Are you using an “” email address?

If you log into your Open Leads account with email address, you may have noticed you are having trouble getting mail sent from Open Leads delivered to your contacts. Why? Last month Yahoo changed their authentication process which has effected every single Email Service Provider like Open Leads. When email is sent from your Open Leads account, we configure it so that it appears to the end user as though it came from the email address you log in with (by default) or from the “From” address you enter when composing the email message, although the message is actually sent from our email system.

With the changes Yahoo has implemented, this email process no longer validates when received by certain other ISPs, such as AOL, Hotmail, Gmail and Comcast, among others). Messages sent to addresses at these domains will most likely bounce immediately, even thought the email addresses are valid.

This new policy not only affected Open Leads, but other companies that provide email marketing services, such as Constant Contact, MailChimp, etc.

The solution for at this point is to not use your Yahoo address as the from address in any messages you send from your Open Leads account. The best solution is if you have an email address at your domain (i.e. “”) – or, if you do not have access to that, you can use one that is not an actual address (such as “”) – however using this method means that any response from the recipient will not be received. If you do not have access to a company email account, then your best bet is to use another free email service, such as Gmail and avoid Yahoo altogether.

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Analyzing your data: Views and PDF Reports

How many new leads did you receive last month?

How many sales were closed?

Does one of your sales staff have way too many “No Sales?”

The answer to these types of questions are easily found using Views. Views are a combination of filters, and displayed data that users are able to save and load upon demand. In order to effectively create these Views to use as “Reports” for your account, a basic understanding of the filters that are available in your account is essential

Because Open Leads is based on an extremely powerful database, your account can contain a substantial amount of data that you can be extracted using filters. From your Lead List, filters are available to sort by the data contained in any of your fields, along with Type, User, Lead Source, Lead Grouping, Read/Unread, Date Added, Date Modified, Opted out (of email), Bounced (email), Active and Completed tasks. Take some time to add and remove some filters to get an idea of how you can best sort data. By combining filters, you can retrieve specific lists of leads. For example, adding the simple filter for “Date Added” then choosing “is in this month” you will display all new Leads entered into your account for the current month. Adding an additional filter for a Type, such as “Widget Prospect” will show just those new leads that were interested in Widgets.

Customizing the columns displayed on your lead list adds to the functionality of your Views. Name will always be the first column, as it is used by Open Leads a key search and sort field. The next two columns can be customized by clicking on the blue asterisk icon in the header row. Once clicked, you can choose the data you wish to display, e.g. email address. Any column can be sorted alphabetically, or chronologically by clicking on the column header label. Clicking once for an ascending sort, and twice for descending. You can toggle between the date added and date modified fields, and you can elect to display or not display the assigned user, and can choose to display only the first Type assigned to your leads or all of the Types assigned to the leads on your list.

Once you have the data displayed, you can save this view, give it a label, and it will appear in your Current View dropdown. You can change back and forth between views at any time by selecting from this menu.

Saved views can be printed using the PDF Reports option in the Apply to menu. This dropdown menu appears just above the Types column on the right side of your Leads List – this is the same menu where your mass email and other mass apply options appear. Choose “PDF Report” then choose your display options, and you will be able to print a nicely formatted “report” from your view. From this menu you may also choose to export this data to a CSV file for use in an external application, such as a spreadsheet.

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The Importance of Autoresponders

Autoresponders in Open Leads are a very powerful tool to confirm your prospects submission, but even more so to begin to establish rapport with that prospect. In today’s economy it is very easy for consumers to gravitate to the least expensive product (I won’t use the term “cheapest” here – simply because I don’t care for the connotation of the word). And many companies feel that cutting the price of their goods or services is the key to success. However, often times the difference between a sale and a no-sale is not the price, but less quantifiable variables, like trust, and image and, yes, customer service and support.

Upon submission of your website contact form, a prospect should immediately receive an autoresponder email message (and be directed to a “Thank you” landing page, but we will cover that at another time). This autoresponder is a crucial part of your communication for two key reasons: 1) It confirms to them again that you have received their request, and are taking action, and 2) it serves to be your opportunity to make a good first impression – to begin to establish that rapport (relation, connection, relationship) with them, which will lay the groundwork for closing the sale.

With Open Leads you can personalize the message using our Tokens, so that the salutation is “Dear Mary,” or “Dear Bob” and not “To our very valued customer,” – it is pretty obvious which is more engaging to the person receiving it. Calling them by name envokes a level of familiarity, and personal attention that a generic greeting does not. How valuable is someone whom you don’t greet by name? You can further customize the message with the assigned user’s name and information using Tokens as well, or even embedding more information from the lead, such as the city the lead is in or the particular good or service they are interested in.

So, as you configure your Open Leads account and set up your Autoresponder, will its message be “Hey there random person – thanks for contacting us,” or will it be something more warm and personal that sets you apart from your competition, and puts you one step closer to the close?


