Wednesday, November 30, 2011

8 Tips to Get Your Emails Read

8 Tips to Get Your Emails Read
Have you sent out a gazillion emails only to get no response... at all? One of the hardest things for people to admit is that it’s difficult to get people to open emails. You don’t want to spend a lot of time writing a great email to send out only to have people delete it without reading it. You want people to not only open your email but also be interested in what you have to say.
That's why I've compiled a few useful tips that will help ensure your emails get read - first!
1. Create an intriguing subject line: One of the most important things to have is an email Subject: line that captures your recipient’s attention. Your email will most likely be opened sooner if your subject line is well thought out and provoking. Actually, the email subject line is the most important thing you’ll write to your recipient – if it doesn’t grab the attention of your reader and make him open the email, it doesn’t really matter what you have to say in the body of your email. Use these tips:
a. Don’t use a [blank] subject line. It could be portrayed as being arrogant by assuming all your reader needs to know is that it’s from you.
b. Keep the subject line short and informative. The subject line is your first opportunity to inform or influence your reader. It should provide an overall summary of your email contents. Only about 70 characters are displayed when an email arrives in your inbox, so keep the subject line short.
c. Create some curiosity in your email subject line and thereby nearly forcing the reader to open your email. Try asking a question in the subject line. By doing so you are gaining an emotional reaction from your reader. As they answer it for themselves, they will tend to open your email to read what you have to say on the subject.
2. The "from" line: If your "from" line contains a name your reader will have no trouble recognizing, chances are your email will be opened and read.
3. Get to your point quickly: People tend to say too much in an email. Readers don’t want to read long introductions and backgrounds. They want to know what you need from them. So, jump to the point. State your purpose clearly using minimal words and details.
4. Readers hate spam with a passion: The last thing people want in their inbox is spam. And you certainly don’t want to have your email caught up in your recipient’s spam filter or junk mail folder. So, keep your subject lines free of words that sound “spammy”. Avoid words such as subscribe, cheap, free, promise, order now, opportunity, guarantee, winner, and amazing as much as possible.
5. Avoid attaching unnecessary files: By sending large or multiple attachments you can annoy readers and even bring down their email systems. Only send attachments when it is appropriate and productive to do so. Try to compress attachments whenever possible and have a good virus scanner in place to avoid sending documents full of viruses.
6. Time it right: The first day of the workweek is not usually a good day to send out emails and neither is the last day. You don't want your emails to be left unread, or worse, deleted. Just because your reader is overwhelmed by the number of emails in his inbox on Monday morning or is eager to leave for the weekend early on Friday evening doesn't mean your email should be ignored. So try sending your email on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays. People tend to be more receptive and in “business mode” on these days.
7. Create an effective email signature: It can be challenging for the recipient of an email message to find your contact information if your signature is very long and overly formatted. Likewise, a poorly formatted signature can hurt your professional reputation, add unnecessary bulk, and be a distraction from the content of your message. So, keep it as short as you can while still including all the information you consider important – four lines is the accepted standard.
a. Condense information into fewer lines by using pipes (|) or colons (::) to separate the text. Ex: Christa Hartman | Kardon Technology
b. Optimize your logo or graphics and when appropriate, use a link to your website that will take your recipient to the exact web page you want them to see versus your home page. For example, if I wanted you to read about who Kardon Tech is, I would use the URL: not just provide a link to our homepage and hope you’d got to the About Us page.
c. Skip including your mailing address as not everyone wants or should have access to that information.
d. Include your email address. Not every email client displays the header information for your recipient, therefore providing your email address in your signature is helpful.
e. Simple plain text is always best – skip colors, special fonts, and graphics.
8. Proofread your email: Many people don’t bother reading an email before they send it out. Spell checker will catch at least a few typos, but it won’t catch every mistake. Use standard capitalization and spelling, especially when your message asks someone to do work for you. Avoid fancy typefaces and using text lingo such as “thx 4 ur help 2day”. Take the time to make sure your message makes sense and looks professional. Reading your email though the eyes of your recipient will help you send a more effective message and avoid misunderstandings and inappropriate comments.
Remember, emails that get read have subject lines that are intriguing and "from" people they know and trust. Above all else, keep in mind that everyone is busy and gets too much email.  The KardonTechnology social media marketing team can help keep your campaigns intriguing.    Communicating via email isn’t hard. Doing it well is what’s difficult.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Small Businesses and Web Surfing

For many people, the Internet can be a very confusing place. At our finger tips through any number of different devices, there seems to be new threats around every corner. One of the most dangerous threats that is very often overlooked are the users themselves.

There are firewalls and active protection and countless policies for dealing with hackers or attacking viruses, but many small business web security policies simply do not properly protect against a business’ own employees causing problems.

A recent survey commissioned by GFI provided some astounding statistics regarding the IT security solutions for small businesses.

Even with countless protections in place, 40% of small business reported an IT security breach due to an employee’s unsafe web surfing. And, more than half of small businesses indicated that protecting themselves from harmful or infected websites is not their main priority.

