say that this weekend, I’m down to 54 starred items.  “Inbox Zero” should be “Starred Zero” for me. 🙂

I enjoy using Remember the Milk (in fact, I just downloaded the BlackBerry client, which is called MilkSync), but for email that takes time to process, starring can’t be beat.

Three words from Seth Godin about email

Seth Godin speaks to Google – a wonderful talk that’s well worth an hour of your time. Most interesting story: creation of Hallmark collectible ornaments (about halfway through), with followup marketing by email. Takeaway: the most effective email campaigns are

  1. Anticipated
  2. Personal
  3. Relevant

The “email blast” approach has never worked, will never work, and will likely land you in hot water. Take the time to do it right.

That Software Guy works with MailChimp on email promotions. Check out their resource library to see the depth of their expertise. Reasonable prices for small businesses too.

Are you an accidental spammer?

My friend Jeremy over at Being a Starving Graphic Artist Sucks asks, Do You Assume that Everyone Wants to Regularly Hear about Your Creative Freelancing Business?
Delete the words “Creative Freelancing,” and you’ll find it’s an effective question that every small businessperson should be asking themselves. The rules are:

  • Just because they bought from you doesn’t mean they want your marketing material.
  • Just because they met you at an event doesn’t mean they want your marketing material.
  • Just because they emailed you doesn’t mean they want your marketing material.

The best practice here is to use a double-opt-in newsletter provider and allow clients to sign themselves up. I use MailChimp (see examples here) and wrote software to allow Zen Cart users to use MailChimp too. There are many offerings in this space, but I think MailChimp is the best one for SMEs.