Stuck in a haunted house or email service? Find out how you can log out for good.

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emailswitchSwitching to a new email service can seem as unsettling as moving from the house you have been living in for a (long) while. And when it involves a business / organization switching to an alternate email service, it’s akin to moving a whole family to a new house.

Migration is tough. Why? You and your family, have gotten used to the familiarity of your current house! This attachment to familiarity gets so strong that even if your house were haunted, over time, you would be accustomed to a levitating chair, creaking doors, eerie sounds or even the spouse acting weird now and then.

And when such happenings do manage to push you to consider moving, the very thought of ‘the process of moving’ to a new unfamiliar dwelling, intimidates you from proceeding with it. What can be pleasant about sorting through accumulated house stuff, packing and loading boxes to a truck and praying nothing gets broken or lost in transport?

Besides, what’s the assurance that chairs will not float in your new place too? Unsure of how the other options will turn out, you stay in the established comfort zone – the known devil. ‘The Enduring’ continues.

That is the exact same way people get attached to a familiar email service despite its downside.

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Managing your email attachments got better with Dropbox integration in Zoho Mail

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dropbox-zmail-integration-nsWe are glad to announce that we have integrated Dropbox – one of most popular file storage and sharing services out there – into Zoho Mail. You can now add and attach files directly to and from Dropbox while going through your email routine in just a few clicks.

Dropbox lets you conveniently access all your favorite documents, pictures and videos, stored at a central space online, from anywhere. It can also keep your files in sync across devices you have it installed, by storing a copy locally and comes with neat file sharing options.

Well, but what if you find yourself scripting an urgent email on say a public computer without Dropbox installed and would like to fetch some files you recently stored there? You could log into Dropbox in a new tab, download the necessary files locally before attaching them or else use the Dropbox sharing features and then get back to your email. Slightly nagging this, isn’t it?

To make things easier in such situations, we have brought the convenience of Dropbox into Zoho Mail by enabling you to:

Attach files directly from Dropbox
Fire up the new Dropbox action in message compose view to browse through the files in your Dropbox account and select to directly attach them to your message (your Zoho Mail plan’s attachment limits apply).

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Store email attachments directly in Dropbox
Use the new Add to Dropbox option provided when you have messages with attachments to directly store them in your Dropbox account.

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Getting the hang of how this simple yet effective integration works is pretty straight forward. For stepwise instructions, check our help pages on attaching files from Dropbox and uploading attachments to Dropbox.

We thank the Dropbox team for their help and assistance during the development of this integration.

So Zoho Mail now provides the most number of options to manage your attachments – Zoho Docs, our own file storage application, Google Drive and the latest, Dropbox.

We hope this integration is a useful addition to manage your email attachments. As always, your feedback, comments and suggestions are welcome.

Now, get up to 20 free users, when you host email with Zoho Mail

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referral-smallLast month, we announced the increase in Zoho Mail Lite, our free hosted email plan, making it free up to 5 users. We were overwhelmed and humbled by the compliments showered by you, our users. We did hope that it would bring some cheer to our small business friends but it felt more like euphoria.

So we have decided to spend even more money with you, instead of hiring consulting firms or on ‘ads with words’. Starting today, you can gain 15 more bonus users in your business email account, free forever. This is in addition to what comes with your plan. That means you can sign up for the Lite plan with 5 free users included + get 15 bonus users, making it 20 free users in total.  All you have to do is invite other businesses to host email with Zoho Mail.

For every referred business that signs up and hosts email with us, we’ll add 5 bonus users to your account. Wait…. not just your account; we’ll add 5 bonus users to the referred business’ account also. A two-way bonus! Gain up to 15 bonus users through your first three successful referrals.

This is a win-win situation for your business, the businesses you invite and us, the Zoho Mail team:

  1. You do not have to pay for more users as your business expands and new employees come in.
  2. You can help an entrepreneur friend, paying for say 10 hosted email users elsewhere, pay nothing for the same 10 users with Zoho Mail. As in, if their business signs up for the Lite plan, they’ll get 5 free users included in the plan + 5 bonus users for being referred by you. And then they can refer other businesses and gain 10 more users.
  3. And for us, word of mouth is the best way to spread awareness about a business and gain brand recognition. With your active participation, we hope Zoho Mail is considered the ‘go to email for business’.

Since this is about a business inviting other businesses, only the administrator of your Zoho Mail business account will be able to send out invitations. If you are a Zoho Mail fan but not the email administrator, please share the email info of your friends and business acquaintances with your IT / email admin to send out invitations.

bonus-users-cpZoho Mail administrators can send invitations from the new Bonus Users section in the control panel. The invitation will contain a referral code, unique to every Zoho Mail business account. More details on how this referral program works can be found in our referrals page.

We hope this will be of good benefit to you and your (our) small business friends.

