Let’s take a moment and discuss your email signature. According to Radicati.com, a Technology Market Research Firm, over 205 billion emails are sent and received each day. That’s a lotta email! An often over looked part of your email is your signature.

How long should it be? How short should it be? What should it include? How should it look? For the most part, it’s a personal decision. But, it is something you need to think about.

Here are a few tips to consider when creating your email signature:

  1. Don’t include every social link you have!
    Sure you have a profile on Facebook, and Twitter, and G+ and LinkedIn and every other social platform out there. But do you need to link to all of them? No! Choose one or two and leave it at that. If you aren’t actively posting on G+, don’t link it.
  2. Don’t include a ton of images!
    Did you know some email systems don’t show images by default? All text signatures are great and will always display, but I agree that they get boring. Don’t be afraid to spice it up a little, but don’t over do it. And, definitely don’t make your entire signature an image. Make sure your signature looks nice without images first, then use them to accent.
  3. Don’t include every form of contact ever!
    There is no need to include your email address! Yes, I have seen it. Maybe it’s just me, but the email is coming from your email address, why do you feel the need to include it in your signature? If you’re up for a phone call, include your number. If you like Skype, put it in there. But please, oh please, don’t list your email, home address, work address, every website you own, home phone, cell phone, work phone, Skype, AOL, MSN, Fac, and everything else under the sun.
  4. Don’t use a ton of different colors!
    Stick to one, two, maybe three colors, but your signature shouldn’t look like a package of skittles spilled in my inbox. The main point of the email is the message, not the signature. Too many colors means distraction.
  5. Shorter is better!
    Yep, keep it short and sweet. Your signature shouldn’t be four times the size of your email message. A shorter signature will also display nicely on a mobile platform and won’t take up so much data to download.

Take a few minutes and configure your phone’s email signature as well. Keep in mind that many emails are read on phones and on the go. For this reason alone, a shorter email signature overall is a great idea.

What do you think? What do YOU include in your email sig?

 

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For the most part, I love my Google Products. Gmail is one of my favorite email providers. Did you know you can use Gmail to handle your domain email? You can have it land right in your Gmail inbox and reply using your domain email as well. All of instanticity.com email goes through my gmail box. Gmail allows you to have up to 5 POP email accounts. Setting up your domain email as a POP box is easy, just follow the steps below:

Go to your Settings and click on Accounts and Import and then look for Add a POP3 mail account you own.

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The pop up window will take you through a series of steps. The default settings will usually be just fine. First you’ll type in the email address you want to add you@yourdomain.com. In the next window, the user name will probably be just the you part, add the @yourdomain.com to that, most servers will require the full email address. You’ll also need to add your password. The rest of the settings here should work just fine. You can opt to label the incoming mail if you want so it stands out in your inbox.

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Now, your account has been added so that your emails will go to your Gmail inbox. The next few steps will allow you to send mail from your Gmail so it appears to come from your domain email. You won’t need to do anything except hit Next Step here and on the next screen. I do keep mine checked for Treat as Alias, you can read up on that and choose the setting that best suits you.

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For SMTP server, listen to Google and just use Gmail. Click Next Step and then tell Google to send you the Verification. At this point, you’ll need to log in to your domain email account and get the code.

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Pop the code in, click Verify and you are almost done.

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One last step, back on the Settings -> Accounts and Imports page, look in the third section that says Send mail as: and click the radio option to “Reply from the same address the message was sent to

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Remember, you can add up to 5 email addresses here. I have a live.com and a few domain emails going into my Gmail box. If you ever want to remove them, just go back to the settings page and click on delete.

In case you missed it, Google has removed the free version of Google Apps for small businesses. I am a big lover of Google Apps so I’m a bit sad about this, but I’m glad I got it implemented for a few of my sites when I did.

Without this little tip I found, you are left with Google Apps for Business at $50/user per year. While that includes 24/7 phone support, 25GB inbox and a 99.9% uptime guarantee, that’s a little high for my kind of small business.

Hongkiat.com has discovered a way to enable Google Apps for one user. Not ideal, but a nice compromise over $50/year! I’ve not tested this process, but it might be a nice workaround for a very small business.

Follow the steps here and let me know if it works for you!

Thanks Michelle! I never would have thought of this little issue.
The links and/or words used in your sig line might be sending your emails straight to the recipient’s spam box or not received at all. Link shortners, like bit.ly for instance, could be seen as bad and away your email goes. Even using certain wording like “make money” or “work from home” could trip the trigger.

Take some time to read Michelle’s post, When Good Siggys Go Bad & Get You Tagged as Spam, and then check, not only your sig, but also your domain to be sure you haven’t been blacklisted as a spammer.

Sometimes you want to register on a website, but you hesitate thinking you’ll end up getting tons of spam mail. Gmail makes it easy for you register at websites and never see an email from them or from anyone to which they may sell your email address. It takes just a little creativity on your part.

First, you must read my previous article “One Gmail Account, Many Addresses.” Basically, Gmail ignores the periods in your email address, so you could put a dot anywhere and gmail will still deliver your email to you. For instance, me@gmail.com is the same as m.e@gmail.com and .m.e.@gmail. It’ll all end up in your inbox.

