If you had to give up your desk phone or your email, which one would you choose? I'm not "going there" when it comes to asking about mobile phones.
Still, this choice is hard to think about, because email is such an integral part of every small-business owner's work existence. Yet, pretty much everyone struggles with inbox chaos and with email's increasingly synchronous nature. As in, many people expect an immediate response -- which is tough when you are actually trying to get something else done.
"People end up responding to about 9 percent of the emails that they receive," said Tawheed Kader, CEO of ToutApp.com.
ToutApp.com is one of the Internet service providers aiming to help smaller companies get a better grip on email, by providing templates to help with the creation of repetitive ones and by providing tracking metrics so that you can see who has actually opened something that you have sent.
Speaking of which, you can schedule when you want emails sent (like you would with an emailed newsletter). So, if you're the kind of person who spends Sunday afternoon or evening catching up with your email correspondence, you can schedule those messages to be send on Monday morning.
Templates can help people save up to two minutes per repetitive email, allowing the sender to focus more on adding the personal touches that will help improve the chances that the email will first be opened and second, that it will elicit a response, Kader said.
But ToutApp.com doesn't stop there: Its service helps senders track which emails are opened (and how often). So, you actually know when it might be OK to follow up with a phone call or send a second reminder email without coming off as being a horrible pest.
That information can be integrated directly into your CRM service. Currently, ToutApp.com supports integration with Salesforce, Highrise, CapsuleCRM and Batchbook.
If you use Gmail or Outlook, all the better. That's because ToutApp.com's service integrates directly into those email systems, Kader said. Integration for Apple Mail is planned for the near future, Kader said.
A free version of the ToutApp.com service will let you track five emails per day and create up to 10 templates, Kader said. Paid versions start at $30 per month, depending on the number of emails you want to track per day (the entry threshold is 100 emails).