Extracting more contact details from emails

We released a new update today that introduces capturing more data from an email.

Earlier, when you were creating a contact using Collabspot, we would automatically fill the first name, last name, company name, and email address. Today we are adding two new fields that are extracted from the email: phone number and postal address.

To see it in action, view this video:

This new feature will save you even more time when creating new contacts. No more extra copying and pasting!

You can now search and view Highrise contacts from Gmail

I’m happy to announce that we just released a feature that will make your use of Collabspot even more productive. From the sidebar, you can now search and view Highrise contacts from Gmail.

Here are a few use cases that will be improved:

A customer is calling you while you have Gmail open.
You just need to type his name and you’ll get access to his details. You can then enter notes and tasks as you would usually do with Collabspot.

When writing an email and you need to find a customer’s email.
Do you remember his name, but not his email address? Just search for his name, and you will then find his address.

Got an existing user that contacted you from another email address?
Just search for his name, and you can then add his new email address using the + at the bottom of the sidebar.

New UI, new video, and other updates

As promised a few days ago, we now come back with some big updates for the extension.

New UI design and new logo

Collabspot new UI

The new UI is a result of our effort to make all the information displayed by the extension easier to recognize and to navigate. We used different colors to designate different types of data in Highrise. Users can now see an overview of how many tasks, deals, and cases they currently have. Also under the Activities section, the time between now and the earliest message listed is displayed. e.g. “2w” means 2 weeks.

On the bottom of the sidebar, we put a “+” button that unifies all the data entry features: add info, new task, new note, new deal, and new case.

New introduction video

In our new video, we will guide you through all of the essential features using the new UI.

Drawer-like sidebar

We wanted to avoid our extension from overlapping with other Gmail plugins, so we made it behave like a drawer that can be displayed or hidden by clicking the Collabspot icon on the right edge of the screen. This improves compatibility with other extensions for Gmail such as Rapportive

We can now see participants in a deal/case

In addition to displaying the info/activities/tasks in an existing deal, participants are also now displayed. By clicking on any participant, the extension loads the contact info in Highrise for that participant.

There you have it! We hope that you’ll enjoy these new updates as much as we do!

Ready to start saving time in your inbox? Click here to install Collabspot.

New website, new logo, and happy users

This has been an incredible week at Collabspot. We just won the Google Apps Developer Contest in the business category earlier this week. And today, we are changing our website, our logo, and our name. So here is our new logo :

New Collabspot logo

Collabspot Insights will now be renamed to Collabspot. The development services we were offering previously will now be available at dev.collabspot.com

We also created a new page that showcases our happy customers.

In the coming days, we are also going to update all our properties with the new design. These include our Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Facebook pages. If you’ve been following the CollabSpot Insights Twitter account, we’d like to ask you to follow the Collabspot Twitter account instead.

Stay posted! We will have another important update in our extension at the beginning of next week.

8 ways to write better emails

1. Promise value in the subject line and deliver exactly what you promised in the email body.

A typical internet user gets around 30-50 emails per day. Only a handful of these emails will actually be read, and most will go to the trash. An email’s subject line is the first, and can possibly be the last, point of contact you will have with the recipient. Subject lines determine open rates. So make sure you put a lot of effort in the subject line and craft it in such a way that it promises value. Then in the rest of your email, deliver exactly what that promise is. It’s already a huge privilege for a recipient to be able to read more than your email’s subject line. Don’t waste the chance by delivering on the promise that initially caught his/her attention. Refer to Kalzumeus and Copy Hackers for more guidance in crafting better subject lines for your emails.

2. Aim your messaging at a target market, not at everyone.

If you try to make everyone happy with your email, you end up saying nothing compelling enough for anyone to do something your email wants. I got this from Joanna Wiebe of Copyhackers.com, applying her advice on website messaging to emails. Each market has values and needs that only a few messages can reach. Write for those people that will most likely reward you for your service, whether it’s by buying your product or by referring you to people who carry problems that your product can solve. Write for a lesser number of people who have an authentic need for your product, instead of a bigger group who were just merely interested or just passing by. Furthermore, tell customers honestly if they are not the right customer for your product and use the trust that this generates for them to successfully find people seeking your solution.

3. Start fast and get to the point.

The part that will most probably be read in any message is the first sentence. Most readers don’t make it past the first one or two sentences, so make it count. Make your introduction as short as possible (or if it can safely be omitted, do so) and start telling the recipient what your email is all about. Make them feel right from the start that reading your message won’t be a waste of their time. Doing this is also beneficial for email clients such as Gmail or Outlook that preview the first few lines of every email.

4. Write content that can be consumed in less than 5 minutes

Be as brief as possible and keep your message to 3 paragraphs or less. Upon first glance, people can instantly determine whether the content and length of your email can easily be consumed or requires more of their time than necessary. Make their email reading experience a breeze.

5. Features do not sell products, benefits do.

Explain in your email how their lives will improve by reading its contents and, ultimately, by buying your product. Find their pain points and use these to write about how your product or service can solve their pains.

6. Prove yourself whenever you can.

Most probably, your email recipients haven’t heard of you and will never bother to find out if you’re credible or not. You must avoid them from thinking that you’re not just pulling stuff out of some magic hat. In order for them to gain confidence in what you have to say in your email, back them up with proof. These are usually presented as existing data or by referring to what the experts are saying.

7. Personalize, be human.

Make your email sound like it really came from a human instead of some automated emailing system. Don’t make your message sound too sales-y, spammy, or corporate. Also, write as you speak. Reading the email should sound like you were actually speaking to the recipient. In some cases, put your phone number to gain their trust and to show that you’re serious, just like what David Marcus, CEO of Paypal, did in his response to Andy McMillan (after generating a huge buzz on the internet when Paypal withheld 40k British Pounds from him).

8. Experiment, experiment, experiment!

Even with all the ways written above, we can never be sure how effective an email is without experimenting with different messages. Use split tests to determine which version of your email is getting more open rates or click-throughs. I recommend using Collabspot for this. It lets you create different email templates as well as providing tracking and analytics (coming soon!) to determine which of your emails convert better than others.

Further Reading:

A lot of the advice written above are indebted to Patrick McKenzie (popularly known as patio11) and Joanna Wiebe of Copy Hackers. Here are references to training courses, articles, and books that provide valuable information in writing better emails: