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Small Business Outlook Email Organization

For anyone involved with a very small (1-2 person) small business, yet are still required to operate as a larger one, and be efficient; how do you automate and organize the email system?

My one man outfit has currently about eight (8) emails that require maintaining.  Everything from 'support@', 'sales@', 'webmaster@', to 'myfullname@', etc.  I have chosen to use Outlook 2002 and thus far have managed to kludge together a mediocre system with a combination of 'Rules' and their relative assorted directories under the main account.  Replies to the emails are automatically under that specific email name and then once sent, copied to its 'sent' subdirectory.  Yet the main 'Sent' directory gets a copy too.  (get it?)

Anyway, its the best hack job that I've been able to accomplish.  But there is one exception, that I haven't been able to find any info, anywhere on how to mimic.

Setting up a 'Hotmail' account under Outlook 2002 immediately BRANCHES its *own* tree structure with its own 'Inbox, Deleted Items, Sent Items...', etc.  If anyone has any idea how to do that for each of my seperate email business accounts, I would be indebted to you.

So can Outlook 2002 do it?  ...or...  What other tool might be better suited?

sedwo
Friday, May 30, 2003

As far as rules and folders are concerned, I've found Eudora to be generally better than Outlook. However, the latest versions of Eudora are becoming memory hogs, so now I'm trying Pegasus mail, though I'm not sold yet.

You might also look at Popfile, which is a bayesian/keyword filtering mail proxy, and can create headers in your mail which your mail client can then filter on.

Don't know if this directly answers what you're asking?

Philo

Philo
Friday, May 30, 2003

Excuse the poor articulation of my problem.
But put very simply, how do I make myself look and act like a multiperson organization very efficiently through email?

I forgot to mention, that Outlook is also the tool of choice for the reason that it directly 'syncs' with Pocket PC's.  And I sort of need that feature.

sedwo
Friday, May 30, 2003

Ahh... sorry

Well, I'll assume that the hotmail is solely for personal use, because no credible business communications should ever, ever be done through hotmail.

As for dealing with the inbound, use Outlook's "group by" or simply use different folders.

Mind you, if you're communicating with the same person, don't try to do "talk to my sales dept." when that's you - it's transparent and silly. There are ways to handle this without giving away the game - "let me get some sales materials and get back to you" or something similar. This is actually a double-plus because if you can play it right, the client thinks you're doing them a favor by handling everything for them instead of handing them off to a half-dozen people (this is how some large companies handle preferred clients)

Philo

Philo
Friday, May 30, 2003

>>
Well, I'll assume that the hotmail is solely for personal use, because no credible business communications should ever, ever be done through hotmail.
<<

I believe that sedwo simply named Hotmail as an example of what he wants.  He didn't say that he plans to use Hotmail for business, but rather that he'd like his separate business accounts to branch out independently into their own tree structure (as the Hotmail account does). 

I don't know how to do this but I'm hoping someone else does and answers!

SomeBody
Saturday, May 31, 2003

I like Pegasus Mail, but don't know that it could do what you want. http://www.pmail.com/

I also like http://www.mailshell.com but I don't know that it could do what you want.

What about that six degrees thing that Joel was promoting a while back? http://www.creo.com

www.MarkTAW.com
Saturday, May 31, 2003

IMAP accounts have separate inboxes etc. in Outlook 2002 IIRC.

Chris Altmann
Saturday, May 31, 2003

Outlook can cope with having its mail store on a remote server, or on the local hard disk in a .pst file (what Outlook 2002 calls an ("Outlook Data File") Since you're a small business, you're probably using a .pst file rather than an Exchange server!

The good news is that you can configure as many .pst files as you like. Each one will look like a seperate mailbox with its own inbox, outbox, calendar etc. You will still have to rely on rules to move emails to the appropriate place. Do send a few test emails to check who they are "from".

To create a .pst file, use "Import/Export" on the "File" menu. To open it, use "Open->Outlook Data file" on the File menu. Oh, and "View->Folder List" if you haven't already.

A.T.
Saturday, May 31, 2003

And if you have an ADSL connection with either a fixed IP or willing to use a dynamic DNS, you could also run your own mail server at home and set up different e-mail aliases (support, contact, etc.) to hide the fact that they end in your mailbox ultimately.

Mercury Mail Transport System for Win32 is pretty good. Free, fast, easy to use.

http://www.pmail.com/

Frederic Faure
Saturday, May 31, 2003

---
put very simply, how do I make myself look and act like a multiperson organization very efficiently through email?
---

I can't help but ask:  Why?  Is all that deceit really worth the effort?

Customers aren't stupid -- they can figure out who they're dealing with.

Eric W. Sink
Saturday, May 31, 2003

It is not meant to deceive but to create the proper infrastructure of an efficient corporation.  This also improves the scalability issues; as the company grows, the proper systems will already be in place and simplify transitions.  Being organized and automated as much as possible are key concepts to lowering one's overhead (especially in small businesses) and working efficiently; leaving me more time to focus on product development and such.  As opposed to wasting my time sorting emails in this case.

sedwo
Saturday, May 31, 2003

From the mail server not the client

If you have a domain name, change the mail server to forward it all to the appropriate accounts.

Kent Design4Effect
Saturday, May 31, 2003

What deciept.. that's not deciept, it's business

If you have 2 email addresses bob@site.com and billing@site.com do you care that they go to the same person? Of course not but the person who's sending it to billing@site.com won't be wondering if he's sending his billing question to the right person.

Kent Design4Effect
Saturday, May 31, 2003

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