Google surrounds us. Whether you’re searching for something online (Google), browsing your favorite videos (Youtube) or looking at reviews for places to eat (Zagat,) Google is bound to show up. In fact, they have acquired and merged with more than 150 different companies.
When I first launched my business (Flight Media) in November of 2013, I was against using gmail, Google Drive, Google+, and a bunch of other Google platforms. A lot of it was out of ignorance to Google’s platforms, but mostly because I didn’t want to ‘go with the flow’ of what everyone else was doing. In the last few months, however, I took a deep dive into streamlining my business (because things have been getting so busy) and Google became almost unavoidable. Whether I was trying to transfer documents, set up an ad campaign, check my blog stats, or send an email, using different platforms for each need added a great deal of time because I had to keep logging into each site. So, I gave in. (And I’m glad I did.) Here are the exact Google hacks I’ve used to greatly increase productivity in my company:
My largest hesitation in switching to Gmail was that 'email@example.com' wasn't half as professional as 'firstname.lastname@example.org'. Having @gmail at the end of your email address screams unprofessional and I hated the thought of it. Then I learned how to send & receive emails for email@example.com from Gmail. (It was glorious!) Sending & receiving emails from gmail is a lot easier than it sounds. You don't have to mess with different SMTP servers either (if that word even means something to you!) Plus, once it's set up, you can select which email you want to 'send as' from a drop down menu. :-) To send as firstname.lastname@example.org, all you need to do is:
To receive emails from your domain to Gmail, all you need to do is:
How many times do you check your email every day? My guess--a lot. There's nothing wrong with checking your email, but you can shorten the time you spend on it by checking the right stuff. It's great that Google filters your inbox, social & promotional, but what about all your receipts, 'new subscriber' notifications, free consultation requests, and more? You filter them. With filters, you can automatically make sure emails from certain email addresses, certain subject lines, or 'words contained' in the message are automatically sent to certain folders for later review (or even deleted). For me, I have more than 2 dozen Facebook ad campaigns running at all times. This prompts 10-15 DAILY emails saying 'Your ad has been approved' and 'Here's your Facebook Ad Receipt.' So, because these settings can't be maneuvered from Facebook's dashboard, I do them in Gmail. I make and emails from email@example.com that contain the word 'approved' go straight to the trash & and emails with the word 'Receipt' go straight to my receipt folder for later review. Here's how you do it:
I use these steps to filter eBook sales, blog comments, urgent emails, receipts, and more.
This is my favorite Google tool--ever. Unless you're sending an email broadcast to your subscribers, it's hard to know if someone got your email, opened it, or even clicked any of your links. Yesware eliminates that problem. If you're sending emails to potential clients or customers, it allows you to see when they open it, what their location is (city, country), what device they open it on, what time it's opened, and what links they click. I use this for myself, but it's perfect for sales teams. They can create email templates, track prospect estimated values, track how much they closed in sales, and a ton more.
Let's be honest with ourselves for a second. Scheduling sucks. One person in the party almost always forgets about the agreed time or a meeting time is set, then rescheduled because someone looks at their schedule later and realizes they double-booked. It seems like no matter how hard we try, our schedules are always all over the place because there are so many calendar apps out there and no reminders. I used to use iCalendar, Google Calendar and my iPhone calendar. In fact, after I booked a meeting, I would log into all three and add the meeting. (Google for my team, iCalendar for my computer and my iPhone to have it handy on-the-go.) With Try Betty (Assistant.to), I can send clients and prospects an email directly from Gmail with a list of possible meeting times, the location (Skype, phone, Google Hangout, etc.) and the length. They get to pick what time works best for them and my Google calendar is in sync with it, so I don't double-book. Priceless.
I'm probably one of the most forgetful people I've ever met. (I hate to admit it, but it's the truth..) I hate having something on my 'to-do list' for several days or weeks down the line because it usually gets lost on my desk or computer. Boomerang helps solve that problem when it comes to emailing. When I onboard a new client for social media management or ad management, I create an email and schedule it to send two weeks from that day to see how things are going and to see if they're happy with my team's work. Boomerang adds a 'send later' button to your Gmail emails and even allows you to create messages to go out if they 'didn't reply', 'didn't click', 'didn't open, or even 'send regardless' of them doing any of those. Mixed with Yesware's email templates, it makes checking in with customers/clients extremely easy.
This one is pretty neat. Although it doesn't consume a ton of time, getting out your smartphone (or old-fashioned) calculator can be a minuscule task. Lucky for our laziness, Google Chrome's search bar can do complex mathematical equations and the answer will display in the drop down. Check it out.
This last one is an amazing feature that I've been using daily. Let's face it: Google+ is becoming a must for branding. Heck, Google+ posts are now being indexed in Google's search algorithm, so it won't be long before we can't NOT use it for marketing. With Gmail, you can add anybody you're emailing to your circles directly from the email. Whenever I get emails from clients, potential leads, subscribers, etc., I put them in the proper circle and they usually add me right back! :-) This helps me keep people organized and allows me to make sure my Google+ circles are extremely targeted.
It’s easy to spread yourself thin. I know I’ve done it countless times. If you implement any of these concepts, you will easily improve your workflow and minimize time spent on different platforms. Leave a comment with your favorite Google Hack! (I need more) 8-)