In early August, I wrote about 3 Ways to Organize Your Inbox. The post was mostly about re-thinking what lands in your inbox and ways you can reduce email-related stress through organization.
This post is about using technology to make email easy to manage and track the email that’s most important to your business.
Top Email Tools To Save You TimeFor too long we've treated email like a stack of envelopes in a mailbox. #email #productivity Click To Tweet
One of my favorite things about living in today’s world is that whenever something is challenging, you can almost always bet that there’s an app or plugin for that.
It’s crazy that with all of this new technology that’s literally evolving every day at our fingertips, there’s one thing that hasn’t changed very much on the internet: the way we email.
But, thankfully for us, we now have the capability to “mod” our email inboxes to help us become more organized and productive thanks to handy plugins that have been hitting the market in recent years.
You know how I feel about businesses investing in paid email accounts. So you won’t be surprised to learn that some of these plugins aren’t free, but they are so worth it!
My top 3 favorite email plugins are:
One of my favorite things about Streak is that it allows you to organize your emails into what they call Pipelines (think of something similar to a way to organize your emails on an Excel spreadsheet).
This is extremely helpful if you’re in an industry where you need to keep track of leads, stages during a closing process, or even to help you manage a dedicated tracking system for your VIP clients.
Streak is cloud-based so you can use it anywhere, and getting started is an easy process as well. Even if you don’t use Streak for the CRM abilities, I think we all can love (and maybe even loathe at times!) the tracking feature for outgoing emails.
Once you enable it, this tracking feature allows you to see the location where the email was opened, how many times it was opened, and sometimes even the device used to open the email.
Other awesome features include:
- Snooze: an email pops back into your inbox when you need to see it
- Send Later: schedule when an email sends (just in case you’re up at 2am replying to emails)
- Thread Splitter: ever have an email thread that changes the subject? Thread splitter lets you break off discussions with less confusion
- Fundraising, real estate, and product development features
We’ve talked about Mailstrom before. Mailstrom is a nifty mail cleanup system for your inbox.
Part of making sure you are tracking and receiving the most important email is to limit what lands (and stays) in your inbox. You can do this by creating rules so that messages go to the appropriate place.Part of making sure you are tracking and receiving the most important email is to limit what lands (and stays) in your inbox. Click To Tweet
In Mailstrom, you can view messages by category – sender, people I’ve emailed, subject, unsubscribe, time, social, shopping and size.
You can select all of the messages, or just one, like I have, above. When you select a message, you have any number of choices. You can forward the message to someone else, you can “chill” the message so it’s hidden from your inbox until you need it (great for credit card statements), set it to expire (auto-deletes after a few days) – use this for newsletters I might read, You can also move, archive, delete, unsubscribe, block or mark as spam. Sometimes, I send replies from within Mailstrom because the categories make it easier to find the most important emails – especially among people I’ve emailed.
Not only does it allow you to unsubscribe with the touch of a button, but it also allows you to create folders to send incoming emails to so they never have to clutter up your main email box.
You can have one folder for newsletters you actually read, another for receipts, one for bills – whatever makes sense to you to meet your needs.
With an extra layer of spam protection that you can customize, I’m thankful this is available across email platforms (Gmail/G Suite, Yahoo, Outlook, etc.) so everyone can use it!
I’ve been using Mailstrom since 2014 – and I think it’s great. I know some people don’t need to see the inbox fall to zero, but man, it really does help me see the work I need to finish up if I can clear the clutter.
Cost: $50/year for 3 email addresses
If you can’t swing the cost, but you’re serious about clearing the clutter, then follow the more detailed tips we have in the blog post 3 Ways You Can Organize Your Inbox.
Since most people have emails coming straight to their phones these days, it has almost become an unwritten business rule to only send out emails during working hours for your place of employment.
Typically for a newsletter email, you would strategically plan around what would be your target client’s ability to take a few minutes away from their day to read a quick email about what we have going on and use a scheduling application to send it before you left for the day.
Now, the ability to schedule an email isn’t just limited to newsletters anymore!
Thanks to Boomerang, you can now write your email and schedule it to go out at whatever time you want.
So, the next time you have a brilliant work idea in the middle of the night or need to send out a quick email while you’re thinking about it, you have the ability to choose the best time for it to be sent, like first thing in the morning.
The Inbox Pause feature allows you to prevent new emails from coming into your inbox for a period of time. You can set it up to wait a few hours, or a couple of days before resuming email delivery. You can also write a custom message to communicate clearly with your clients.Time to take a break? The Inbox Pause feature allows you to prevent new emails from coming into your inbox for a period of time. Click To Tweet
Respondable is what makes Boomerang special. As you write an email, it rates the likelihood of whether you’ll receive a response. Pretty nifty, huh? Respondable looks at things like word count, question count, positivity, and reading level. When taken together, these elements combined give you an idea of whether you’ll hear back from the recipient.
The most frustrating thing about Boomerang is that it costs more for G Suite ($14.99/mo. vs. $4.99 for Gmail) – this only applies if you want unlimited credits to use the service. You can get some features – like Inbox Pause – as part of the free service.
Cheaper alternative: Gmelius
Gmelius, appears to have the same functionality as Boomerang, and more – except for the ‘Respondable” feature. I love the price and that it doesn’t cost more because I use G Suite.
These email tools are pretty great too. These tools help with organization, getting messages out quickly and disseminating information.
Kiwi for Gmail: a standalone app for gmail that integrates everything (Drive, Calendar, etc.) into one place. I’ve been using it for about a year.
Creating canned responses within Gmail/G Suite: Did you know you can create canned responses? It’s pretty cool and easy!
Evernote: I use Evernote to clip, save, annotate…. EVERYTHING. I can also turn around and share those notes via email. If you take notes during a meeting you immediately share it with your clients – straight from Evernote. (You can also use OneNote – included with your Microsoft Office Suite)
What tools do you use? Let us know in the comments!
Jen McFarland is a business systems expert, podcaster, and blogger. She’s helped hundreds of businesses and thousands of podcast listeners make better business decisions. Jen’s passion is helping women-owned businesses get the growth tools they need to meet their 3-5 year business goals.
Are you starting a business? Confused about how to grow? Check out Jen’s Picks, my favorite business growth tools.