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?

Our Management Consultants Recommended That We Kill Our Free Email Plan; We’re Increasing It Instead

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When it comes to hosted email options for your business, there is not a whole lot to choose from unless you want to compromise on quality. There’s Microsoft’s Office 365. There’s Google Apps. And there’s Zoho Mail. We think Zoho Mail is better, but then again, we’re kind of biased.

And if you’re a small business, your options are even more limited. Until some time ago, Google Apps had a free edition. It started with unlimited users and decreased then gradually until they finally canceled it. Microsoft chose to never give anything away for free (shocker, I know!).

Now, here’s something we haven’t told anyone: When Google Apps Free Edition went the way of the dodo, Zoho Mail registrations shot up through the roof. Want some proof?

Of course, I was just being facetious with the title. We didn’t hire a management consulting firm, because we already know what they would say. Their recommendation would be: ”Well, your two other competitors don’t have a Free plan, so why would you? Don’t offer anything free now, and instead make more money.”.

Instead of spending money with the consulting firm, we decided to spend that money with you, our users. Starting today, we’re increasing our Free plan for Zoho Mail, making it even better and making it completely free for up to 5 users. When we say completely free, we not only mean that you pay nothing for it, but also that you don’t have to deal with ads. Free and ad-free.

Even though Zoho Mail now is the only viable option for small businesses looking for a great -and free- hosted email solution, we’re not backing away from our commitment to our small business friends.

Rodrigo

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.

The Incredibly-Shrinking Google Apps Free Edition Is Gone; Zoho Committed To Helping Small Businesses

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Google just yesterday announced it is giving the axe to the free edition of Google Apps (i.e. the Standard Edition). So from now on Google Apps only has a single version: the paid one. This is not exactly news to those of us who do business in this space. Google Apps free edition has gone from “unlimited users” to 100, to 50, to 10 and now, well.. to 0.

This is bad news for small businesses who are just getting started and who would rather use their limited amount of funds somewhere else. Although, software services are not expensive these days (for the most part), every single dollar counts when you’re getting started.

That’s the reason why we at Zoho remain committed to helping the small guys – new businesses just launching, the ones who are not able to commit just yet. That’s also reflected in our pricing structure – we’ve never required a yearly contract for any of our services. Sure, we’ll give you a nice discount if you do, but you can choose to subscribe on a monthly basis.

For those users looking for a great web mail service, and who want to get started for free, we’ll continue to offer our free plan for hosted mail – that is not going away anytime soon. We want to continue servicing Small Businesses.

It’s not just email – the vast majority of Zoho services are free for our growing customers –  from attracting more customers with Zoho CRM to having a mobile-enabled website presence, for free to online invoicing so you can get your money faster to…  well, pretty much everything Zoho offers.

And of course, with over 14 Apps, we continue to be one of the leading vendors in the Google Apps Marketplace. So whether you start with Zoho Mail or you start with Google Apps, you still have access to all the rest Zoho has to offer.

Thats why over 7 million people have chosen Zoho to, as we say, “Work Online”!

Rodrigo

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.