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Email

The notion that social media is the next big thing in sales seems to have fallen flat on its face. Virtually every study conducted has shown that Facebook and Twitter campaigns only increase brand awareness. As far as driving traffic to your website and converting visitors into customers, email is still king.

A recent study of companies that used a dedicated email marketing client, good newsletter content and personalisation for each reader reported open rates of over 30%, with similar click-through rates – leading to above average conversions. This kicks Facebook’s ass.

Now, the guys behind the industry favourite ‘Mail Chimp’ have been working hard on a new product. It’s called Mandrill and solves many of the nagging issues of traditional email marketing. They claim it trumps the competition by a long-shot. Let’s take a look.

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Not too long ago, I had this sudden realization that I really wanted to get out of Google’s products. I never dipped my feet too far into them, unlike some people, but the services I did use every day — Gmail, Reader, and Blogger —were either changing too much for my own liking or simply going extinct. After Reader’s demise, I switched to Feed Wrangler and didn’t look back. I moved my Blogger to Squarespace, and I’m in love.

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been taking a much more significant challenge and moving all my email to FastMail. Before upgrading, I considered every other possible option. I read countless blogs and opinion pieces on what mail service to use, and none of them felt as up-to-date as they should be. It’s with that in mind that I wanted to take a closer look at the service.

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It would be fair to say that, in the last year or so, email has entered something of a renaissance period. At one stage, not so very long ago, developers were concentrating their minds on how they could replace the decade-old electronic mail system. Now, though, most have realized that email isn’t going away any time soon, and their response has been to innovate with email clients.

The most prominent example of this has been Mailbox. Now owned by Dropbox, this iOS email app has shown one new way in which we can organize our huge flow of incoming messages. For those yet to encounter Mailbox’s basic concept, the sorting process in Mailbox is based upon priority, providing one-finger sorting into categories like Later and Important. Given that Mailbox had a one-million user waiting list during its private beta phase, this idea clearly appeals to many people – including those who don’t have an iPhone.

It is no doubt with some of these people in mind that Handle was created. Handle is more than just another way to access your inbox, though. Billed as a “Priority Engine,” this private beta provides task management, itinerary tracking and an email client all rolled into one.

But is this integrated approach helpful, or a recipe for confusion? Time for a test… (more…)

I’m not only a confessed app junkie, I’m an email hoarder, too. I just counted the number of accounts in Thunderbird and there are a whopping 19 email accounts that I monitor for various reasons. That’s not to mention my various social media accounts. As you can guess, I am always on the lookout for the next great app and I may have stumbled upon one.

Enter Unified Inbox, a new app designed to bring all of your inboxes together. It’s currently free in invite-only beta, and let’s find out how Unified Inbox can wrangle your email and social media accounts and keep you on top of your game. (more…)

Ever since Threadsy closed up shop, I have been looking for a great aggregator that pulls together my email and social networks. And I tried a lot of services which offered an alternative, like Unifyo and Smak. But this isn’t something I wanted to pay for, and most apps had limited features for the free accounts.

So when I came across Alternion, I had a bit of a tough time believing it would actually work for me. I’ve been using it for well over two months now, and I can say that it really does end up being a major time-saver, although there are some features that I would still need before making the switch completely.

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The concept of inbox zero is nothing new. It is a nirvana-like inbox state that many people try to attain. We all know the feeling of glancing at a bulging inbox with emails that are yet to be read, more that need to be responded to, and yet more that need filing or deleting. Doing this by hand can be time consuming, but if you have thousands of messages to deal with, Mailstrom could be the tool to get you back on the right track.

Mailstorm is a new beta email app designed to help you keep your inbox under control. Lets see if it’s the app you need to take your unread messages in your inbox by storm.

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Email is easily one of the most important web apps to most of our work and lives. You need your email to be fast, reliable, and work with all of your native email apps and on the web. If you’re signing up for a personal email account, odds are you’d sign up for Gmail, and if not, would use Outlook.com, iCloud Mail, or Yahoo! mail. For business, email, though, it’s a bit trickier of a question.

Google Apps used to be the simplest option for email on your own domain, but it went from allowing 50 users free per account to just 10, and then recently removed the option for free Apps on your domain without a workaround. Otherwise, it’ll now cost you $5/user/month, and now doesn’t include ActiveSync push. Outlook.com lets you use it with your own domain, but it’s not nearly as powerful for business use, and Microsoft’s more professional Office 365 with Exchange support costs $4/user/month.

Then there’s Atmail Cloud. Atmail has been around as a webmail app for self-hosted email since 1998, and has an interface and feature set that could rival most of the popular consumer-facing email apps. You can run it on your own server, or buy an Atmail appliance, but here we’re going to look at their new hosted service, Atmail Cloud, that gives you online email, calendar, and contacts with Exchange ActiveSync for just $2/user/month. (more…)

So, you have a gigantic file that you want to send to someone? Depending on which service you use for email you may be able to send it as an attachment, but in all likelihood you’re going to exceed the attachment size limit.

You could set up an FTP server or make use of your web space, but this can prove costly in terms of bandwidth. Direct connections are another possibility, but these can be tricky to set up and also pose a security risk. Digital Pigeon is a service that can be used to quickly and easily share files whose sizes are measured in hundreds of megabytes. We take a look to see how it shapes up.

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Sadly, Basecamp Breeze is being shut down August 1st. You’ll need to use another app — perhaps Google Groups or Fiesta — if you want to make email lists now.

If we were going to give an award to the most-enduring web service ever, it’d have to go to email. Countless startups have tried to reinvent or replace it, yet none have succeeded so far. Facebook perhaps has done the most towards killing email for personal use, but now Facebook Messages has email built-in. So much for that.

In the business world, 37signals’ Basecamp is marketed as a better alternate to email for team collaboration. It’s a great tool, one we use daily here at AppStorm, but of all things, I actually manage Basecamp communications from my email account more than I do from the web app itself.

And of all things, 37signals’ latest app is an app for creating dead-simple email lists: Basecamp Breeze.

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About two months ago, I started the process to hire some new personnel at my day job, and I needed a way to keep track of who had applied and where they stood in the hiring process. After some research into basic CRMs, I found Streak.

According to the development team, Streak is CRM in your [Gmail] inbox. And boy, is it ever. Let’s find out how Streak integrates with Gmail and how it will make your life easier. (more…)

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