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Grow Your Business Technology

Email Smarter With These Gmail and Outlook Plugins

Email Smarter With These Gmail and Outlook Plugins
Credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Despite all the predictions that email would eventually be replaced by something better, that just doesn't seem to be happening. No matter how hard companies like Slack and others try to kill it off, email keeps winning.

The best way to manage the daily deluge is to get some digital elves to assist in powering through those tasks. With third-party inbox plugins, you can get some help with writing better emails, creating a better system to keep in touch with your contacts, and saving those essential messages for quick retrieval.

Popular business email clients Gmail and Outlook have an extensive inventory of plugins that are ready to jump right in and get to work. If you want to email smarter and spend less time at it, here are five solid options to check out.

Boomerang is common among both Gmail and Outlook users because of how much data it can give about your inbox and those who respond to (or just ignore) your messages. This plugin lets you schedule emails, snooze them for later, get those all-important read receipts, and create follow-up reminders for those who put your emails on snooze.

The free tier gives you the basic feature set, but the real essentials like mobile tools and advanced machine learning require one of the premium subscriptions that start at $4.99 monthly.

This one's exclusively for Gmail, and it offers a 21st century version of what was once known as a tickler file – a file folder where you put the stuff that you needed to get back to. FollowUp.cc will pull up previous messages, let you add in notes about contacts, and schedule nudges to keep in touch with others.

After the 14-day trial, you'll need to pony up for a subscription plan starting at $18 per month. There's also an edition that integrates with Salesforce data, though that's priced at $40 monthly. There's a deep amount of integration with the popular CRM software, so if your company is a heavy user of Salesforce services, it may be worth looking at.

The world of business requires that you use confident language, even if that's not exactly how you're feeling. This handy Chrome extension (Gmail only) called Just Not Sorry aims to help you do that. Phrases like "I just wanted to know" and "sorry about that" are flagged so you can avoid using them in your messages. You might be surprised at how often such phrases can creep into your language, and this app helps you banish them.

Evernote remains a popular organizational tool that also includes several collaboration features. Given how much information comes across via email, a one-click way to save something into Evernote can be very valuable.

Evernote makes a plugin for Outlook, and another for Chrome that will perform this same function with Gmail. Once you save a message, you can add it to a notebook, tag it and throw in a few notes for yourself.

The process of printing out, scanning and returning a document that needs to be signed feels like it belongs in the last decade. DocuSign is a workable solution. There's a plugin for both Gmail and Outlook that allows you to add your digital signature to a document without the need to fire up the printer.

The plugins streamline the process so you can both send and receive such file types. Sending out files will require one of the company's monthly plans, but it could be a worthwhile value for those in real estate or other industries that require a lot of authorization.

Derek Walter

Derek Walter is a freelance writer in northern California. He is the founder of Walter Media and author of Learning MIT App Inventor. Follow him on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn or Google+.