Gmail currently has more than 1.5 billion active users around the world. It is one of the most popular platforms that small businesses use to communicate with customers, partners and team members. But if you’re only using the main features of the platform, you could really be missing out.
Gmail is a highly customizable platform that you can shape and adjust to fit your exact specifications. To do this, you just need to know a few quick Gmail tricks.
Create Canned Responses
Do you often find yourself sending the same types of emails over and over again? Instead of typing out the same response each time, canned responses let you essentially create templates to cut your email time in half. Find the canned responses options within your Gmail settings and then compose your message as usual. When you go to send an email, pull up the canned response that fits your needs and make any necessary adjustments before hitting send.
If you’ve ever sent an email only to immediately realize that you hit “reply all,” sent it to the wrong person or made a major typo, you’re in luck. Gmail allows you to unsend messages if you act quickly. Under settings, you can select whether you want between 5 and 30 seconds to hit “unsend.” Once you’ve sent a message in error, the alert that pops up on your screen letting you know that your message has been sent will also include the unsend option.
Check Your Calendar
If you use Google Calendar to keep track of meetings, events and to-dos, it may help you to know that you can view your calendar without actually leaving Gmail. There’s a small calendar icon at the top right corner of the screen. Click that to view any upcoming events and switch back and forth between the calendar and email view easily.
Busy entrepreneurs don’t always have time to fully read every email. Gmail’s Preview Pane option can help you scan through messages to quickly decide which ones need responses right away. To enable this feature, just go to your advanced settings and click “enable” under the Preview Pane section. Then your main email dashboard should display as a split screen with previews on one side.
Combine Multiple Accounts
Lots of businesses choose to create multiple email accounts for different functions. But if you’re a solo operation or a small team, you might have one person who’s responsible for managing multiple accounts. Go to “accounts and imports” under your email settings and set up each additional email account to forward to your main account. Then add them as a sending address as well. Then you can send and receive emails from multiple accounts without switching back and forth constantly.
If you’re part of a lot of group conversations that don’t necessarily relate to you specifically, you may be able to save valuable time by muting conversations. To take advantage of this feature, go to the message that you want to mute. This option is available under the “more” drop-down menu toward the top of the screen.
Share Account Access
For business owners who have virtual assistants or team members and want to outsource certain inbox management tasks, you have the ability to share access to your email account without sharing your full account details. This option is available under the “accounts” section of your settings. You can send the person a message that lets them create their own login details. That way, they can get into your account to send messages or perform certain tasks without having full authority. This may be especially helpful if they leave your team or your policies change. It lets you update your settings and keep your account secure without worrying if they’ll get access first.
Make Phone Calls
You can use Google Hangouts to make voice calls right from your Gmail Dashboard. There’s a small phone icon under your account information right on the main dashboard. Click that and enter in the number you want to call. This can be especially helpful for those who want to avoid making business calls from personal numbers.
Under your Gmail settings, you have the option of creating a priority inbox for your most important messages. You can also create and adjust settings to control which items get placed into your priority inbox. That way, you can avoid sifting through thousands of unimportant emails just to get to the few that need immediate responses.
Use Gmail Add-Ons
In addition to these official settings, Gmail also allows you to use third party add-ons to really customize your email experience. Under your settings tab, click “get add-ons” and then search for the ones you want. You can find options for automatically unsubscribing you from lists, managing your calendar and even helping you find email contacts on social media.