Gmail Add-Ons That Will Boost Your Productivity

by

As one of the world’s 1.2 billion Gmail users, you know you could get more out of your workday if you could get more out of your Gmail. Tweaks and hacks abound, from hundreds of third-party apps to the 23 add-ons launched in the G Suite Marketplace in 2017.

Here are some of our favorites (quick note: some are free, some have pricing tiers, and all that is subject to change. Be sure to check each service’s details for full pricing info).

Fast Gmail tweaks

An array of Gmail tweaks are already under the hood. You just have to turn them on.

When you go into your Gmail’s handy gear icon and bring up Settings, there’s a nondescript “Labs” tab you might not have paid attention to before. The nine options in Gmail’s Labs provide quick changes that can help you get more efficiency and productivity out of your Gmail inbox.

To try out a Lab, just select “Enable” next to the service, then hit “Save Changes” at the bottom of the screen.

Here are three to test drive:

  • Canned responses: Write and save your own email templates, such as for customer service, introductory emails to cold and warm leads, or frequently asked questions. Once enabled a “Canned responses” listing will appear in the “more options” submenu when using Gmail in a desktop browser. You can save, insert, and delete canned responses all from a “compose new email” screen.
  • Auto-Advance: When you move on from an email, what should Gmail do? Should it go to the inbox? Advance to the next email? Auto-advance lets you customize that action to your preferences. Once enabled, you’ll be able to tweak the settings from your general settings area. This may seem like a small thing, but it’s a matter of preference and saving yourself clicks that add up. If you prefer to immediately advance to the next email, you can set that preference, saving you from returning to the inbox only to have to click on the next email.
  • Preview pane: By default, Gmail either displays your inbox or the email you’ve clicked on. In email apps such as Microsoft Outlook though, a preview pane shows you a list of your emails, and a separate area next to it shows the contents of the email you’ve clicked on. This Lab enables a preview pane in your Gmail inbox, helping you review and process email faster.

Set tasks and manage productivity

Whether reviewing multiple inboxes or making sure the right email is being managed by one point of contact, sharing and delegating email duties can be a pain—unless you have the right tools to make it easier.

Whether setting tasks, managing productivity, or coordinating with team members, here are productivity tools that directly integrate into Gmail as add-ons:

  • Asana for Gmail: For all its strengths, email is not a project management platform. However, email can be a common source for tasks entering your work world. The folks behind the popular team and project management platform Asana realized that users needed a way to bridge email to project management. Asana in your inbox helps you quickly transform emails into tasks. Not only can you better maintain a current list of action items, you and your team can keep better tabs on task and project statuses, as well as delegate tasks, set deadlines, and attach files.
  • Outpost: Focused on tactical, simple tools, Outpost helps teams manage shared inboxes and make sure emails don’t slip through the cracks. The entire team can manage shared inboxes through unique logins, making it easy for managers to assign specific emails to individual team members, and know at a glance which emails are being deal with and which still need handling. A template library can streamline messaging and decrease time spent typing out the same message over and over. Team members can also share drafts and have internal discussions—without worrying about any of that conversation accidentally winding up in the customer’s inbox.
  • Trello for Gmail: Trello for Gmail allows you to quickly integrate tasks that arise in email messages into the Trello’s project management cards and boards. Subject lines and body text can be transformed into card titles and descriptions, so you can streamline your workflow by maintaining a similar, familiar format. Emails turned into tasks can be posted to any of your Trello boards and lists, so you can stay on top of tasks and statuses.

Sales management and CRM integration

As your company grows and begins to communicate with more current and potential customers, you might consider using a customer relationship management (CRM) platform to manage information about each client or prospect.

When a new prospect gets in touch or you’re in the middle of negotiating a deal, you need at-the-ready CRM information and other sales data.

