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tout-vs-yesware

06 Jan Tout Vs. Yesware Comparison and Review

Email Salesmanship Gamified On The Individual Level

[update: loads of things have changed since this was written but it's still fairly accurate. Expect a new post soon.]

Tout and Yesware are excellent ways to see if you’re any good at email.  Winning your inbox is a fun way to make money.

They are new apps, and there is nothing on Earth more likely to get you better at sending email out than these two apps.

When you send out an email – what happens?

Do you know if it’s opened? Do you know when you’re baking up the wrong tree? Do you know why some emails work? And why others don’t?

Gamificaiton can help.  Keeping score…will help.

When we use list services such as MailChimp or Aweber we can learn a lot, do some split testing, and test some consumer behavior.

But most email has an audience of one.  And it’s hard to practice.    It’s been hard to learn why your pitches work other than gut feel or my own 4×6 cards and tally marks.

Some time ago, I started noticing founder  Tawheed Kader on Twitter from – probably – from some recent press coverage.  I began to engage. I looked at his service, Tout and had to try it. It had a 30 day free trial (and even a free version).  I had nothing to lose.

I had a few friends  and clients that I thought could benefit from our “one page product demo script writing guide.”

I used Tout to share it – instead of  Mail on my mac.  I sent it – mostly for the heck of it, making a connection, adding some value.  While I always want to sell more Simplifilms, I had no expectation that that would do anything- I was happy about how the article turned out and…connectors connect.

I was surprised by the result.

With 20 minutes work, I started 4 fairly serious conversations with some existing clients about immediate work.  I saw that 2 of my other clients frequently referred to the email about writing demo video scripts. They got phone calls. Another deal is on the books.  We had just brought our new animator in.  So, it was in our interests to get our people to work, so we made a “too good to be true” deal that only happens never and did the Dashter video.

Within a week of using Tout, I was pursuing multiple sales. I closed a sale I never would have had on Friday, after starting Tout on a Wednesday.

I saw (instantly)  a ton of fantastic uses for Tout (a 500 startups alum).

Tout can help you promote your blog:  I wrote a post that riffed on a Brad Feld idea.  I scheduled the post to go live the next day.  Then, I used Tout to schedule an email to Brad (and a few other folks ) to share it and spread it.  Was out of the office, driving, but I found that Brad and a couple others tweeted it, and it spread.

That post got something like 800 views – (huge for us- posts are averaging about 125 views)- and it was all done in the same batch.  Just a simple email about the blog that went out to 10 people.  Took but 6-7 extra minutes.

Now, Brad has been “Touting” Yesware for a while now.  I blew it off because I had ditched Chrome (and Chrome’s insistence on killing my Air battery with it’s poor handling of the thousands of tabs I like to keep open).

So, I definitely liked Tout better at first- I had decided to ditch Chrome for Safari and live in the Mail app instead of other places. However, when I finally got around to giving Yesware a try, I found lots to like.

So much, that I changed my workflow, and I will be using Yesware for the foreseeable future.

So, What’s Better – Tout or Yesware?

What a question.  It’s like saying “What’s better Mailchimp or Aweber”.   Great software, both, with different approaches.

I’ll cover the shared features, strengths and weaknesses of each application, and which one I’m using for what.

Saying “one is better” is really dependent on how you’re using it.  They have some overlap, and you’ll be able to see what’s right for you pretty quickly.

Shared Features of Tout and Yesware

They have ways to create store and organize templated emails. They work well – we have a couple of minor bugs in the interface, but everything is laid out more or less sensibly, and they present the information in different ways.

Tout and Yesware both track opens and responses – they go about it in different ways.  Tout is focused on “which emails are working,” and Yesware is focused on a “feed” like approach of what’s just happened.  Both make some concessions to the other approach, but this seems to be the focus for now.

From Yesware is focused on “what just happened”.

Tout  is more focused on “success or failure” of emails than Yesware is.  They are going in different directions – as you can see that they’ll probably have some features from one another.

Tout is more focused on the success or failure of emails on an individual level.

 

 

 

 

Tout has several views to check in on the success of a template.

Tout has several views to check in on the success of emails – you can test them against one another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So you can send and track emails in both Tout and Yesware- they just do the process differently.

Tout is focused and ready with opens and clicks.  Yesware is more focused on what just happened.

Divergent Approaches in Tout and Yesware: What They DON’T Do.

Yesware has no easy way of seeing how individual templates are performing – it’ll tell you how many you’ve sent out, but not what each is doing.  Tout is oriented on the template, so you could  have 4 (or 100) different messages and pit them against each other, Lean Startup style. That appeals to us because we can quickly see what’s what with each message we shoot out.

