You spend over half your workday checking email—4.1 hours a day, to be exact.
That’s no overblown generalization—it’s a disconcerting fact revealed in a recent study by Adobe Digital Insights (ADI).
Time spent checking work and personal email in 2016. Source.
Whether we like it or not, email has now transitioned into an “always-on” convention that dictates how we spend a significant portion of our time at work.
Since work hours spent on email are only expected to increase in the coming years, your focus should be on increasing efficiency and productivity. You can take advantage of email software tools that let you do more in less time.
We’ve put together a list of the best email productivity software tools that help you accomplish more with your emails in less time—freeing up more time for your other work. We cover the best-in-class tools in the following categories:
- Task Organization
- Marketing Communication
- Followup Reminders
- Inbox Management
- Customer Support & Communication
- Contact Information
- Custom Automation
These tools offer the ultimate productivity hacks for big-picture email management and keeping track of the nitty-gritty details. Check out the following tools to get your email under control and start clearing out your inbox.
One of the biggest impediments to increased productivity is disorganization. Working collaboratively on tasks within email can be horribly inefficient without an organized and transparent system for managing your to-do lists.
These tools will keep you from wasting time on status-check emails and team check-ins.
Email Productivity Hack: Track all the scheduled, pending, completed, and not-getting-done tasks for you and your team so you can get more done.
Peter Drucker, management consultant, educator, and author, famously said: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” This couldn’t be truer than in the case of tracking the status of team tasks. How many emails have you sent and received in the last week alone asking “where are we on this task?” or “who’s preparing the report?”
We built I Done This to work right inside your email and replace “status check” emails. You can track all your team tasks without extra emailing and manage your work (and inbox!) in less time than you can type “where are we on this?”
Pricing: I Done This team plans come in three packages. The Standard plan offers three free integrations for $9/user/month, the Plus plan offers unlimited integrations for $22/user/month, and the Enterprise plan offers additional bank-grade security and advanced reporting features for $35/user/month. (All prices reflect annual billing.)
Email Productivity Hack: Organize your sales without leaving your email.
Sortd transforms your Gmail into a powerful sales tool that lets you manage your entire customer sales journey from right inside your email software. With an easy drag-and-drop interface, Sortd lets you import all email into your sales pipeline and keep track of all your client contacts, notes, and next steps in one place. The tool also lets you share all your prospect lists and updates with your team so everyone knows who’s taking care of what at any moment.
Pricing: You can try Sortd on a free monthly plan for up to four lists, or sign up for the Pro plan for $2/user/month for unlimited lists and three extra project boards, or for the Team plan for $5/user/month for five team boards and task-assignment features.
Email communication is vital to marketing campaigns. A company can suffocate if their marketing outreach is weak.
But coordinating and keeping up this communication takes constant collaboration. Marketing email communication needs input from various team members and departments, especially on a small team. Having a centralized tool for this collaboration is essential to productivity.
Email Productivity Hack: Automate all your marketing emails to free your team’s time.
Campaign Monitor lets you create automated customer journeys and personalized email campaigns that let you automatically send emails to the right customers at the right time without taking up your team’s workday.
Email templates let you easily design beautiful and effective emails with the input of your whole team, while powerful metrics tools let you track and measure the success of each campaign so you can keep optimizing them for even better results.
Pricing: Campaign Monitor offers pay-as-you-go pricing plans based on how many emails you send to how many people per month. Plans start with $9/month for up to 2,500 emails to 500 people and go all the way up to $989/month for unlimited emails to 50,000 people, and custom pricing for email lists of over 50,000 people.
Email Productivity Hack: Automate the customer lifecycle emails of your product
Customer.io lets you send personalized emails to all your customers based on the actions they take in your web or mobile app—but without making you actually send more emails. Using a light integration, Customer.io collects customer behavior data right from your app and uses that data to automatically trigger emails that help you increase user engagement, revenue, and overall customer success. The best part? You never had to manually hit “send” on any of these emails.
Pricing: Customer.io plans come in four main packages ranging from Growth (15,000 profiles) for $100/month to Enterprise (500,000 profiles) for $1250/month. Additionally, a pricing calculator lets you sign for a custom package based on your team’s specific needs.