And, since you’re already in your inbox a lot, there’s no better place than your Gmail to have your CRM system at the ready too:

  • Streak CRM Add-on for Gmail: Why go into your CRM application, especially when on the go, when you can just manage sales, recruiting, and customer support in your inbox instead? Streak’s Gmail add-on helps you manage customer details in your current workflow, as well as access your Google Calendar, Google Sheets, and Google Drive. Streak also gives you tools for team collaboration.
  • Pod for Gmail: Calendar organization and reminder tool Pod helps you turn emails into scheduled meetings, view your calendar history, and stay current on your contacts and prospects. It will even give you suggestions—such as options for meeting times—so you can more quickly get back to people and move prospects through your sales funnel.
  • ProsperWorks CRM Add-on for Gmail: Focused on a seamless, simple-to-use CRM experience, ProsperWorks helps you log activities and interactions, review activity before a call or meeting, and quickly add new leads to your funnel. You can also access your full CRM data right inside your Gmail, without needing to switch to another tab or app.

Invoice from your inbox

Ah, invoicing. It gets the bills paid, but it can be time-consuming.

Streamline invoicing through client lookups and invoice generation, all inside your Gmail inbox:

  • QuickBooks Invoicing for Gmail: Even if you aren’t a QuickBooks user, you can use this add-on to generate and send professional-looking invoices directly from Gmail. Your clients will also gain access to online payments via credit cards and bank transfers—and you’ll spend less time calculating, setting up, attaching, and sending invoices. The add-on also gives you at-a-glance invoice status, so you know who’s paid, who needs to be invoiced, and who needs a follow-up.
  • FreshBooks G Suite Integration: When using FreshBooks to track your financials and process invoices, integrating with Gmail helps you in three ways. If a client is in your Google Contacts, typing their name into a FreshBooks invoice will auto-populate in the client list, and you can quickly create them as a client in Freshbooks. A relationship feed helps you keep track of a client’s billing status. And, because we could all do with one less thing to log into, with single sign-on you can sign into FreshBooks from your G Suite Dashboard.

Schedule emails and automate follow-up

Have you ever pressed “send,” already sensing that your email will never be read or replied to? How many times have you sent an email on a Friday afternoon, and worried it would get buried over the weekend and overlooked on Monday?

Enter the wonderful world of scheduling emails. So, feel free to write those emails on a Friday or right before the holidays. Instead of those emails lying forgotten in the Drafts folder, you can schedule them to go out at a better time.

These types of Gmail add-ons don’t just schedule, though. Here are three to check out:

  • Boomerang for Gmail: Write it now, send it at the right time. Boomerang’s convenient suite of options helps you write email whenever you want—you know, like when you take a late night to catch up your inbox. Instead of your contacts wondering why you’re emailing them at night or on the weekend, you can instead schedule your emails for regular business hours or whenever you choose. Boomerang also pings you if you haven’t heard back from someone, and it tidies your inbox for you, by taking out messages until a date and time that you specify you need them.
  • FollowUp CC: Haven’t heard back from someone? When you send an email, turn to FollowUp CC to write and schedule follow-up emails by date and time—perfect for time-sensitive matters, or routine correspondence where you want to get ahead of communication. Even better? Scheduled follow up emails self-cancel when you receive a reply—and real-time notifications tell you when a contact opens your email.
  • Bananatag Gmail Email Tracking: In addition to email scheduling, Bananatag provides metrics and reports on open and click rates for your emails, as well as what devices your emails are being read on. Knowing what your customers are and are not engaging with can help you continue to improve how, when, and what you email—all the better, since Bananatag also integrates into popular CRMs such as Salesforce, Zoho, and Base.

Sign off with eye-catching flair

Before signing off here, for our last Gmail add-on pick it’s only appropriate that we look at how you sign off your email. Sure, you can keep things plain-text and bare bones—but why?

Having an eye-catching yet professional email sig can help people notice who you are, what you do, and the benefit you can bring them. With WiseStamp’s Gmail signatures, your sig can tastefully showcase your brand, contact info, social networks, a headshot, and more. Test-drive WiseStamp with its free online email sig generator so you can see what untapped potential lies in your sig.

Gmail is powerful—but part of its power lies in its flexibility and extensibility. Improving your workflow and thinning out your inbox can be as simple as a few add-ons, so try some of these in your Gmail today and see how your workflow changes.

Posted in Email

Anthony St. Clair

Anthony St. Clair

Anthony St. Clair is a business copywriter, author of the Rucksack Universe travel fantasy series, and a craft beer writer specializing in Oregon. Learn more at anthonystclair.com.