Tout, doesn’t have anything close to Yesware’s activity feed [edit: when I sent a draft of this article to Tawheed, he said that yup, he sure as heck did- see the bottom of the article, they **just** released this].  With Yesware if you stay on top of it, you can spot when an old prospect jumps in and starts re-reading the email you sent months ago.  Tout captures the data, but it doesn’t display it in a particularly usable way.

Tout also has a very handy feature- you can schedule when you are sending an email out. Yesware is dependent on your Gmail interface (with Outlook apparently coming soon), so it doesn’t do this.

I had better luck with complex HTML in Tout than I did in yesware, but your milage may vary.

Problems, Bugs and Headaches.

Yesware has two major problems.  First, it simply doesn’t exist in Safari or Firefox. It’s chrome only.  Kind of a drag.  I swore off Chrome when they started being bizarrely sluggish with Google products.

Yesware got me to ditch Safari.  Because I could see what people were doing with my email. No, not everyone, but enough that it was pretty friggin’ cool.

My other big issue is that Yesware depends on your inbox. The problem with the latter approach is that you can’t hire a VA to send out stuff without giving him or her  full access to your email.  With Tout, you can have an intern (or whoever) send stuff to a list of people, and for the most part, you won’t have a major problem.  It’s got emails, you’ll be able to see what’s being said, and you won’t have to worry about if people get back to you or not.

Tout itself has a couple of bugs-  first, not having access to data that it’s collecting is kind of a drag. You have to look at individual emails to see what people are doing.  Plus, you can only see when people are doing things if you click through to the email itself:

In Tout, you can see when people are opening your email.

It’s cool that you can do it, but it’s buried. That’s a bummer.

There are also minor quirks with manually editing names – if Tout thinks it knows a contact, it’ll fight your manual data entry.

The Feed approach that Yesware favors is useful because I can instantly see when someone I sent an email back a month ago is accessing it again. It can appear that I have ESP that way.  I can “just happen” to be thinking of them when they just accessed my email.

Tout and Yesware Feature Wishlist:

Both of these should have some formal a/b/group testing.  Tout comes the closest.

Creating a “Google Optimizer”  style system of headlines and body text and grouping it for optimal opens is within reach, and at the volumes of email we send, we can quickly learn what people respond to and click on.  I’d love to be able to have one “template” and send it out, and have the ap do the heavy lifting for testing in the background to tell me what works better.  Of course, it’d have to normalize for time sent and other things, and that might be tricky, but it seems like the thing to do.

I’ve pinged both founders (multiple times since they are in charge of a VERY important tool) and told them of some other fixes and features- some syncing with Google Contacts and more “proactive” reminders if a dormant lead becomes hot. (I.e. if someone opens a 6 week old email, it’d be fantastic to put that in context ).

Conclusion

For the foreseeable future, I’m using both.  It’s not a cop-out.  They are different tools, and they are probably going in different directions.

Yesware got me back into Gmail and Chrome.  It’s frictionless like RescueTime. I’ll use it. The number of threads Chrome opens and the impact on my Air’s performance is pretty ugly.  I was using Mail (because I like hotkeys).  Yesware is worth the compromise. I might try and Just use chrome in one tab for Gmail .

Tout is great because I can work a list really fast, and send stuff that looks great out with a minimum of hassle.

I’ll leave it to the Internets to determine who the original is and who the fast follower is, but for now, I’ll be using both services for as long as they stay on the paths they are on. I doubt they’ll ever integrate, but we can always dream.

I recommend anyone that’s hustling and pitching give one or both a try.

One of the things that I love them most is both Tout and Yes-ware respect you.  They aren’t going to do anything on your behalf you didn’t mean to do. You can’t spam your list or embarrass yourself too much here.  Worst case you send an email to the wrong guy once or twice.  That’s low stakes compared to how it could be.

[Edits - New Features In Both Apps Coming Soon.]

Since I wrote this, both Tawheed and Matthew have come up with some cool features.

I emailed Matthew Bellows and told him I was in the middle of writing up this post. He got back to me with a cool feature.  This is one of the cool things that the ap  will do soon.

It’s pretty clear from this that Brad Feld is influencing Yesware.

Tawheed came up with an “emails to pay attention to” feature, that addresses Tout’s most severe missing feature.  It shows you what’s up and why:

So it seems that both are adding features fast.

21 Comments
  • bfeld
    Posted at 08:26h, 06 January Reply

    Awesome – thx for taking the time to write this up along with issues and suggestions for new features and things to do going forward. I’ve loved working with Matthew, Cashman, and team at Yesware and we’re super excited about where things are going in 2012. Keep the feedback – especially about stuff that’s not working well or missing – coming – so we can keep cranking.

