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Soocial Alternative: conXt

Welcome Soocial users!

While Soocial has shut down, a great, free alternative to Soocial is conXt. conXt offers many of the same great features: the ability to connect with contacts so you always have up-to-date contact info, easy group organization for those poker nights and school committees, the ability to email your groups right from conXt, and more! Even better, it’s completely free. So take conXt for a spin as an alternative to Soocial, and let us know what you think at info@conxt.com. Hope to hear from you soon,

Eric and Dan Greenberg

Buy, Make, or Handwrite Wedding Address Labels?

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Brides agonize over how to do their wedding address labels more than actually getting their wedding addresses. Should you buy, make, or handwrite your wedding address labels? Luckily, you can check out how we’ve made getting wedding addresses easy, so you can spend more time thinking about how you actually want those wedding address labels to look.

The first question to ask is whether or not you are using the more traditional two envelope approach (where the wedding invitation and its elaborate, heavy paper stock envelope) is enclosed within another envelope. This outer envelope is what gets postmarked, fed through the automatic mail sorters, etc. and can get pretty banged up. If this is the case, at least according to tradition, you don’t have to care about what kind of wedding address label goes on the outer envelope. It’s there solely to protect the all-important invitation and nice envelope inside. In the old days, this outer envelope was actually removed by a servant, and only the invitation and inner envelope were presented to the intended guests.

Now, you’re wondering about one of two things: what goes on the inner envelope wedding address labels, or what do you do if you’re not using an outer envelope, right? Well, first off, only put the guests you’re inviting on the wedding address label. If you’re having a child-free wedding ceremony, be sure not to put something like ‘The Harrison Family’ and send it to your friends who have four children. They’ll probably assume that their children are invited too, which will cause a bunch of confusion and ill feelings later on. That’s the only etiquette tip we’ll share here, because it’s the most important one, but if you want to read more wedding address etiquette tips, read our post on wedding address etiquette!

Now, what to do about those wedding address labels. They all have some kind of cost attached: if you handwrite your wedding address labels, your hands will certainly be sore after that much writing. If you decide to design your own and print sticky labels at home, you’ll need to buy address labels (pretty cheap, around $4) and master creating mailing labels from excel (we tell you how to create mailing labels from Excel here), and if you send your invitations out to a calligrapher, it can get pretty expensive at around $1.50 per invitation!

Of course, while an important factor, cost isn’t the only thing that should figure into your decision on how you do your wedding address labels. For a personal touch, hand-writing your wedding addresses can’t be beat. I think this is the case even if your hand-writing is horrible, just take some extra time with the addresses to make sure they are legible for the post office! The good part about bad handwriting is that your guests will never think your invitation is junk mail – what direct mail marketer would do that?! You could also go for the calligraphy option, which, while expensive, does add a note of formality fitting the occasion.

Of course, there’s a lot you can do with address labels if you really set your mind to it. You can make wedding address labels as personal as handwriting by adding pictures of yourselves, playing with the font type and background color, and so on. And as far as time efficiency, mailing labels can’t be beat – so if you’re in a bind on your schedule, definitely think about mailing labels. There’s also nothing more legible than a printer, so your invitations are almost certain to reach your guests. When calligraphers start writing numbers, they can let design get in the way of legibility, and 1′s start to look like 7′s, 5′s like 6′s, 9′s can be 0′s or 8′s, etc. When this happens, who knows where your invitations will end up after going through the post! On the con side, poorly done wedding address mailing labels can ruin your invitations, so be sure to invest the time to make them look nice.

Hope this helps your decision-making, and f you don’t have all your addresses yet – I bet you’re suffering from one of these four problems with getting wedding addresses, but don’t worry, we give you wedding address solutions too! As always, conXt is here to make getting and updating your wedding addresses easy, so please do check it out!

by daniel greenberg, conXt co-founder

Wedding Address Etiquette

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We’ve made wedding addresses easy to get, but how do you write them on your guests’ invitations? The question of wedding address etiquette is asked often by brides. This is no surprise. In the Dickensian days, gentlemen and ladies of fashion would regularly leave calling cards and printed ball invitations at their guests’ doors, and you can bet they knew how to address them! Today, however, most people find they only need to mail invitations to a large group of people for holiday cards and weddings. So, wedding address etiquette and address label etiquette in general has become a lost art. Never fear, however, because you have an advantage over all those Dickensian gala-goers, you have the Internet and it will tell you everything you need to know about wedding address etiquette. Here are the top three sites that we think explain wedding address etiquette the best:

What’s etiquette, wedding address or otherwise, without Emily Post? They have a great wedding address etiquette post here that, while short, covers most of the basics around what to actually write down. They’re big proponents of the two envelope system (an outer one to be postmarked, and an inner one to contain the actual invitation), which for a lot of weddings can get a bit expensive. We don’t actually see much of these two-envelope invitations anymore, in my opinion, so this is a bit old fashioned. But, hey, that’s Emily for you, right?

