Make Email Work For You in 2014: Three Cool Tools

Standard

“Email was destroying my life, so I destroyed email” wrote Zach Epstein in BGR last year. A sentiment many of us must share. And many of us will feel the same way as we head back into the office for the start of the new year.

Many people, have adopted strategies for managing email, including:

I am going to recommend three great tools to increase the love you feel for your inbox.

Newsle – News about your network

Newsle is a ravenously addictive product. The screenshot of my Gmail shows a month or so of Newsle mails in my inbox. I’ve opened every single one.

Newsle scans your contacts (in LinkedIn and Facebook) and pulls our news stories about them. This lets you keep up-to-date with your contacts – and provided your contact list is relevant and fresh – Newsle has proved to be the best tool I have found to do just that.

As many of my contacts are in my business (tech entrepreneurs, VCs, marketing execs), Newsle often gives me really helpful professional news that is highly relevant (because one of my contacts is involved in the story).

For the past few months, I have opened my Newsle emails religiously.

I highly recommend it. For a couple of minutes a day, it keeps me up to date on the business contacts most important to me.

Unroll me – manage mailing lists

Newsle is going to create a new email in your inbox everyday. One you are going to want to read. But let’s face it, over the years, we’ve all accumulated dozens of mailing lists subscriptions, from websites we tried once, retailers we once bought from and the cruft that accumulates as our email address is sold time and again.

Unroll.Me is a service which aggregates your subscriptions to mailing list by peering into your inbox, and magically plucks them out before you have to turn your attention to them. Daily, Unroll.me well then send you a beautiful digest of all the mailing lists mails it has found.

You can configure Unroll.me and decide which emails you want ‘unrolled’ (sent into the aggregated summary) through a lovely web interface.

Unroll.me saves me several minutes every day by automatically eliminating low-value emails while leaving me feel confident that I won’t lose these emails (if they turn out to be important.)

Boomerang – schedule your mail

Boomerang a simple plug-in for Gmail. It allows you to schedule sending an email and also trigger simple reminders on emails you send.

Why schedule emails? In my case, I often end up writing emails at inhospitable times (like late night on a Sunday night) which would ordinarily arrived with correspondents at similarly inhospitable times, buried under a nights worth of email. This is especially the case when corresponding to people in other timezones. Boomerang allows me to time the delivery of emails for when the recipient is most likely to see it.

Boomerang also has a nice power feature. You can ask it to remind you (via a simple email) if you don’t receive a reply. It’s pretty neat particularly when you run multiple projects and need to keep track of responses.

One drawback for Boomerang – it seems to only work with Gmail from the Web ,and isn’t a tool readily accessible via iPhone.

Advertisements
Standard

The 10 Best Social Media Predictions for 2014

In my years in marketing and media relations, I’ve learned there is one constant: change. If you can’t embrace it, you will wither on the vine. Peeirng into the crystal ball of 2014, I found some excellent prognostication from people that know much more than I do on what’s next in social media marketing. Here are the ten best I’ve found so far.

1. More real-time marketing. From John Kultgen on PR Daily. When the Oreo Super Bowl ad went viral, the wheels were turning in marketers’ heads everywhere.  Kultgen says, “The brand set a new standard for extremely timely and relevant content. Sporting events, awards shows, and season finales became the source of inspiration for many brand’s posts throughout the year.”  Real-time marketers will help fans engage in an experience. Savvy brands will learn how to do it well, not a la Kenneth Cole.

crystal ball

2. Whether your real time is faster than my real time will no longer be the problem. From Marketing Profs. “Marketers will begin taking advantage of new capabilities that enable them to act on insights in the very moment they need to act. Speed of delivery will no longer be the problem. The real opportunity is whether an experience can be delivered when it counts for the business—and when it matters most for the consumer.”

3. Word-of-mouth marketing will take off. From Jason Falls on Social Media Explorer. Falls say that consumers will continue their migration away from sponsored messages and banner ads. “We don’t want the blinking lights of Times Square. We’d rather have the relative peacefulness of a stroll around Greenwich Village.”  Falls says marketers are going to have to migrate to Snapchat, Path, Vine, and any other network that connects people but doesn’t have an established business model. But beware, “you’ll only be there for a year or two before the ads emerge and consumers migrate again.”

4. User-generated content will be the hot content commodityFrom Marketing Profs. What many already know, most will start taking advantage of: user-generated content creates loyalty, puts the fan/customer in the driver’s seat, and generates sales. Every fan wears a marketing hat. Rick Mulready dubbed this “embracing fandom” on Entrepreneur.

5. Short form content will dominate. From Julie Fleischer, Director of Media & Consumer Engagement at Kraft (via Content Marketing Institute).  Fleischer predicts that short form sound, sight, and motion will deliver greater viewership and higher engagement than long-form. She predicts, “ brands will compete over who can tell the shortest stories with the biggest impact.” Consumers will be the winners.

6. Niche interest networks will increase in prominence and usage. From Adam Vincenzini on PR Daily. Even though they will never significantly make a dent in the market share of the big channels, they will get more attention in 2014 as marketers who want to stay fresh look to engage the crowd that embraces innovation and change. It’s all about learning to ride the wave.

7. More visual, less text. From Jessica Smith on Social ‘N Sports. Smith cites how images have changed the way we digest social: “photo albums, pictures, and video get 180, 120, and 100 percent more engagement respectively (Facebook).”  We’ll have to push ourselves to keep up with all the channel settings that will enhance visuals for maximum engagement. Note recent Twitter changes.

8. Erasable media. From Dave Kerpen on Inc. Kerpen predicts our desire for the ephemeral will give rise to new channels and move current mainstream social media networks to adopt a disappearing content function. Kerpen attributes this to our increasing desire to personally share with one another. “This means that you’ll have to be prepared to have the results of your hard work in content marketing literally vanish.”

9. Social listening will become a requirement, not an option. From Pam Moore on Marketing Nutz. Moore says, “Brands of all sizes will start to understand that they must invest in social listening strategies, tactics and technologies to truly understand, inspire and connect with their audiences. Managing and protecting brand reputation must start from the inside out.” Preachin’ to the choir.

10. Investment in social media will become a necessity, not a luxury. From Jayson DeMers on Forbes.  As demand for good content and measurable results increase, brands will move from spreading social media duties across existing positions to hiring social media managers, according to DeMers. The era of assigning social media duties to a “tech-savvy, passionate” staff members is over. When companies need outside help, they will be looking for agencies that know social media business, not just social media tools.