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Need help crafting a confident email? Lavender is here to help

(TECH NEWS) The browser extension tool, Lavender, helps you write a better and more confident email that can help increase open rates.

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Lavender, an email tool made to help you craft a professional, clear, and confident email.

Composing the perfect, confident email message takes time. There’s always an endless amount of writing and rewriting. Finding the right words and the best format to get your message across isn’t an easy task, well, unless you simply don’t care.

In 2020, we spent a great deal more of our time sending out emails, which means we’ve spent a lot of more time typing, deleting, and typing again. Now, wouldn’t it be nice to have a tool that could help us improve our emails and increase our open rates, too?

Well, Lavender says they can do just that. Lavender is a browser extension tool that is both a writing and productivity assistant specifically for your inbox. “Our mission is to build the most helpful email assistant on the planet to help you write more thoughtful, confident, and effective emails faster,” said Co-founder and CEO of Lavender, William Ballance.

To become “the most helpful email assistant,” Lavender has an array of cool features. So, here are some of the things Lavender can do.

AI-Generated Sentence Recommendations from CATIE
CATIE (Creative Algorithms for Text and Image Enhancement) is Lavender’s language and image AI. The assistant helps your writing be more “confident, concise, and clear” by offering sentence replacements.

Always-on Email Coaching
Similar to Grammarly, Lavender will highlight text that needs work, could use some improvement, or is ready to go. In doing so, you can make changes before hitting send.

Easy-Insert GIFs
You can easily search for and add GIFs into your email without having to leave your inbox. And, Lavender’s computer vision models can detect if and how that GIF changes the tone in your email. So, you are less likely to accidentally add a GIF you thought was one thing, but, unfortunately, turned out to be completely something else.

Mobile Preview
Most of the content we consume today is through a mobile device, and Lavender recognizes this. The app has a Mobile Preview right in the inbox so you can quickly edit and see how your email will look like on a mobile device.

Company Insights
The tool does pull insights on the people you are emailing with, such as a photo, bio, and social media posts, but it doesn’t stop there. Lavender shows you insights and data on the company the people you email work for, such as revenue, headcount, tweets, etc. According to a company blog post, this feature will make it “super simple and quick to research your prospect and send a personalized email without ever leaving your inbox.”

Deliverability Score / Spam Check
No one wants their email ending up in the spam folder, but sometimes it happens. To avoid this from occurring, the tool runs a language analysis on your email to search for “common spam triggers”. Depending on what it detects, it will tell you if it’s safe to send or not.

Email Address Verification
Don’t know if that email is correct? Well, Lavender makes it easier to know by automatically verifying email addresses. It will show you if the address is valid, invalid, or if the target mail server responded with an error message.

Email Scoring
Also similar to Grammarly, the tool scores your confident email from A through F. (Wait, did I forget to mention Lavender works with Grammarly? Well, it does.) The score is based on “how likely your email is to be opened, read, understood, and positively replied to by your recipient.”

Best Practices Check
Based on data from millions of emails, Lavender checks your email to make sure there isn’t something that might lower your reply rate.

Open Awareness
With Open Awareness, you are able to see when, on what device, and what time someone opened your email. By tracking this information, the tool can calculate your recipient’s local time so you know when to call or email them back.

Writing Time
When you start drafting an email, Lavender starts a Writing Timer that keeps track of how long you’ve been crafting your message.

Reading Time
Let’s face it. No one likes to read LONG emails. And, when one does come our way, who doesn’t just flag it so you can follow up later? I know I can’t say I’ve never done it before. To prevent you from sending recipients long emails, the tool also has a Reading Timer.

Based on the average reading speed, Lavender calculates how long it will take your recipient to read your email. If the timer is getting big, you can gauge whether you should shorten your email or not.

Overall, Lavender’s offerings seem very interesting, especially if they help make your emails better and increase open rates. Currently, the tool works on G-Suite and Outlook 365. If you’d like to give it a shot, you can check out the different pricing tiers here.