    • Chris Johnson
      Posted at 16:49h, 06 January Reply

      No problem. One of the things that would be huge is to let people know it works with boomerang. I sent you the email from Boomerang…and so…

      • bfeld
        Posted at 16:58h, 06 January Reply

        Super point.

      • JerSch3x
        Posted at 02:19h, 25 November Reply

        I use Boomerang’s Send Later function and Yesware’s “Track Email”. So you’re saying that I can use both Send Later and Track Email on the same email and both will work together?

        • Chris Johnson - co Founder, Simplifilm
          Posted at 17:39h, 23 February Reply

          Yeah, I am.

      • John F
        Posted at 09:45h, 15 July Reply

        ToutApp has unfortunately been a terrible waste of time for our organization. It it full of quirks and bugs. Is anyone having bug issues with Yesware?

  • Yesware
    Posted at 08:41h, 06 January Reply

    Hi Chris! Thanks for the great review. We love learning from passionate users like you. I’m really happy Tout is doing so well, and that both tools help you succeed. We are two tiny little companies trying to innovate in the most widely used technology platform in the world. There’s plenty of room for us both to succeed.

    • Chris Johnson
      Posted at 16:57h, 06 January Reply

      Ha. Well, my only major bummer is that you exist for chrome. I hate chrome and the constant need to refresh…

      • JerSch3x
        Posted at 02:18h, 25 November Reply

        Constant need to refresh? Under what circumstances do you find a need to refresh? 

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 23:18h, 27 January Reply

    It would be great within the,”feed”of Yesware that when you click an item that you can be taken to the particular email within gmail.

    • Tk
      Posted at 00:31h, 28 February Reply

      ToutApp does this.

  • Yesware: An Accelerant For SalesPeople
    Posted at 13:48h, 13 February Reply

    [...] By Chris Johnson – co Founder, Simplifilm Leave a CommentI’ve talked about Simplifilm client Yesware before.A few times, actually.  I’ve been working on ideas as I’ve been writing their [...]

  • TK
    Posted at 02:22h, 22 February Reply

    Hi Chris! I just wanted to drop you a note here and officially thank you for the review. We took your feedback to heart here at Tout and released a brand-spankin-new version of our Gmail Plugin. Check it out here: http://toutapp.com/chrome_extension

  • SitesME
    Posted at 00:13h, 07 May Reply

    I am a bit concerned about yesware (and others) from the Google Apps.
    Is this safe? Don’t they get access to your whole e-mail account and all messages you send/receive? How can a company control all this 3rd party data (on Google) and control their employees to keep our data 100% safe and private?

    Many thanks for the review.

    • yesware
      Posted at 08:45h, 15 May Reply

      Hi SitesME, 

      Google Apps has a pretty bulletproof permissions system that users go through to grant the permissions that various applications need. That said, if you give permission to an app, it does indeed have access to the data you grant access to. That’s why it’s really important that you make sure you trust the companies that you grant access to. Look for Privacy Policies and Terms of Service on their sites to understand how they use and protect your data. Make sure that the company and its founders are reputable before giving permission. If you ever want to terminate access to your data, Google Apps makes it very easy to do so.

      Yesware lives and dies by the users who trust us with their data, and we’re very clear about how we protect your assets. Unfortunately, there’s no way to guarantee 100% safe data, but we strive to earn your trust every day of the week.

  • New Video – And Test – Yesware
    Posted at 05:18h, 13 June Reply

    [...] we talked to Yesware (a product I love)  about this they wanted to gender test.  Their initial thought was that this was male but [...]

  • Borz
    Posted at 01:29h, 24 September Reply

    This article is nearly two years old, I was wondering if there is a more recent and relevant comparison of the two or a good article comparing either of the two to other SaaS.

    • Chris Johnson - co Founder, Simplifilm
      Posted at 21:00h, 22 June Reply

      There will be shortly!

  • Shadiah
    Posted at 16:50h, 06 November Reply

    I’m still on the fence about whether to ditch Tout for Yesware. I love the template-based system of Tout, but man, are they BUGGY. I first reported some serious layer disruptions back in June — then reported, and re-ported over and over — and I still haven’t gotten a suitable fix. I wonder if the customer service might be more responsive at Yesware?

    • AJ
      Posted at 14:21h, 20 February Reply

      All I have to say is don’t call Yesware! I’ve tried calling their support line like maybe 10 times during business hours and nobody has ever picked up. Weird.

  • SeanFromChicago
    Posted at 11:41h, 04 March Reply

    So what about users of O365 for email? Can any of these services work with O365? How about a competitor? this is near a year old…

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