By: Sanjeev N

5 Gmail add-ons that can help startups and small businesses

In the world of business, the consumer mindset works on the dictates of reason, logic, and tastes. So, it’s quite normal to see people saying “What’s in it for me?” or “Show me the money (or value) and get my undivided attention”. You can win the trust of a consumer, a potential partner, or investor only if you have a sound digital infrastructure and an impeccable mix of products and services. Today, the digital infrastructure symbolizes every aspect of our life and dealings, both in the personal and social networking space. The conduct of our life rests on the daily usability of countless goal-specific dashboards. Even here, money power helps you leverage logistical backup by serving you statistical response management systems that cover anything from business engagement methodologies and  tracking to analytics, click through advertisements, and data advisories to behavioral assessments. Now, how do small businesses or startups with little financial resources make sure they have a winning formula in a world where everything comes at a price? That’s where free apps come in. Since every customer-focused exercise of a startup or a small business starts with communication, let’s take a look at five Gmail add-ons that could help you devise a good communication strategy and ease your workflow. 1. Yesware ( image001 What is it? It is an email tracking tool that can be added to your Gmail account via Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. It helps you keep track of email click and open rates, enabling you to take quick follow-up action and engage clients and customers in a steady dialogue. It gives you a real-time analysis of your mail trail and even mentions the various devices being used by your recipient to open the mail. The availability of pre-formatted templates can help you save time whenever you have to send across urgent messages. Usually, this tool is used by sales professionals who are always hungry for the next lead. What’s the advantage? Yesware’s email tracking tool can be synchronized with some of the best customer relationship management systems, including that of Salesforce. Who can benefit from Yesware? Ideally, this email tracking tool is meant for sales people who are looking to fill up the gaps between potential leads, follow-ups, conversions, and future engagements with multiple rounds of customer or client persuasion, backed by demonstration of the value of products and services they are seeking to provide. However, individuals from various walks of life can utilize this tool to see if they are on their way to building some valuable relationships. The real deal is in the potency of a follow-up action, so at the end of the day, email click or open rates may only partially reflect the behavior of the recipient. Nevertheless, they help you understand the open-endedness of the customer to give you a chance to prove yourself. 2.Boomerang for Gmail ( image003 What is it? Boomerang for Gmail, a Chrome-Fire Fox plug-in, provides an email scheduling and alert service that can assist you in channelizing your energies towards maintenance of a well-balanced communication strategy. From setting up personal reminders on task or project management schedules and issues, events, and achievables to compartmentalizing your daily correspondences to specific target groups within well thought out time intervals and consigning an issue/event to the backburner until it gives you the breathing space or time to deal with it, Boomerang for Gmail is a pretty good tool that can help you attend to the demands of the moment. It helps you honor your commitments with a sense of prioritization by keeping you away from the clutter of a disorganized chain of mails. Boomerang for Gmail virtually triggers action at an appointed hour only after you set the scheduling in motion, be it mails to be sent later, reminders for follow-up action, or reappearance of mails at the desired time intervals. What’s the advantage? Communication becomes easy and structured when you are able to decide upon the rightness of time for every targeted action. Who can benefit from Boomerang for Gmail? Any individual or business looking for a well-streamlined communication strategy can benefit from Boomerang for Gmail. It’s a question of pulling out all the stops when you really have to. So, instead of a having trouble boomeranging on you, why not make a pre-planned solution return to you at the most opportune time. Every one of us is always short of time, so why not make the best of available time with properly directed endeavors. 3.Rapportive ( image005 What is it? Rapportive is a Chrome and Firefox extension that enables you to build rapport with all of the unknown people that are seeking to network with you through a host of product and service pipelines. These are people whom you come across in your daily mail subscriptions or social or promotional or daily communications. They may have been referred to you by a person in your network or may have been tracking you as part of a follow-up to a click-through you made in the past. Trusting any or all of these people is difficult without enough credible, background information about the prospective partner in question. That’s where Rapportive brings you details of a person through social channels, giving you an instant window to kick-start a conversation if you intend to explore the lead. Remember, such information can be accessed via Rapportive only if the said person has shared his personal/professional details in the social or public domain. What’s the advantage? It’s all about networking and knowing the right people for the right jobs. Who can benefit from Rapportive? Anybody can benefit. It’s not just about gaining access to information about others in your Gmail contacts. It’s also about creating a Rapportive profile for yourself and linking that to your social channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to ensure that sharing of personal/professional information goes both ways. That is, it’s not just you who’s looking to network with the right people. Others too stand to gain from your resourcefulness, innovation, and skills. The networking part doesn’t end there. You can also view posts and tweets being shared by your acquaintances through Rapportive. 4.Streak ( image007 What is it? Streak is a Gmail add-on designed for project management, sales in particular. Streak provides you with certain “pipelines” that can be customized to your project processing needs and workflow. With the ability to append the contacts of your customers within Gmail, Streak helps you locate the source of lead generation, channelize action to desired leads, monitor the procession of a sales call through various stages until conversion and subsequent follow-ups, track email click and open rates, and create snippets or customized messages that need to be sent out to a common group of customers or your team. From clubbing emails from a customer into a box to notifications about updates or messages or comments from each customer or team member to sharing of information with your team members, Streak can take a great deal of stress off your mind. You can even schedule emails for a time slot of your choice. What’s the advantage? Streak is a great customer relationship management (CRM) system built within Gmail. Who can benefit from Streak? Any business that depends on lead generation and multiple stages of project processing can benefit from Streak. 5. Undo Send ( image009 A simple Gmail Labs plug-in, Undo Send will help you cancel a message before it is sent to a prospective recipient. But remember, you will have to make up your mind within a maximum window of 30 seconds. What’s the advantage? Goof-ups can happen with anybody. Don’t they? Who can benefit from Undo Send? Anyone given to second thoughts about a mail can benefit from Undo Send. So, that’s it for now. Check out these Gmail add-ons if you still haven’t tried any of these, and let us know what you think of them. Have you got any better suggestions? Please write in and let us know your recommendations.


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