Veronica Garcia has a Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Science in Radio/TV/Film from The University of Texas at Austin. When she’s not writing, she’s in the kitchen trying to attempt every Nailed It! dessert, or on the hunt trying to find the latest Funko Pop! to add to her collection.

Real Estate Technology

Do you give out your phone number? You may want to rethink…

(TECHNOLOGY) As a real estate agent, its tempting to give out your number to whoever asks for it. But be cautious of what exactly you’re giving out.

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Man giving out phone number using his phone representing addiction.

Friendly reminder: You do not need to share your cell phone number with everyone.

This sounds like a simple statement, but with the abundance of accounts and reliance on technology for pure convenience, most people freely give away their personal numbers without considering the consequences.

An extension of yourself

As the dependency on smartphones has increased, privacy standards have decreased.

Using a phone number to unlock an account or shop online is so common that many people don’t think twice before typing it in.

Even if this nonchalant attitude has never led to anything detrimental, there is always the possibility of your account being hacked. Having your phone number attached to this account will only make everything worse. For example, if a hacker finds their way into a Macy’s database, they can use the phone numbers tied to member accounts to access other information.

By simply knowing your cell phone number, all the accounts associated with it are jeopardized.

Think of how many times you have been asked for your cell phone number. Of course, disregard the interested strangers, family and friends and you’ll find that this sharing still occurs multiple times throughout the week. Email and social media pages may ask for it to verify your account. Retailers may ask for it for marketing purposes.

Bank accounts, rewards programs, and even ordering a pizza requires you to share your number.

Keep it secret, keep it safe

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to prevent hackers from stealing your information.

The first thing is simple, don’t share your phone number with everyone. Just because a customer service representative or online form asks for your number does not mean that it is required. You can deny their request if it is not mandatory. Second, don’t open links sent via text from numbers you do not recognize. Sending these links is a common way hackers use phone numbers to access other information.

You can also have a separate phone number for personal use to limit contact from spammers and unknown callers.

Never be afraid to ask questions when it comes to your privacy. Though freely sharing personal information is the norm these days, it does not mean that you have to participate.

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Real Estate Technology

Rating the quality of your meetings could create more efficient work teams

(TECHNOLOGY) SurveySparrow has a plugin that allows you to rate meetings. It could help you and your team evaluate and improve future meetings.

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meetings

We love data. We are in a data-driven world. We like giving our feedback via customer reviews, social media comments, surveys, and Twitter (yes, Bob, everyone knows your flight was delayed). Tell us what the data says. Well, it might be a great time to finally get some data on all those meetings you’ve been having.

Many people are sick of meetings; we sit in a lot of them that then need follow-ups because either we didn’t have an agenda, or we didn’t get through the agenda. There also may be additional meetings because no one really knows what is going on, or people are unable to have a solid plan in place (thanks to the global pandemic) and require more frequent check-ins/status updates.

Perhaps we’d all dread meetings less if they could be improved and justified as a much better use of time. G suite just made available a free plugin, by SurveySparrow, that could possibly help your company improve your meetings:

RateTheMeeting helps you improve meetings by collecting feedback to understand what works and what doesn’t for your teams, divisions, or company. With this data (feedback), it might be possible to stick to agendas and the purpose of the meeting, prevent topics that require a separate discussion and make sure that everyone’s time is well spent. It syncs to your calendar and automatically follows up with attendees to collect feedback after each meeting. You can see how it works on YouTube here.

While this seems like a helpful tool, the biggest hurdle may come from management first. They may not want feedback on meetings if they feel that meetings are necessary and the most valuable way to communicate for their teams. It also might be one more data set that they have to sort and mine.

Next, employees may not want to rate each meeting on top of their already busy schedules. They likely would only want to do this if it would make real change within the meeting culture of the organization. Either way, it might be nice to just offer a thumbs up or thumbs down for each meeting (for funsies?).

It’s always hard to please everyone, so you’ll just have to decide if adding this function is more trouble than it’s worth.

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Real Estate Technology

20 free professional marketing tools to kickstart growth for your business

(TECHNOLOGY) Running a small business is a ton of work and you need all the help you can get. Here are 20 free tools that help make it a little easier.

