Categories are a way to group certain Contacts together. Using This feature makes it easier to find, sort and filter your Contacts. For example, you receive a new email from someone you want to add to your Contact List. Typically, you would add all their contact information. I suggest that you take it a step further and select a category for the Contact, like Vendor, Client, Prospect, Advertising, Resource, Family, Personal, etc. Microsoft Outlook already has a Master Category List which you can add to, change or delete to suit your unique situation.
There are a several reasons for categorizing your Contacts. Firstly, you can drag and drop one or several signsnews categories over to your Inbox and all the email addresses will automatically appear in the To: field of your message. Make sure you cut and paste these email addresses into the BCC field before you send the email. This is to comply with privacy laws. Secondly, it groups and organizes your Contacts for easy retrieval. A group of Contacts can easily be selected for a mail merge. They are also useful for those times when you export your Contacts into other programs
The most important reason to categorize your Contacts is to help you stay on top of your follow-up. In any business, the fortune is in the follow-up! Using this feature streamlines your marketing and follow-up efforts. You will also be able to easily sort, filter and print Contacts by one or more categories. For Example, create a new group called “Prospect” and flag it for follow-up on a specific day, or create an appointment from within the Contact and select the date you want to follow up on that valuable lead. You could also create categories for different events that you have (a product launch, fundraisers, Christmas party, grand openings, products customers purchase, etc.). After the event you could sort your Contacts by the event and show your appreciation by following-up with a thank you card to each person who attended. For more information on follow-up systems, see Chapter 4. Also, click this link to learn about a follow-system.
You can assign several categories to one Contact. Also, when you export your Contacts to other database programs, make sure you export this field as well. It will map over into the new database and save you data entry time.
Three Step Process When Creating Your Initial Categories
1. Plan them on paper first
2. Create them in the Master Category List
3. Assign Contacts to the appropriate ones
You may also receive emails that are new leads and it is important that you create a system to follow-up. Whatever your situation, follow-up is critical to an effective Contact list. For more information on setting up your Follow-up system go to Chapter 4.
Outlook’s Master List comes with a list of default categories that you can use or modify to suit your own needs. Note that items can be assigned to more than one group if needed.
1. Select Categories from the Edit menu
2. Click Master Category List
3. Type a name in the New box
4. Click Add
5. Follow steps 3 and 4 to create additional categories
6. Click OK twice
Assigning a category when creating an item
1. With the item open, click Categories (in an email click Options, Categories)
2. In the Available list, click on the boxes that apply
3. Click OK
Assigning a category to an existing item
1. Select the item
2. Click Categories on the Edit menu
3. In the Available list, click on the boxes that apply
4. Click OK
Taking the time to plan and create your categories today will save you time and money tomorrow!
Want To Use This Article In Your Ezine or Website? You have my permission, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Sherry Borsheim is the CEO of Simply Productive and the president and founder of International Association of Business Organizing. You can visit Sherry, access her free articles archive and download lots of free stuff at http://www.simplyproductive.com. Sherry lives in Vancouver, BC Canada with her husband and they enjoy golfing together.