Gmail is the most widely used web-based email service in the world. It had more than 425 million active users world wide, as of June last year.
It is extremely popular with small to medium sized businesses and, especially with startups. Why? Mainly, because it’s easy.
There are also enterprise level Gmail solutions that go head to head with Microsoft in the land of big business. Some of the large, local organisations that have embraced the Gmail platform include Flight Centre, JetStar, Mo’s Mobile, the University of Melbourne and Ray White.
For many startups and smaller businesses, Gmail is the email platform of choice. If you are using Gmail for business, there are lots of additional plugins and apps that can be added to make your life easier.
Here are three that are worth considering.
1. Boomerang Gmail
You know how, as a startup, you work late and crazy hours? Well, sometimes that can be a curse.
Some of the recipients of your emails written at 3am may not see that as a sign of diligence. I could be viewed as a sign of stress, disorganisation and, many other negative things.
This is where Boomerang becomes very handy. This plugin allows you to easily schedule when an email is sent. That is, by all means write it at 3am, but you can set it to send at 8am in a few simple clicks.
It also allows you to do response tracking, resending if there is no response, mobile messaging and, recurring messages. The basic plan, for scheduled sends and response tracking is available for free. The more advanced features cost up to $15 a month.
When you first start to use Rapportive, it can be a little freaky. But, it’s one of the handiest things you can imagine.
There are two benefits. The first is that the information it provides replaces those annoying ads on the right hand side of your inbox. Huzzah!
But, what is the really useful thing is what that information is. If the person you are emailing or, one who has emailed you, has any online presence, it is displayed in a summary. You will see their photo from LinkedIn, a link to their LinkedIn profile, Facebook and Twitter accounts. You will even see their most recent Facebook or Twitter posts. In a simple glance, you can see not only who is emailing you (which is great if you have a memory for faces and not names) and, what they are up to in the online social world.
The depth of information displayed depends on how that person has set up their social accounts. If they have a personal email account for Facebook and, they email you from their business account, obviously you won’t see their personal stuff.
Better yet, it’s completely free.
3. Inbox Pause
Are you someone who almost compulsively checks for new emails? It’s a very disruptive habit and, it can really chew into your productivity.
From the same team that created Boomerang, there is now Inbox Pause. And, like all good products, it’s name describes exactly what it does. There is a pause button on your inbox, so the emails just don’t steam in and distract you.
You can restart the email stream at any time, thus filling your inbox. But, you are in control of when the emails arrive.
It also is an elegantly simple website that many software providers could learn from.
One small warning though, Inbox Pause was developed as a Hackathon project. So, it may not be as robust and stable as Boomerang.
And again, it’s free.
These are my top three Gmail plugins that make business email easier. What are yours?