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digital tools

When running your business, big or small, you’re only as good as what’s in your arsenal. This applies to your ability to be creative and think on your feet, as well as to have tangible tools at your disposal.

Below, we’ve outlined 20 of the top free tools that are designed to help grow your business – let us know in the comments what you love or what you’d add!

  1. Google Analytics – this is a definite need. With the world continuing to grow more and more digital, it’s necessary to know how your business is operating in the online realm. Google Analytics provides data about your small business, including traffic to your site and clicks on links. It gives you an idea of who is visiting and when, allows you to track your goals, and generate audience reports. Google also offers virtual classes that teach you how to master the platform.
  2. Hotjar – want to understand exactly how visitors are using your site without getting lost in the shuffle of numbers and data? Hotjar is where it’s at. You can see a user’s behavior and their exact process of perusing the site. There are also tools like feedback polls that allow your audience to interact with you when using your site.
  3. Canva – this is one of the best visual tools to create graphics for your company, both to print for physical display and to use on social media. The platform is easy-to-use and allows for a myriad of sizing options, backgrounds, and stock images.
  4. ProProfs Help Desk – this is a ticketing system that allows your visitors to contact customer service and start a thread of communication; all while keeping everything ticketed and organized. This also allows for shared inboxes, ticket resolution via chat, and ticket reduction up to 80% with knowledge base.
  5. JungleScout – this is your best friend when it comes to learning to sell on Amazon. Regardless of where you are in your seller journey, this tool will help you maximize your skillset.
  6. Kickstarter – crowdsourcing for your business without giving away the equity. This lets you recruit micro-investors and donors for your new business venture.
  7. MailChimp – This is an all-in-one tool that is necessary for all small business users. According to their website, “Bring your audience data, marketing channels, and insights together so you can reach your goals faster. With Mailchimp, you can promote your business across email, social, landing pages, shoppable landing pages, postcards, and more — all from a single platform.”
  8. Shopify – this platform has helped over one million businesses around the world and is continuing to help small businesses thrive. Shopify allows users to create and design an eCommerce website that is backed by helpful tools that help discover new customers, drive sales, and manage your business’s day-to-day operations.
  9. Buffer – provides simple social media tools that receive authentic engagement. Tell the story of your brand while growing your audience. The platform includes publishing, analytics, and engagement.
  10. Qualaroo – this is a customer and user feedback software that states its value as ten times higher than email surveys. It comes with what you need for useful feedback, including AI-powered analytics and reports.
  11. Zapier – a platform to connect your apps and automate workflow. Zapier moves information automatically between your web applications, allowing for more focus on the most important work.
  12. Doodle – a scheduling platform that allows meetings to be booked faster and smarter. No more need for an hour of back-and-forth emailing in order to nail down a meeting time.
  13. Docracy – a home for contracts and other legal documents, created by the community that uses them. The idea is to make these common documents easily available for everyone.
  14. Slack – the ideal way to communicate with your team and keep everyone on the same page at all times. This is a central communication hub where you and your team will stay in the loop, ask questions, and share updates.
  15. GoDaddy Website Builder – this is an extremely user-friendly tool that allows you to build websites that looks as though you paid someone hundreds to build it for you. There are many options for customization, and they have the tools that help your site look great on both desktop and mobile.
  16. ToDoIst – For many, it’s impossible to stay organized without the use of a to-do list. With this tool, you (and your team!) can stay organized with the most important tasks and priorities.
  17. Grammarly – When writing copy for your business’s brand, it is important to have as many eyes read through it as possible for any errors. Grammarly is a tool where you can plug your copy in and it will automatically find and highlight any grammar errors or typos. You can never be too careful!
  18. AdobeSign – Formerly known as EchoSign, this tool allows for paperless signatures that help make signing contracts and agreements as easy as the swipe of a finger.
  19. Sumo – a platform filled with tools to help you grow your website. It’s a free email capturing tool that takes only seconds to sign up.
  20. Pixabay – We don’t always have the time or the money to take photos to go along with our website copy and social media posts. Pixabay helps alleviate that need with free stock images that will help your message pop.

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