So, how can you use this to your advantage? Easy. You’ve found a site you really want to register for, maybe it’s to get a freebie e-book or something. You’re a bit hesitant because the site doesn’t look completely trustworthy and your afraid they’ll sell your email address or send you tons of spam. Let’s say your normal gmail address is yourname@gmail.com (and if you happen to be yourname@gmail.com, I sincerely apologize!)

Go to the settings area of your gmail account and click on filters. In the To: line, put in your email address with a few periods added that you’ll remember, maybe yo.urna.me@gmail.com.

Click next step and select “Delete it” then “Create Filter”.

Now, go over to the suspicious website with information that you absolutely must have and register with your newly created filtered email address, yo.urna.me@gmail.com. Any mail sent to this address will be automatically deleted. It doesn’t matter what they do with your email address, you’ll never see any messages sent to that address.

You could also do various things, like create a folder and have all of those emails sent to a folder that you can periodically check, just in case something useful comes through. This way you could filter through your pre-filtered emails.

Google makes everything wonderful!

Gmail_logoThis may be old news to some, but it was new news to me. I had a customer service person tell me that someone had an email address very similar to mine, only theirs was all caps and that I should take my complaint to Gmail and ask them why they allow this. (Someone was using my email address and I was getting their “order receipts”, so I had asked the company to please put an end to this). After shaking my head for a bit, I decided I’d better reply to that customer service person with a link from Gmail explaining that case doesn’t affect an email address, me@gmail.com is the same as ME@gmail.com.

In looking for a link to send, I came across another great tidbit of info from Gmail. Not only does case not matter, but dots don’t either. I do use a dot between my first and last name in my gmail address, that’s how I signed up. Little did I know I can easily drop that dot or add more anywhere between any letters and still get my email!

Sometimes you may receive a message sent to an address that looks like yours but has a different number or arrangement of periods. While we know it might be unnerving if you think someone else’s mail is being routed to your account, don’t worry: both of these addresses are yours.

Gmail doesn’t recognize dots as characters within usernames, you can add or remove the dots from a Gmail address without changing the actual destination address; they’ll all go to your inbox, and only yours. In short:

  • homerjsimpson@gmail.com = hom.er.j.sim.ps.on@gmail.com
  • homerjsimpson@gmail.com = HOMERJSIMPSON@gmail.com
  • homerjsimpson@gmail.com = Homer.J.Simpson@gmail.com

All these addresses belong to the same person. You can see this if you try to sign in with your username, but adding or removing a dot from it. You’ll still go to your account.

If you get mail that seems to be intended for someone else, it’s likely that the sender entered the wrong address, just like if you’ve ever dialed a wrong phone number for someone. In these cases, we suggest contacting the original sender or website when possible to alert them to the mistake.

One last thing: Google Apps does recognize dots. If you’d like to have a dot in your username, please ask your domain administrator to add your preferred username as a nickname.

So basically, me@gmail.com is the same as m.e@gmail.com and .m.e.@gmail.com

I learn something new everyday.

blog-emailimageIf you own a website, then you probably have contact information on your website. That’s great! It’s wonderful when your website visitors can contact you with questions or issues they may have about your company, products, service or site. But you, as a site owner, need to go one step further and check that email! It’s quite aggravating as a site visitor to spend time crafting a message, hit send and then wait, wait, wait, wait and give up on ever getting a response.

Don’t leave your visitors hanging. Take the time to check your mail, even your spam box at least weekly. Send out a reply of some sort. Not answering is a big turn off. I’m often tempted to not support businesses that can send out a simple reply to questions. I don’t have a lot of time to spend making phone calls, I much prefer to shoot out a quick email when I have a question. The problem seems to be getting answers.

Tip: If you have no intention of answering emails, then don’t put an email address or contact form on your site. If you’re going to put that out there, then take a day each week to sit down and go through and answer emails. Your business can only benefit!

gmaillogoOne feature that Gmail is lacking is the ability to send an email to multiple addresses for a single contact when using groups. Say you have a soccer team, each child has two parents with seperate email addresses. You put the child’s name in your contact list, add each parent’s email address, then create a group to send mass emails to your entire team. Gmail only includes the first (primary) email address per contact. You need to include both email addresses. Previously, you needed to add each child in multiple times so that each email address is seen as a primary. I have a simple fix to keep your contact list from growing too large!

In the first email line type in your first address. Follow that address, in the same line, with >, < then include your second address. It should look something like this me@domain1.com>, <alsome@domain2.com. I know, Gmail doesn’t like that when saving, but do it anyway. When Gmail adds your contact address to the To: line, the address is placed in brackets and seperated by a comma. In this way, you’re tricking Gmail into seeing two different addresses in the To: line. Gmail will automatically open the brackets on the first address and close the brackets on the second, or final. You just need to put the middle part in there so that both addresses are recognized as valid when the email is sent. Now, add your contact to the group you need and you’re all set.

Go ahead! I know you want to try it. Add yourself as a contact, add two emails for yourself (I know we all have a bazillion). Click your name from the contact list and email yourself.