As always, we are all ears for your comments and feedback.

Email With CRM inside; A Must Have For Sales People Who Live In Email

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So you managed to set up this fantastic Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application, which is without a doubt helping your sales team close more deals faster. But then, it dawns on you that some of your sales people are still obsessed with using Email for exchanging messages.

The more you notice them spending time in keeping the two tools in sync, you get this nagging feeling that maybe your Email service and CRM should interact with each other?

Let’s face it. It is an irrefutable fact that we are all still obsessed with checking and responding through Email even amidst the burst of social media channels. You simply cannot write it off, particularly as a communication medium for business. Trying to treat CRM and Email as two exclusive tools, is probably not too prudent.

In our view, as a provider of online business apps that include an award winning CRM and ads-free business email service, the stance to take is not CRM or Email, it is CRM and Email, integrated with each other.

For instance, imagine how nice it would be if, from within your Email service you could:

Automatically identify leads, prospects, customers (or in short CRM contacts)
You just realized that you promised to send an email with some important documents attached to a new prospect with a first name….Patrick, last name….ugh….? You hit compose in your Email interface, start entering ‘pat….’ and bam!

crmleads-autoprompt

There amongst the list of possible Patricks, suggested automatically, under a section clearly demarcated as ‘CRM Contacts and Leads’, you find ‘Patrick…..Yee’. Yes, that’s him. You select his email id and start composing your message. Without having to navigate away from your Email.

Auto-magically filter emails from the people who matter most (that is your CRM contacts)
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Your Inbox is overflowing as usual and you wish to somehow directly get to those emails that are truly worth reading and responding to.

Oh wait! Since your Email connects with your company’s CRM, your CRM contacts’ messages are automatically filtered into your ‘MustReadEmails’  folder. Better to check this CRMBox in your Inbox then.

That’s a relief!

 

Equip yourself with utmost information about your leads and prospects
Hasn’t there been at least one instance where you ended up confusing a prospect because he had conversations with multiple people in your business, who were out of sync with each other?

zcg-crm2Thanks to the CRM contextual gadget in your Email, you can now quickly skim through notes recorded about a contact by your colleagues, events and demos scheduled, completed and more. Having gained a deeper insight on the accumulated impact of interactions as team, rather than just you individually, you can proceed to create new CRM tasks from within your email. And all of your actions will directly reflect in your business’ CRM. Nice, isn’t it?

Now wouldn’t it be wonderful if Email & CRM are integrated with each other in such non-intrusive, contextual ways?

Does your Email service include such CRM integrations? Does your CRM come with a MailMagnet?

Isn’t an email service with CRM integrations, a must have for sales people who live in email?

Well, these integrations are already in place between Zoho Mail and Zoho CRM. Maybe it’s time you switched to a smarter email hosting service, built for business use?

Latest Zoho Calendar Updates: Sync for Google Calendar, Birthday Calendar

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Managing your daily appointments, events and meetings can get overwhelming as you switch between your favorite calendar applications; on your mobile, desktop, web browser. Keeping them all in sync is no easy task and to do this manually will simply not be pleasant.

With Zoho Calendar, we would like our users to be in sync with their daily events automatically, even while using other calendar apps. In this light, we are glad to announce 2-way sync for Google Calendar, available for users of organizations / businesses subscribed to a Zoho Mail suite standard plan.


You can enable this feature from the Zoho Calendar settings page by selecting ‘Sync’ from the left options and then following a few simple steps. Once the synchronization is complete, whenever you create, edit or modify event details in your Google calendar, the same will reflect in your Zoho Calendar and vice versa. Please be advised that it takes around 5 minutes for changes to sync at this time. We are working towards making this instantaneous.

On a lighter note, we have also rolled out a birthday calendar feature to keep track of your contacts’ special day. After all, however grown up and mature we may consider ourselves to be, doesn’t a birthday wish invoke a smile at the least? In fact, a simple birthday wish may even score some brownie points with a business prospect. Just subscribe to Zoho Contacts’ birthday information in a few simple steps from Zoho Calendar and be prompt with your good wishes.

We hope to come up with more updates that will help you stay in sync and be on top of your daily agendas. Please spare some time to provide feedback and suggestions on how else we can improve your calendar experience.

Context Is Everything: Introducing Zoho Mail Contextual Gadgets

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Keeping focus on users’ information and its context in connection with other applications and services has always been the Zoho way of developing apps. We have after all been altruistic to have integrated our top apps like Zoho CRM, Zoho Projects and Zoho Invoice with external applications such as, for example, Gmail for the benefit of Google Apps users with whom we compete in some market segments.

Considering the fact that Zoho’s own portfolio of apps is one of the broadest around, developing tighter integrations between Zoho Apps tops our list of priorities. The goal is to move towards a ‘one Zoho’ experience so that whichever app a user happens to be, it pulls relevant information from other apps, and displays it in the right context.