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Brand New Email Editor

Our latest feature enhancement in Open Leads is an all-new email composer. This new addition to the email composition page allows users to visually create HTML emails as they compose the message in order to increase visual impact. No coding knowledge is necessary to add text enhancements and embed images that are attached.

new_acme_widgets email

You can compose your emails as you always have, by simply typing the info into the edit window. The new editor adds to this by offering the user several tool options accessible from the menu bar that can change font face, type, color, alignment – all with a click of the mouse.

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New Filter for Attachments (Plus a Little Design Change)

We just added a new filter feature, that allows users to filter their lead list (or create a view) that will retrieve any Leads which have an attachment. As you know, you can attach any file to a lead in Open Leads (for example, a PDF document of a contract or sales agreement, a picture of the person with their new car or boat, etc.).

After some feedback from you, our dedicated users, we also tweaked the design a little bit, removing the drop shadow on dialogue boxes. We love to hear from our users, and many of our best new features come directly from your suggestions.

We have several new features in the pipeline to improve your Task Scheduling and Email experience in Open Leads. Check back here for updates or follow us on Twitter or Google+ for the latest news information

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Using Open Leads with IE 9

The recent release of IE 9 saw some changes in the way Javascript is handled. Because of this, you may have noticed some functions of Open Leads quit working in the manner you would expect (such as the popup calendar when you schedule a task). We will be updating our code in the next couple of weeks, but in the mean time, if you configure your IE to work in “Compatibility Mode,” everything will work properly again.

To switch IE 9 to Compatibility Mode follow the instructions here: – or when you navigate to Open Leads, you may see an icon in your URL bar that looks like a torn sheet of paper. Click on this to toggle Compatibility mode on.

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Printable User Guide

Many users have requested a simple user guide that they can print out to supplement the online help section. Here it is!

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HTML or no HTML… That is the question

In todays highly competitive enviromment, every email marketer wants the edge. We receive comments and inquiries every day about using HTML in emails sent out of Open Leads. These range from the simple “How do I create a pretty email” to “How can I get my email to look like ‘so and so’s?”

The answer is to use HTML emails. Using HTML allows you to create, from scratch a very vibrant and image-rich email. But be forewarned – HTML is not for the novice, and used incorrectly, or without proper restraint, can damage your email deliverability rate. Officially, we recommend leaving HTML to the experts, and for the vast majority of users – stick to plain-text for your emails. A well-written plain-text email can more effectively deliver your message and will more consistently avoid the spam filter and firewall pitfalls of HTML email.

So, if you insist on using HTML in your emails, the best advice we can offer is to take a little time and learn the basics. Very often our spam feedback from ISPs contains emails that are configured as HTML, but are not properly formatted. The primary example of this is what we call the “monster block.” This is where the email was written in Open Leads in the HTML window but contains no HTML coding for things like paragraphs (<p>) or line breaks (<br>) and ends up looking like this:

Japan faces a massive project in terms of rebuilding, as you know this is going to require the purchase of large amounts of construction raw materials from the global marketplace. There will be significant price pressures on those raw materials such as copper, steel, concrete, wood and other commodities. Steel is already up to over $900 a ton, or about a 25% increase in the first quarter of 2011 alone. As a result of these issues the cost of building new homes will go up across the globe and our homes are no exception. Company Name will not be able to guarantee our prices for more than 30 days at this time, so if you are thinking of purchasing a manufactured or modular home we need to move quickly before the price increases take affect. Thank You Company Name Company Website URL 123 Any Street Anytown LA 12345

We call it a monster block because EVERYTHING is in one big lump of text. This was taken from the body of an actual message that was sent via Open Leads as an HTML email, with the identifying info removed. Quite a few of the recipients reported this message as spam. Why? Mostly because of the way it looked in their inbox.

There are two basic issues here – First, HTML was not needed. The message is basically written as text with a website link in the signature. There are no images, etc, so the sender would have been much better off composing this as a plain-text. Second, it is not coded properly. The message was entered in to the HTML composition window in Open Leads as though it were plain-text, which caused it to appear as the Monster Block. It should have been composed like this:

<p>Japan faces a massive project in terms of rebuilding, as you know this is going to require the purchase of large amounts of construction raw materials from the global marketplace. There will be significant price pressures on those raw materials such as copper, steel, concrete, wood and other commodities. Steel is already up to over $900 a ton, or about a 25% increase in the first quarter of 2011 alone. As a result of these issues the cost of building new homes will go up across the globe and our homes are no exception.</p>
<p>Company Name will not be able to guarantee our prices for more than 30 days at this time, so if you are thinking of purchasing a manufactured or modular home we need to move quickly before the price increases take affect. </p>
Thank You,
Company Name <br>
 Company Website URL <br>
123 Any Street<br>
Anytown, LA 12345<br>

Which would have rendered the email in the proper format for easy reading, forming paragraphs and line breaks where needed.

