This might not quite be about SEO or web marketing, but I decided to review Google Apps for business email, or Google Suite as it’s now called, because I think having a decent email provider and having reliable defence against spam and other crap is crucial to everyone.
For years I used standard pop or SMTP mail at whatever host I happened to be with at the time, and I’ve never had a particular problem with any email system except when it comes to one thing, or maybe I should say about 10 million things… SPAM! The amount of spam we get is just ridiculous, OK, maybe I do need a penis enlargement… but I’m not going to click a link to enquire about it from a spam email… and no, I don’t want any fake viagra!!!!
Oh, and no I don’t need SEO services either thanks, and if I did – come on… as if I would buy them from someone spamming me, proving that they don’t actually have the ability to drive traffic to their website to gain business using the methods they’re selling.
Anyway, I despise SPAM as I think we all do, and the inability to do anything about it without setting up strong spam rules which could end up with important emails being filtered, really annoyed me – for years, until I decided to give Google Apps for business a try, which is now called Google Suite.
I just went to this page, signed up, agreed to pay $5 per month for email, cloud, calendar and drive – set it all up, and BOOM – the dozens of crappy spam emails I was getting per day, just stopped, instantly!
It was that quick, and I didn’t have to do a thing initially, it just appears that the Google email system already has a lot of the known spam servers blacklisted, so the spam stopped.
The only thing that continued to come in was stuff I’d signed up for, and the ‘not quite spam’ where people are emailing me directly trying to sell me something – and for these, I can remove them for good with a couple of clicks, there’s little to it.
So I started to recommend friends, colleagues and clients switch to Google suite too, and everyone so far that I have recommended to move their emails over, has been amazed with the instant reduction of spam.
Google suite comes with drive, docs & calendar, all of which I think are great, but I think they’re all free anyway, so you could use these via a free Gmail account, but it’s the email which I’m really impressed with, due to the instant reduction of spam and how easy it is to add people to the spam bin.
Google drive by the way if you don’t use it, is amazing, I’ve been using it for a while now, and it’s very handy for creating and saving docs and spreadsheets, and for saving images and other media. If I’m writing anything that isn’t a blog post, I’ll usually write it in Google docs due to how good it is at auto saving. In the past I would often use word or open office for instance, but I’ve had a few instances where this has lead to losing work, either due to a glitch or a power cut for example. I was once working on a document for hours, in word, I forgot to press save – and then we had a power cut in the building as some workmen had accidentally broken through a power cable, and that was it – hours of work lost. I’ve never had anything like that happen with google docs, as it automatically auto-saves, as does wordpress.
Google calendar is very good, businesses are even using it now as a general work calander for things like events and even for staff holidays, as it’s just so easy to use, and reliable.
As I said, I think the rest of these tools are free anyway, but I would hugely Google suite for email for the sake of $5 per month purely from the perspective of being able to avoid the spam. I wish I’d signed up for it much sooner, and personally I would have been happy to pay more to not have to spend time every day sifting through my inbox trying to find some real emails in among the trash, but don’t tell Google that, we don’t want them putting their prices up! 😉
My coder asked me to do something in the Google apps email settings which I couldn’t quite figure out how to do, something to do with allowing emails to be sent directly from a web server, to do with an ecommerce website I manage. I phoned the Google support expecting to be sitting listening to annoying messages for ages, but instead I was chatting to a really helpful tech support guy almost straight away! Also, this wasn’t a triage type setup where someone answers the phone in order to keep you happy, but can’t actually help you and has to create a ticket to get a proper support agent to help, this was an actual tech support agent who was able to physically do what needed doing. He was brilliant, did what I needed in seconds, and was asking me if there was anything else I needed… I wasn’t quite expecting that!
Would I recommend Google suite email based on my experience?
Absolutely, I recommend Google suite email now to all my clients, friends and colleagues, I think it’s a brilliant. I wouldn’t ever go back now to standard IMAP or pop email accounts.
While I’m on the subject of SPAM…
If you do use direct email in order to get new business, or if you’re thinking of doing it, there are a couple of things in my opinion that determine whether it’s spam, and also at the same time, whether it’s a waste of your own time or not.
Obviously I am not suggesting that building an email list is spam, as you have permission to email these people, as long as you follow the requirements of including the unsubscribe link, but if you use an list provider such as Aweber then all this is automatically done anyway.
If you have found the email address of a potential client, and you want to send them an email in order to see if you can get an appointment, or whatever the case may be, then I don’t see this as spam personally as long as you consider the following:
Don’t just find an email address and fire off your email. Ensure that you target potential customers who’re likely to be on the market for your service. If your product or service is general, and there’s no way for you to know for sure that the person you’re thinking of emailing is on the market for such a product or service, then I would personally forget this as a marketing method unless you can see a need that you can communicate to the potential customer.
For example, if you are selling web design services, and you can see that a particular business has an error on their website, you could email them pointing out the error. If you’re selling SEO services, you could look for customers who have no page titles, and email them to point this out, trying to use this as a way in. If you’re selling content writing services, you could contact businesses who have websites with hardly any content, and use this as your way in – and so on.
The better job you do at targeting, the less of a waste of your time it is going to be. If you spend hours emailing people who’re just not on the market for what you’e offering, it’s a complete waste of your time, and a nuisance for them.
Your email address:
Ensure that you have a firstname.lastname@example.org email address, and send all of your marketing emails from this account. Never send marketing emails from a free email account such as Gmail or hotmail. It amazes me the number of people who send me sales emails from a Gmail account, it just doesn’t look good. Even if you don’t have a website as yet, all you need is a domain name which costs very little, and then you can set up Google apps email on your domain regardless of the existence of a website on the domain. I would recommend that anyone doing email marketing has a website to refer to in their emails, but if not then at least have an email account at your domain, and a coming soon note on the home page of your website, which takes very little effort to do.
Consider using a mailing list:
Even if you’re researching and sending one email at a time, it still can be an advantage to add your leads one at a time to a mailing list in order to have an email sent to them, rather than sending direct.
If you use Aweber, you can easily add contacts to your list one at a time, and the first obvious benefit of doing it this way is that you can put them straight into your autoresponder series, so that they get another email a few days later, and another one 7 days after that, or however you decide to schedule your emails.
In addition, the emails will have the unsubscribe link at the bottom which makes it very easy for potential customers to unsubscribe if they’re not interested.
Also, and this is quite important, in Aweber you can turn on link tracking, so you can see which potential clients have clicked on any links in your email, you can also set up conversion tracking if applicable.
And… with link tracking, you can also move on to segmenting, meaning that you can create a list segment of those who have opened the last email, and those who clicked the link in the email, and this is powerful.
Think about it, a potential customer clicks on a link in your email, it means they’re interested, they may be just about ready to go further, but not quite, so they leave it there. A few hours later, as you’ve seen that they opened the link, you move them to a segment, and they get another email with the aim of convincing them to take the next step, whether that is to telephone you, or to visit a particular web page, or to email you.
Have a look at Google suite business email if you hate SPAM and you want a really good email system – and just modify your activities slightly if you’re using email marketing to make sure you don’t slip over into the realms of SPAM – and consider using Aweber, as it’s brilliant!