For the modern bride, however, a lot of Emily’s rules are getting relaxed. If you’re looking for a pretty extensive explanation of wedding address etiquette in a new, casual culture, Nina Callaway has done a great job writing this up at About.com. Included here are questions about addressing invitations to unmarried couples in long-term relationships, what it means if you are included on the address label (hint: it means you’re invited!), and most important of all, the advice that when you’re sending out 200 or so invitations, you’re probably going to get a couple things wrong – so don’t beat yourself up over it!

Still have questions on wedding address etiquette? See the more general list of wedding invitation questions at TheKnot. And if you don’t have all your addresses yet – I bet you’re suffering from one of these four problems with getting wedding addresses, but don’t worry, we give you wedding address solutions too!

By daniel greenberg
co-founder, conXt

Why is it so hard to get wedding addresses for your invitations? Top 4 Reasons and Solutions!

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Anyone who has ever planned a wedding knows how frustrating getting wedding addresses for your save-the-dates and invitations can be. One estimate has brides spending 10-15 hours just getting wedding addresses, to say nothing of the fun parts such as designing the invitations, choosing envelopes, etc.
If you find getting wedding addresses difficult, don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, 30% of Americans report that they find it difficult to keep current contact info. But why is it so difficult to get wedding addresses? Through our focus groups, we’ve identified what we believe to be the top four reasons:

  1. Just like you, your friends are busy. Your friends meant to reply to you, they really did, but then they got an email from their boss, or a call from Mom, and they forgot about it as their inbox filled with other messages. Plan to follow-up with your friends, and you won’t feel so bad when you actually have to do it! Just an FYI, conXt makes getting wedding addresses easy through the one-click follow-up feature where you can track who hasn’t responded to your request for wedding addresses and ask them again with one click!
  2. Your friends don’t realize you’re on a schedule. Of course you know that you need to get all your wedding addresses at least 8 weeks before your wedding, but your guests don’t necessarily realize you have a deadline. If your target date is on the earlier side, your guests likely don’t even realize that you need their addresses soon and how important this is to you. Don’t be afraid to let your contacts know what your deadline is!
  3. Your friends are trying to figure out where they’ll be living before they reply. This one is easy to understand and sympathize with. Especially for young couples, we move around so often that we may need to lock down new addresses before we can tell you where we can receive an invitation that may not arrive for a couple of months. In this case, it’s best to wait – but you can ask your guests to let you know when they find a new home, put it on your calendar to follow up with them down the road, ask them to set up mail forwarding from their current address, or find a way that allows them to share their address with you real-time (Hint: see ‘How does connecting work?’ in conXt’s FAQs).
  4. It’s not your friends, it’s you! This is one we were surprised by, but it’s true. Many times, we combine a request for wedding addresses with something else, like a catch-up email or a save-the-date. A recent save-the-date I received asked me to confirm my attendance online. I did, and I completely missed the part of the email that asked me to also reply with my mailing address. One month later, I received an angry message from the bride! If you’re asking the person on the other end of your email to do something, make it clear, and even better – as many email marketers will tell you – try to include only one ‘call-to-action’ per email.

Want to make wedding address collecting even easier? I’ve put together four more tips to make your wedding invitations a breeze:

  1. Use the holiday cards and wedding invitations you already have. If you still have the holiday cards and wedding invites you received last year, be sure to copy down the return address labels. Now you have a head-start!
  2. Share the work. If your wedding guest list overlaps significantly with other people’s, like a sister or brother who married recently, ask them for their addresses. Or, if you have close friends getting married, see what guests you have in common and split the work up. My brother and I do this for holiday cards through conXt, for our extended family, and it’s a real time-saver.
  3. Fire on all fronts. Everyone responds differently to different forms of media. Take your request for addresses and put it in emails and texts, post it on Facebook and Twitter, and call your contacts too! conXt makes getting wedding addresses from anywhere super easy through our contact request link.
  4. Go Digital. There’s a lot of free services out there, don’t be afraid to use them! At its simplest, just create a Google form and send it to your friends. Or, go the whole distance and use conXt for your wedding addresses. conXt is designed as a household address book, and gives you a personalized weblink that helps you get addresses through email, text, Facebook, and Twitter, enables you to easily follow-up with people whose addresses you’re still missing, and allows you to connect with those closest to you so you have their most up-to-date contact info next year as well. Plus, you can easily create groups (e.g. bridesmaids, family, general wedding guests) to email or text on the go from our mobile app, so you can coordinate with exactly who you need to, anytime and anywhere!