Email follow-ups can slow down your overall productivity in two ways. First, when you constantly try to remember that you need to follow up on pending tasks, you can’t devote your undivided attention to other tasks. Second, when you forget to follow up on a task or project, you find yourself in a dead-end where you can’t proceed with your work until you get a response.
The following tools solve these problems once and for all so you can focus on getting important work done without having to worry about pending emails.
Productivity Email Hack: Clear your inbox of all pending tasks not due today and get automatic reminders at the time you have to follow up with something.
FollowUpThen is the simplest way to schedule an email reminder. The tool lets you use the bcc field of any email to set up a reminder to follow up with an email at the desired time. For example, typing “email@example.com” in your the bcc sends you a reminder in three days, so you never have to think about another followup time again. Want to clear out your inbox of all the tasks that need to wait until tomorrow? Email them to “firstname.lastname@example.org” and enjoy an uncluttered inbox for the rest of the day.
Pricing: You can try FollowUpThen for free for up to 50 follow-ups per month, or sign up for a Personal plan for $2/month for 250 follow-ups. If you need more, the Professional plan gives you 750 follow-ups for $5/month while the Company plan comes with two user accounts and unlimited follow-ups for $9/month.
Productivity Email Hack: Automatically control when you send and receive emails for a cleaner inbox.
One of the biggest email time-wasters is having to re-read emails. With Boomerang, you can significantly cut down on that time by writing your email responses as soon as you read an email. Then, you schedule them to go out at the right time without having to do ever open that email again. The tool also lets you set reminders to followup with an email later so you can safely archive emails for a cleaner inbox. It will also remind you to follow up with an email if you don’t hear after a specific amount of time.
Pricing: You can sign up for Boomerang for free for up to 10 message credits per month, or sign up for one of the paid accounts (Personal at $4.99/month, Pro at $14.00/month, Premium at $49.99/month) for unlimited message credits and more advanced features and controls.
Even after you clear out your inbox from all your marketing and customer-lifecycle emails and all your pending tasks and follow-ups, you’ll probably have a considerable amount of email rolling into your inbox throughout the day. With the following tools, you can manage that inflow by either sorting it or stopping it.
Email Productivity Hack: Set automations to automatically filter unimportant email out of your inbox.
SaneBox helps you clean up your inbox (and maintain your sanity) through powerful algorithms that scan your email activity to automatically separate all unimportant email and move it to a “SaneLater” folder. That way, your inbox contains only the important emails that need action. SaneBox also offers additional features like followup and reply reminders that let you know when you need to act on an email without having to waste any brainpower to keep it top of mind.
Pricing: SaneBox has three plans available. Snack lets your manage 1 email address for $7/month. Lunch lets your manage 2 email addresses for $12/month. And Dinner lets your manage 4 email address for $36/month. (Discounts for yearly and bi-yearly plans available.)
Email Productivity Hack: Get rid of your unwanted subscriptions with one click.
If you’re like the rest of us, you’re sure to be receiving more service emails in your inbox than you ever remember subscribing to. And a good number of them simply end up in your trash—because moving them there seems easier than having to go through the tedious process of unsubscribing from each one. Well, no more. When you sign up for Unroll.Me, you can quickly eliminate all unwanted email subscriptions with one click for a cleaner inbox that lets you be more productive.
Customer Support & Communication
Email Productivity Hack: Save time and work better by bringing all your customer communications in one place: a collaborative shared inbox.
Front is a smart, shared inbox built for team collaboration. It lets you manage group email like sales@ and support@, customer communications like chat, text messages, and social media, and your individual email, all in one place. With a shared inbox, your team can work on messages together, and everyone can access the information they need to get work done.
Features like snooze, assignments, tags, reminders, @mentions, and draft sharing help you work faster. Your team can also set “rules” to automate workflows you often repeat, so you can be more productive. Front takes a weight off your shoulders by decreasing the number of emails you receive each day, giving your team the context they need to reply, and making it easy to reach Inbox Zero.
Pricing: Front offers annual plans ranging from $15 to $49 per user, per month. Or, use Front monthly starting at $19 per user, per month.
Email Productivity Hack: Manage all your customer support tickets in one place and less time.
Solving customer issues can eat up a lot of your valuable inbox space and email time. By the time you’ve emailed the issue to the right teammate, found the best solution for the customer, sent it to the customer, and then followed up with them on further issues—you’ve sent and received a minimum of five emails.
