If you’re like me, you use Gmail every day, and almost every waking hour, with the exception of weekends (if I can summon the willpower). Few email platforms have the diverse functionality, speed, or sheer branding power behind Gmail, and once you start using it for the bulk of your tasks, there’s no going back.
Of course, since we all spend so much time on email — some estimates predict about 6.3 hours a day for the average worker — even the best standalone platform eventually doesn’t seem like enough to afford us the highly productive, highly convenient working life that all marketers want.
1. EmailAnalytics. As a marketer, you’ve probably used Google Analytics, so you know the power that accompanies new knowledge of in-depth metrics. With Google Analytics, those metrics cover the people coming to your site. Email Analytics is sort of like Google Analytics, but for your email — including who you’re emailing, who’s emailing you, and how long you spend on a daily basis. It’s an excellent platform for analyzing your email productivity, as well as that of your employees, since it integrates with employee Gmail and G-Suite accounts, and enables you to set up side-by-side comparisons. It’s the best tool available if you’re looking for analytics for Gmail.
2. Unroll.me. Ironically, all of us are currently subscribed to at least a dozen marketing email lists that we wish we were never a part of—yet every day, we delete the emails we get because it’s somehow easier than managing all those subscriptions individually. That’s where Unroll.me comes into play — it will immediately generate a list of all the subscriptions you’re a part of, and allow you to unsubscribe from whichever lists you prefer. Best of all, it’s completely free.
3. Boomerang. No list of Gmail tools is complete without a mention of Boomerang. I use the Boomerang extension for Gmail to remind me when emails go unanswered for too long. When sending an email, simply tick a box if you want to be reminded after a certain amount of time if the email hasn’t received a response, and it’ll get pushed back to the top of your inbox when that time comes. I’ve found it perfect for internal communication, outreach and follow-up with publishers and advertisers, and pretty much literally every email that requires a response.
4. LinkedIn Sales Navigator (formerly Rapportive). As a marketer, you need to keep your email contacts organized; this is a position that demands personal relationships (with clients, publishers, advertisers, and contractors), so you should install LinkedIn Sales Navigator. The tool gives you a pop-up display detailing everything you need to know about your email contacts. You can even integrate it with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn so you can see each contact’s profile picture and latest posts.
5. WiseStamp. If you’ve ever tried to use a signature in Gmail, you know that the features are pretty limited — and your results may vary. I’m not one to use a flashy email signature (bigger, more detailed signatures can actually be pretty annoying), but WiseStamp helps you create something a bit better than the standard default. It’s great if you’re trying to build some early branding or if you want to make a good first impression with your latest contacts.
6. Find Big Mail. With one of the most appropriately titled tools on this list, Find Big Mail helps you find the most storage-intensive emails in your inbox, like those giant PDFs from your graphic designers or the brand docs from your biggest clients. It’s the tool you don’t realize you need until you start pressing against that 15 GB storage limit. When you hit that threshold, this tool will sort your emails in order of size, so you can quickly delete the most egregious offenders.
7. FollowUp CC. Followup.cc is a tool somewhat similar to Boomerang, since it allows you to follow up with your contacts and set reminders for yourself. However, it has more intuitive functionality and several different features that will appeal to some users. With the service, you can enter any period of time, followed by @followup.cc, as an email address in the CC or BCC field. When you do, you’ll receive an automated reminder email after the time interval you specified. You can even set the app to disregard reminders for emails if a client replies to you before the time elapses.
8. Drag. Drag is more exciting than it sounds—trust me. It’s a free Chrome extension that helps you convert your Gmail inbox into an intuitive, Trello-style productivity board. With it, you can drag and drop your individual emails into to-do lists or columns based on their current status; from there, you can easily gauge and monitor your productivity, and stay on top of your most important campaigns.
9. Sanebox. Sanebox is designed to automate the process of email prioritization. Since you’re in marketing, you’re probably getting hundreds of emails from dozens of different sources, so it’s easy for the top-priority messages to get lost in the shuffle. Sanebox uses signature algorithms to learn from your preferences and sort emails into specific folders, giving you the most urgent messages in your inbox first and putting low-priority messages to the side—until you have time to read them.
10. Hidden Features. It’s not a third-party tool like most of the items on this list, but it’s certainly worth mentioning, since not many marketers know about it. Gmail actually has a wealth of “hidden” features that can improve your email experience. If you want to see them, click the gear-shaped icon to access Settings, and from there, I recommend you explore. You can enable functionalities like additional colored stars to help you sort your emails, advanced labeling preferences, and new Categories you can use to automatically sort incoming messages. You’ll even find a tab for “Labs,” which contains, in the words of Google, “some crazy experimental stuff,” like canned responses, custom keyboard shortcuts, and special calendar integrations.
Will these Gmail tools make you instantly more productive? But if you invest the time and effort into learning how to use them properly, and take action on the things you learn, there’s no reason why your productivity and satisfaction can’t improve with these tools.
Most of these Gmail tools are either free or offer free trials, so you’ve got nothing to lose but a few minutes of your time in trying them. Give them a shot, and see if you can’t be a better emailer –and marketer –by the end of it.