 

While sending physical wedding save-the-dates and invitations can seem like a lot of work, don’t forget the joy that they can bring. I tack every one I receive up on my fridge, and they’re a constant source of delight throughout the year.

Do you have any stories to add about your guests not getting you their addresses? Let us know in the comments section :)

By daniel greenberg
co-founder, conXt

Note: This post is based on one we did for holiday cards that we published on The Huffington Post called 4 Better Ways to Get Addresses for Holiday Cards

How to use the conxt contact request link to get contact info

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Need to fill up your address book from scratch? Use the conXt contact request link. We show you how in the video below:

Create Mailing Labels from Excel

Obviously, you need addresses in order to create mailing labels from Excel. ConXt makes getting mailing addresses for your friends and family easy, and you can either print mailing labels directly from conXt or you can create mailing labels from excel if you want to customize the labels. This works great for personalizing holiday cards, wedding invitations, birthday cards, etc. So, how do you create mailing labels from excel?

If you already have your contacts in Excel, skip this step. Otherwise, export the person or people you’re mailing stuff to from conXt to Excel. To do this, checkbox your contacts, and under ‘more’, click ‘export’.

Make sure the column headers in your Excel sheet (the words in Row 1) are clear and easy to understand. Make sure there are no blank rows or columns. For instance, you could arrange your Excel file to look like this: table of addressesSave the file and close it. Now that you have your addresses formatted, you’re ready to create mailing labels from excel.

To do so, open up Word and navigate to the ‘Mailings’ tab on your ribbon. Under ‘Mailings’, hover over ‘Start Mail Merge’, and click ‘Labels’ (highlighted below).

create mailing labels in excelChoose your label provider and product number (it will be listed on the box your labels came in) and click ‘OK’. create mailing labels in excelIf you can’t see the label gridlines on your Word doc, click the ‘Layout’ button on your ribbon, and then click ‘View Gridlines’. Dashed blue lines now show up on your word doc to show you how your labels will fit on the page.

create mailing labels in excelNow, you need to link the Excel workbook you created to your new Word doc in order to create mailing labels from Excel. Under ‘Mailings’, click ‘Select Recipients’ and then click ‘Use Existing List’. In the dialog box that appears, open up your saved Excel sheet. create mailing labels in excelNow you have a Word doc that looks pretty blank, so it’s time to add the info you need. Your cursor should already be in the first block in the upper left, if it’s not, put it there. Then, start inserting merge fields using the ‘Insert Merge Field’ button under ‘Mailings’ in your ribbon. create mailing labels in excelYou should set up this block the way you want your labels to look. Consider each merge field as a word or phrase. For instance, for the first line of your mailing label, I put in the ‘First_Name’ merge field, hit the space bar, and then clicked to insert the ‘Last_Name’ merge field to put in my recipients’ full names. The same applies to punctuation, for instance commas. This is what my Word doc looks like after I’ve inserted these merge fields: create mailing labels in excelOnce you have your first box worked out, just click ‘Update Labels’ right next to ‘Insert Merge Field’ and all of your labels will now look like your first one: create mailing labels in excelWant to see what your labels look like? Click ‘Preview Results’ and your Word doc will show you what your mailing labels will look like. create mailing labels in excelDon’t like the look? Select all by hitting ‘Ctrl’ and ‘a’ at the same time, and under the ‘Home’ button on your ribbon you can change the font, size, color etc. of your mailing labels just as you would in an ordinary Word doc. You can also insert clip art to spice your labels up a little. When you do though, just be sure to right click the image you put in and change the text wrapping to ‘through’ or the image will displace all your addresses! When you get that first box the way you want it, remember to click ‘Update Labels’ again so that your changes carry throughout all your labels. Here’s what my birthday invitation labels look like this year:create mailing labels in excelTo finish everything off, just click ‘Finish & Merge’ and ‘Print Documents’ and you’re done! Congratulations!