Today, we are happy to announce contextual gadgets in Zoho Mail. You will now notice an uncanny strip with action icons at the bottom right corner of the Zoho Mail UI (can be disabled/enabled under Zoho Mail settings), when you open an email message.

These action icons provide connections to Zoho CRM, Zoho People, Zoho Contacts, Zoho Tasks and Zoho Notes, right when you go through your daily dose of emails; your mind fresh and ready to take action in context to the messages received. Here is a quick summary of how each gadget action can help:

CRM:
We are confident that Zoho CRM users will love this Zoho Mail gadget. From within a message view in Zoho Mail, users can view existing tasks, events, notes and potentials related to the sender from the associated CRM contact records and also add new items.

Let’s say you are an ardent sales person, ever ready to garner information about your prospects. When you click the CRM gadget action, all existing notes, events, tasks and potentials relevant to the contact will be automatically pulled from your business’ Zoho CRM account and displayed without you having to navigate away from the email view. Loaded with additional relevant information in seconds, email interactions with your leads and prospects can be fine tuned for better impact to close more deals in less time.

In combination with the MailMagnet feature in Zoho CRM, this means a 2-way handshake between the two services. And stay tuned for more news on the CRM+Mail friendship.

Info:
Have you realized that a simple phone call or a quick face-to-face meeting with someone within reach could save you a lot of time from having to go through frivolous exchange of emails? Ever sent classic one liners like “Hey, coffee at 4pm?”, to someone 3-4 cubicles away? In Zoho Mail, you can now rather use the info gadget to load the direct contact details of your peers, prospects and colleagues and communicate naturally during situations where exchanging emails is in fact redundant.

Notes:
If you are not in the habit of taking quick notes while perusing emails, you have no idea how many key points, cool ideas and crucial information you are allowing to evaporate into nothingness. We do understand that it can be nagging to scribble away on paper or switch to a notepad app now and then. Well, using the Notes gadget, users can fire up a simple notes editor in seconds from within the email view, making it downright easy for users to cultivate the habit of taking notes. All notes can be accessed later from the Zoho Notes app.

Tasks:
The most productive way to deal with email overload is to convert incoming requests, suggestions, discussions that require action into tasks. With the Task gadget action, users can add tasks without having to move away from the email view. So not only does this make it easy to compile a list of tasks but also helps in defining tasks with utmost clarity with the context of the original email retained during task creation.

This is just the tip of the ice berg towards providing a tightly integrated experience while using multiple Zoho apps. Contextual gadgets for more Zoho and external services on the way; because context is everything.

As always we humbly request you to spare some time to share your opinions and suggestions to fulfill our appetite for feedback.

Great Ideas Start As Random Scribbles

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Be it the iPhone, Statue of Liberty, Tower Bridge, or for that matter the laptop, tablet or phone you are reading this post on, their designs most probably started as a scribble.

Who knows, even Jony Ive may have drawn a rough rectangle on a paper napkin, the casual scribble causing the edges to be curved, resulting in an ‘aha!’ moment and the iPhone design took its first form (purely imagined situation).

The freedom of being able to express an idea, feeling or thought with a quick, simple sketch, is any day a more fun and easy way to unleash ideas (that mostly flash at odd times, all of a sudden) than to toil with a Photoshop tool that demands professional skills.

At Zoho, we have always been fond of the freedom to scribble. That is why we have now made it possible for you to get your fingers do more exercise than just tap on letter keys while composing emails. You can now find a scribble button in compose view when you access Zoho Mail mobile version from your iPhone, iPad, Android touch devices. Tap it to load an ultra lite drawing interface and scribble away.

We surmise that this feature will score first as a fun tool, especially with people who love to draw, like Draw Something mobile app enthusiasts.

Since it’s Thanksgiving season, you could try bringing your latent drawing skills to the fore. How about draw a cool ecard, egreeting, cartoon to your friends and loved ones or get cute while inviting someone for lunch or coffee, right from Zoho Mail compose? Here are a some samples for inspiration:

Well, fun is good but we wanted to make this feature useful for business and official situations too. We thought about how people send emails with images of bar charts, flow charts, design sketches etc., as attachments, seeking reviews and opinions while collaborating.

So we further added the ability to use any attached image as a canvas in scribble mode, when you reply to such messages. This way you can quickly express yourself by drawing on top of the image, save it as an attachment or inline in your message, hit send to reply.

 

So there! Next time you are on the move and have a ‘eureka!’ moment or even a hunch, take out your iPhone, iPad or your favorite touch device, log in to Zoho Mail on your mobile browser, scribble email the idea to your colleague(s) right away and set your idea into execution mode. Because great ideas start as random scribbles.

As always, we’d love to hear your comments and feedback on how this feature worked for you.