In an eye-opening list provided by OpenDNS’s web filtering tool, the top 10 blacklisted company sites for 2010:

  1. Facebook
  2. MySpace
  3. YouTube
  4. DoubleClick
  5. Twitter
  6. MSN
  7. Orkut
  8. Yahoo (why?)
  9. Meebo
  10. eBay
The list may be surprising to some people. While specific blacklisted sites may include pornography or file sharing sites, overall we see that social media and advertising sites receive much attention. This reflects a change in web surfing, as well as a business’ attempt to control a worker’s productivity.

It is also important to realize that, with a dramatic shift in web surfing towards social media, there is also a focus on infiltrating computers through these same social media sites. From Facebook posts that trick users in to downloading viruses to infected websites that have malware disguising itself as ads, we see the internet dangers are not limited to the “usual” suspects of file sharing and pornography. 

When looking at protection strategies and the best course of action to avoid issues, the answers may seem common, but are frequently ignored. Make sure of the following:

- Passwords are secure and changed on a regular basis
- Anti-virus software is up-to-date on all workstations and servers
- Firewalls have strong traffic policies to control communication
- Email is protected by anti-virus and spam filters
- There is a strong anti-spyware solution

There are countless available programs to help with the web filtering, including GFI Web Monitor. These programs can dramatically improve web security while also providing avenues for increased productivity through multiple options including: protecting the network by blocking unwanted downloads from malicious websites, predicting security threats by monitoring a website’s security through its reputation score, and monitoring and filtering web traffic based on known threats and threats disguising themselves as legitimate sites.  
While there are countless available solutions, the most important step is realizing there is a problem. When discussing web traffic, people default to being wary of file sharing and porn, but Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace are just seen as generic time-wasters. The biggest and best security protection plan can be done in by just one user clicking on a friend’s Facebook link without realizing the inherent dangers it may hold.

Kardon Technology offers multiple levels of monitoring and Anti-Virus solutions, with both the standard protection of our Kardon Care Membership, and as a stand-alone option. Contact us for available levels and pricing.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Rise of the Tablets

Mobile computing has become an indispensable part of our daily lives. Today there are a number of choices for staying connected while on the go - smart phones, netbooks, laptops, and tablets among others. All of these devices are capable of accessing the Internet using wifi hotspots and the increasing speeds of cellular networks. Tablets are on the rise as the device of choice for mobile computing. - whether at home or on the road.

Tablets are not a new entrant to the mobile computing market. They've been used in many industries for years. Recently, however, tablets have become lighter, thinner, and more powerful. It seems that since the introduction of the Apple iPad, the tablet market has boomed. Google, Motorola, HP, Microsoft, Amazon, and Samsung are among the latest companies who have jumped into the tablet market. This is great because healthy competition in the marketplace often tends to be a win-win for the consumer by way improved quality, development of new products and services, and often lower prices.

Today, tablets have become highly sought after for not only entertainment, news, and email but also mobile communications, collaborations, and other businesses uses. People have become more mobile and the experience of working on the go has been improved.

Consumers are using tablets mainly for personal reasons such as access to the internet and checking email. However, tablets are good for all types of media consumption as well as picture and video capture, social networking, communication, gaming, and mapping/route planning. Tablets are also becoming more popular with businesses. You can find them in a number of industries such as healthcare, retail, field sales and service, legal, marketing, etc. Doctor offices and hospitals are using tablets for medical reference, to view and update patient care information, read diagnostic images, and to e-prescribe medications. You can also find them being utilized by patients in waiting rooms and by staff when scheduling appointments. In the legal profession, tablets can provide access to documents and depositions. Sales and service forces are making use of tablets in the field for presentations and video conferencing, as decision tools and reference, and for configuring price quotes. Retail sales teams are employing tablets on the floor as a sales tool and marketing teams are use them for digital signage, interactive brochures, creative reviews, and at tradeshows.

iPads are leading the way among consumers and small businesses as the tablet of choice, for right now at least. The great app selection has helped hoist Apple to the top of the marketplace. App availability is key for many tablet users - both personal and business users alike. There are apps for ordering meals at NY airports (partnership between Delta and OTG Management) and in-flight entertainment, for mobile videoconferencing and access to business intelligence data, and even for enhanced local destination advice for concierges. There are apps for just about anything you would want to do and an increasing number of tablets to choose from.

Tablets can do most of the work that's already being done on laptops and PCs, but not yet as quickly or efficiently. Many of the most common business applications are also available for tablet users by means of the myriad of downloadable apps. Many companies have already upgraded their applications and processes to allow for easier web integration and more flexibility for tablet users - and many more companies have plans to do so.

In deciding whether a tablet is right for you or your business, visit Jason's Aug 2011 blog entitled "Do you need a tablet?" User experience, price, ease of use, and access to music, books, photos, apps etc are just some of the decisive factors in selecting a tablet to meet your needs.