(Let me start by saying I am new to Activerain so please excuse any obvious blogging blunders.) I attended the Activerain seminar in Atlantic City and came away impressed with the open transfer of knowledge. Therefore, I feel compelled to share something I have found very useful over the past couple of years.
One of the speakers was Katerina Gasset. She did a fantastic job conveying her business plans and explaining how she culled business out of Activerain (which I guess is referred to as AR by veterans). I think the first thing she said was that everyone should get a gmail account. I personally could not agree more. (I have been using gmail for a few years but I immediately signed up for a google apps account when it became available and set up gmail using my own domain name for marketing reasons. I don't see why I should advertise an @gmail account as opposed to @mydomainname.com since that is a missed marketing opportunity....)
There are some serious quirks in gmail which are tough to get over at first (ie: conversations versus threads - which can be turned off now but I like conversations). My biggest complaint is that I can't sort the email by a column header!
The BEST feature for me in gmail is figuring out who SOLD my email address. Or, in the case of Epsilon Data Management, got hacked and lost my information to spammers.
Gmail has a filter feature. This feature in and of itself does not make it unique. But if you combine the filter with the ability to append your email address with a + sign and add any words after the plus sign then it becomes extremely useful. For example, say my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Using the + sign I actually have an unlimited number of gmail addresses which are all routed to my main gmail account. So email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com all go to the same gmail place.
Then the use of filters in gmail comes into play. You set up a filter and filter by the "To:" and put in the email address you setup as the filter criteria.
Click on "Next" and then you can apply a label which will tell you what email address was used to send you the email.
It is important to understand that an email can be labeled with multiple labels so this doesn't restrict you from labeling the email with something useful, like the clients name.
You can also forward the email to another email account (with permissions setup in advance) or mark the email as spam, etc. This is how I keep some of the spam out of my inbox or mark messages from clients as important.
This is one small, useful benefit of gmail. Technically it is call plus-addressing or disposable email addressing. I understand that Yahoo Plus, MobileMe Plus and some other email providers allow you to do this also.
As an aside, the best shortcut for learning shortcuts within gmail is the "shift ?" key combination.
I find being able to do this very helpful and hope you do too!