For the purposes of this article, I’m assuming that like me, you rely on email for many of your freelance Voice Over connections, leads, auditions, prospecting, and follow-ups.  So… it’s just important.  

My use of email is practically the foundation of my business day.  I understand there’s a danger in that, but I’ve found some tools to manage, even control my email flow & therefore my time-use efficiency, and I’ll share them with you here today.

I know there are those of you out there who still use AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo, GMX, Thunderbird, Apple Mail, or some other 3rd-party program, but Gmail is it.  MS Outlook is a close second, and there are a plethora of Outlook add-ons too, but I decided about 3 years ago that Gmail was the future, and I’ve found nothing to dissuade me so far.

I hate that ANY software monopolizes a marketplace.  I hate that Google has already broken it’s promise to “do no evil” many times over.  And I hate that I’ll probably never really know how they’re monitoring my activity, but I’m going to put aside all those concerns for right now, ’cause the sheer flood of awesome Gmail add-on choices are off the charts, actually.

I’m just today finishing a free evaluation of MixMax, and it’s hands-down the most astonishing suite of Gmail tools I’ve ever seen… well worth the cost of a subscription, and the lowest buy-in is $9/mo.  Affordable.

The long list of things it does goes beyond the scope of this article, but safe to say it incorporates a number of stand-alone extensions and plug-ins that you will now be able to delete.  Scheduling, CRM, SendLater, shortcuts, email open tracking, templates, polls, surveys, Giphy integration, undo send, tables, .pdf slideshows, mail merge, custom graphics, and that’s just scratching the surface.

I can WAIT to enroll as a full subscriber for this program.  So impressed!

...aggregates all the email subscriptions you signed up for, and maybe those you didn't even KNOW you signed up for... Click To Tweet

FollowUpThen (FUT) is another outstanding tool.  It’s not a plug-in, it’s something you have to learn to use, but when you figure out the syntax, it’s irreplaceable.  You’d  never guess there are so many customizable ways to delay, resend, forward, remind, and send an email later.  I’m probably not even doing it justice here, but it does this one thing so well that even MixMax doesn’t come close on this one task.

CloudHQ provides another suite of Gmail add-ons in the form of extensions.  You have to install each of them separately, but they’re free as far as I can tell, and integrate into your Gmail interface nicely.   Mostly they allow you to save any email to whatever cloud service you use:  OneDrive, Box, DropBox, GDrive, Evernote, OneNote.  You can also save as .pdf or get a link to share a specific email.

Discoverly is yet another browser extension for Gmail that immediately posts on the Gmail page any social media or contact information about the person who is emailing you, or whom you are emailing.  I know others add-ons do this too (Salesforce/LinkedIn), but I just like Discoverly’s style, ease of operation, and lack of heavy-handedness in co-opting your Gmail program.

Finally, if you just want a simple CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) add-on…and that alone, then Streak is your friend.  The $0 plan is just for freelance folks like us, and offers some pretty decent functionality.

Honorable mention:  Unroll.me.  This program gathers up and lets you configure all the subscriptions you signed up for, and maybe those you didn’t even KNOW you signed up for, and aggregates them into one easy-to-read email that you can quickly peruse, and just as quickly delete.  ‘Can’t tell you how much this will unclutter your inbox.

So there you have it.  Go forth and conquer your email challenges with any and all of these tools.

CourVO

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