Bottom Line – if you are certain you want to use HTML in your emails in Open Leads, visit the W3C schools tutorial – it is a great tool and is very easy for the beginner to use to get the basics of HTML.

Also, get a good HTML composer to use to build your email messages. We recommend Kompozer, which is free, and works great to visually create HTML.

Finally, above all else, use the Preview function when building your emails. If it looks “funny” in the preview window, it will also look that way to your recipient.

If you have questions, we will be glad to help: Hit us up online using our live chat support, email us at, or use the support ticketing system on our website.

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Email attachments and communicating effectively with your prospects

Believe it or not, not every email marketer understands how to best communicate via email. To illustrate, we recently had a client complain about a low deliverability rate of a mass email message that they sent out – and it actually had a very high “spam” complaint and opt-out rate amongst the folks that actually got it as well. The complaint to us was – “What’s wrong with Open Leads and what are you going to do about it?” Well, Steve (not her real name), truth be told, there is nothing wrong with Open Leads. According to, Open Leads has a very high sender score – meaning we have high delivery rates for mail sent off our servers. But I digress.

The truth of the matter was the content and construction of the email message that Steve sent out. There are three main issues that the email exhibited, and you should pay close attention to these points when composing a mass email or autoresponder that you are going to send out through Open Leads:

1) Don’t use HTML if you don’t have to, and especially don’t use it of you don’t have a basic understanding of it. HTML and Spam Filters don’t necessarily get along, so HTML email can more often be intercepted by filters and dumped into spam folders. Plain text stands a higher probability of making it to the Inbox. This particular message was composed in the HTML composition window in Open Leads, but was written as though it was written in plain text. So there were no paragraph or line breaks inserted and the text that was displayed, along with Steve’s signature was all one “clump of text” when it arrived in the recipient’s inbox. I don’t know about everyone, but if I see that sort of message in my inbox, I am thinking it is going straight to the trash.  If you are certain you want to use HTML – and sometimes it is required – make sure you know how to make it look good an function properly. A good primer can be found here. Also, get a good HTML editor. Free ones exist that do a pretty good job – such as KompoZer – and commercial ones as well.

2) Attachments. Open Leads does a good job of managing included files for email going out. True file attachments can interrupt deliverability also, especially large ones. We upload your files to our servers, and then include download links at the end of plain text and HTML emails, plus, if you are using HTML, you can embed the download links in the body of the message if you choose. Having said that, though, when you include an attachment, make SURE it is in a format that is universally accessible. Our sample email had an attachment as a Word Document. Not only that, but a Word 2007 document (.docx). Here’s the deal – not everyone has Word, and not everyone has Word 2007. Save your document as a PDF – Portable Document Format. PDFs can be opened and viewed on any platform, and in the formatting you intend. Even though Word docs can be opened outside of Microsoft software, you can lose formatting and layout – meaning you lose control of how the recipient views your document. Oh, yeah. One other thing. When using attachments, don’t compose your email as “Hey, Prospect – Open this attachment for more information! Sincerely, The Person Trying to Win Your Business.” Which brings us to the final point….

3) Compose your message for readability. Write as though you are simply talking to your prospect and give them the info they need or have requested. Nothing more, nothing less. Don’t use stilted language or over the top sales words and phrases like “SUPER SALE!!!” “ACT NOW!!!” – not only are Spam Filters smart enough to catch these, but it also looks like you are pushing the hard sell. Be honest, straightforward, and the rest will follow.

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Manage your lists

Even though Open Leads does not limit the number of leads you can have in your account, that does not mean it is a good idea not to limit your leads. In reality, there is a set number of legitimate sales leads you should have in your account – having tens of thousands of “leads” is not only not practical, it is untenable in real-world sales environs.

Open Leads provides tools to allow you to segment your leads (using Types, or creating a view to show all of the leads in a certain city or state, for exmple), which is a very useful tool when managing larger lists. As a user, you can only look at certain leads segments at a single time, so keeping these separate, and working them in blocks can make for more productive time management.

Outside of these segments that you can create, you may also “archive” your inactive leads. These archived leads are removed from your active lead lists, and can be restored at a later date.

Essentially what this amounts to is removing clutter from your active lists. Clutter (inactive, or otherwise unneeded lead data) gets in the way of your important data – and can lead to very poor sales habits. For example – users with excessive leads tend to scan over the list of leads to seek out the “good” ones, unconsciously training themselves to rush through their list and miss opportunities. Even worse, is the huge lists that result in a sales process that just involves “blasting” out emails – which is a really good way of alienating your prospects.

Maintaining a clean and manageable lead list is easily the best thing you can do to increase your productivity, and ultimately your sales success. Look over your leads, qualify them, categorize them, and don’t be afraid to either archive or delete those that are not going to be used.

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