Need more advice on labels or trying to troubleshoot? Leave a comment below, or read Microsoft’s official post here.

by daniel greenberg

Path and the importance of privacy

You have probably heard about how Path uploaded iOS users’ address books to Path’s servers without permission. Path has since updated the app to explicitly ask for this permission, but it was a very creepy invasion of privacy, and understandably a number of bloggers as well as Path users were outraged. Path settled yesterday with the FTC over these charges: that it allegedly “deceived consumers and improperly collected personal information from users’ mobile address books” and that it collected “kids’ personal information without their parents’ consent”. The amount of the fine Path agreed to pay: $800,000. For a startup that raised $41.2 million, $800,000 is a sizable amount, a little under 2% of its total raised capital. Clearly, privacy is something every online service should consider. We’re fanatical about privacy, and have always believed that your contact info is yours, not ours. To read more about Path’s settlement, read this article by Christian Zibreg.

The best time of the year to collect addresses is NOW! :)

Holiday Cards

King’s Day is just around the corner, and for many of us that means it’s almost time to pull the ornaments off your Christmas tree and take it to the curb. We’re also taking stockings off the wall, coiling miles of blinking lights, and putting it all in boxes to use for next year. But what do you do with all those holiday cards?

You could choose to make permanent holiday card displays until the next holiday season rolls around, or maybe you put everything in a shoebox and save them for posterity. Whatever you do though, make sure you copy down the return addresses off the holiday cards. The best time of year to collect addresses is now before you put all those holiday cards away! And to make sure you have them for next year, be sure to back them up in your free online address book at conXt Happy new year to everyone and thanks for using conXt!

4 Reasons Getting Addresses is Hard, and 8 Ways to Make it Easier!

Easiest Ways to Get Addresses

I recently had the honor of Huffington Post publishing my first guest post. If you’ve ever wondered why it’s hard to get addresses for your wedding, your holiday cards, or any other life situation, read about the four reasons we uncovered in our focus groups for why getting addresses is hard. And, because a problem without a solution is still a problem, we give you eight ways to make getting addresses easier! And for the easiest way to get addresses, use your free online address book conXt!

Easiest Ways to Get Addresses

Sync Your conXt Contacts With Your iPhone!

Sync Your conXt Contacts With Your iPhone!

Using only conXt, your iPhone, and Gmail

The most requested update we get is for the ability to sync your conXt address book and contacts with your smartphone. conXt’s public contact link and contact info request features are great for restoring your contacts if you’ve lost your phone or deleted your contacts by mistake. While true sync will have to wait until we roll out our mobile app, this is a quick, step-by-step guide to import your conXt contacts onto your iPhone using nothing but conXt, Gmail, and your iPhone!

First, log into your conXt account, select the tags you want to export and checkbox the contacts. Under more, scroll down to export:Export Contacts from conXt

In the export window that appears, select Gmail format and click Export:Export conXt contacts in Gmail FormatSave the ‘contacts’ file to your desktop, but don’t open it as it needs to remain in the .CSV format.

For this next step, we recommend creating a new, fresh Gmail account. Otherwise, syncing your contacts with Gmail may result in you importing a bunch of contact info for people you’ve only ever emailed once. Inside Gmail, open up your contacts window by clicking on the red Gmail button in the upper left part of the screen and clicking ‘Contacts‘:

Gmail contacts drop downInside the Gmail contacts window, select the more button, and click ‘Import

Import conXt contacts into GmailIn the window that appears, select the conXt contacts file you’ve saved to your desktop, and click Import:

Complete Contacts in GmailYou should now have a Gmail contacts list that looks like this, with full contact info for all your contacts:

Complete Gmail Contacts ListIf you do, congrats, you’ve done everything right so far! You’re now ready to put these contacts on your iPhone. We’ll give you a pretty comprehensive overview here, but you can also get it straight from the source over at Google Sync. Power it up and open up your iPhone Settings. Scroll down to ‘Mail, Contacts, Calendars‘ and click:

iPhone Mail, Contacts, CalendarsYour screen will look a bit different depending on what accounts you already have linked on your iPhone. But click the ‘Add Account’ button at the bottom of the screen listing your currently synced accounts:

Add new iPhone email accountOn the screen that appears, DO NOT click Gmail. Doing so will sync your email account, but not your contacts. Instead, click ‘Microsoft Exchange

Add Exchange AccountOn the screen that appears, enter your username and password for the Gmail account where you have stored your conXt contact information and hit Next.

Exchange Intro ScreenOn the next screen, enter ‘m.google.com‘ in the Server field, and then the same username and password you entered on the previous screen. Click ‘Next’.

Google Mail ServerIf you’re using a fresh Gmail account just for your Contacts, swipe everything but ‘Contacts’ to ‘off’. If you’re using your regular Gmail account and want to sync everything, swipe it all to ‘On’.

Sync Contacts on iPhoneClick ‘Save’ and you’re done! Your conXt contacts should now be imported into the native contacts app on your iPhone!