If customer support emails regularly fill up your inbox, then you should consider moving your team to Zendesk Support so you can view, share, respond to, prioritize, and manage all your support emails from one place and in half the time that it takes you with traditional email software. With Zendesk data and reports, you’ll also get valuable insights about your customer service communications that can help you cut down email time even further.
Pricing: Zendesk Support comes in various packages starting at $5 per agent per month on the Essential plan and going up to $199/month on the Elite plan.
Email Productivity Hack: Handle all your customer support emails in a collaborative space.
Teamwork Desk helps you deal with all customer support emails in a shared space with your entire team for seamless collaboration that’s invisible to your customers. With advanced features like notes and ticket statuses, your entire team can help solve problems faster through shared input without any unnecessary back-and-forth emails ever making it to your inbox.
Pricing: Get the Basic plan of Teamwork Desk for $5/agent/month or sign up for Pro for $20/agent/month.
Email Productivity Hack: Quickly insert canned responses and snippets of other repeated text for faster emailing.
We all have a typing-speed max. But that shouldn’t stop you from writing responses to commonly asked questions and requests you receive faster. With TextExpander, you and your team can create shortcuts for snippets of text you often use in email communications (with customers, stakeholders, the press, etc.) allowing you not only to respond faster to emails but also to use consistent messaging across your company.
Pricing: Sign up for the Life Hacker plan for $3.33/month (billed annually) or get the Team plan for $7.96/user/month (billed annually).
When we email new customers, potential collaborators, press contacts, or other new people, we often spend a significant amount of time trying to track down information about them so we can reach them with the right message. The following tools automatically search email addresses for you, and import available info in your email manager software saving you valuable time.
Email Productivity Hack: Know everything about your Gmail contacts right from your inbox.
Finding out information and details about your contact so you can craft the right message can take up lots of time, slowing down your email productivity significantly. FullContact is a Chrome extension that automatically finds and shows you social profiles, job titles, tags, and notes on all your email contacts right in Gmail. The tool lets you build stronger relationships and connect with more people already in your extended network without wasting valuable time doing the info hunting on your own.
Pricing: You can install FullContact on a free plan for up to 100 matches per month. Or you can sign up for one of the paid subscriptions for more searches, starting at $99 per month for the Starter plan, and going up to $499 per month for the Premium plan, and custom quotes for Business plans.
Email Productivity Hack: Find any email address in just a few seconds.
With apps for both Gmail and Outlook, Clearbit Connect makes it easy to find and connect with anyone right from your inbox, saving you countless hours of tedious searching. Simply type the name of the company you want to contact in the search bar and instantly see all available accounts. Looking for people holding a specific position? Simply type the title and find various professionals across companies. And you don’t just get emails, but also all their available relevant personal information, like location and social profile links, and business details.
Didn’t find the hacks that could boost up your email productivity in the tools and software above? No worries. The following tools let you create your own automation rules to slice up your email tasks any way you like.
Email Productivity Hack: Create rules to deal with incoming emails based on your personalized workflow.
IFTTT stands for If This, Then That, and the tool allows you to connect to a number of different apps and create conditional rules that trigger actions in other or the same apps. For example, you can set up rules to get notifications when emails from specific people come in, to automatically sync your Gmail contacts with a Google spreadsheet, or to even trigger email blasts based on certain events.
Productivity Email Hack: Created rules that automatically perform tasks between your web apps to save you time.
Zapier lets you automate your workflow by triggering actions from one app into another so you can focus on getting your work done. You can set automations, for example, to have all your email attachments automatically saved into Dropbox for extra backup. You can also have dropbox send new attachments in Slack if that’s where you work most, for quick access without changing environments.
Pricing: Create two-step Zaps on Zapier’s free plan. For more complex Zaps that require 3+ steps, the For Work plan starts at $20 per month. The Team automation plan starts at $250 per month.
Work Smarter With Email Productivity Software Tools
Email productivity software tools don’t just let you work faster—they also help you work smarter. Why waste time wading through a cluttered inbox when you can have smart apps sift through and separate your emails by sender and importance? Or waste time hunting down email info when you can get all the data you need at the click of a button without ever leaving your email editor?
Give these email productivity tools a try and let technology do the busywork for you. That way you’ll have more time and brainpower to dedicate to the other important things you have on your to-do list.
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