The Gmail
Productivity Book

You might have an Android phone, designed by Google, and you’re probably on Gmail, the world’s most popular email client. In fact, whole businesses are run out of Google these days, with a delectable buffet of programmes and features.

This eBook has been put together to teach you and your business exactly how to use just some of those features to their explosive potential.

A Brief History of Google

The founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, met in the Summer of 1995. Both studying at Stanford University, you might be surprised to know that it wasn’t love at first sight. They were both studying for PHDs in computer Science, and both had similar bolshy, I’m-always-right attitudes to life. Their similar personalities clashed at first.

   I thought [Sergey] was pretty obnoxious. He had really strong opinions about things, and I guess I did too.

Larry Page

Despite this, the two of them recognised that there was something between them; a shared genius. Over the next year, they bumped heads and brainstormed. They worked on an idea that Larry originally had to rank web pages based on the back-links it has. That idea, BackRub, worked for more than a year until it clogged up Stanford’s servers… It was obviously having some success.

Eventually, they were forced to move to their own servers, and Google.com was registered as a trademark on 15th September, 1997.

The name Google is a play on “googol”, which is a mathematical term for the number “1” followed by 100 zeroes. This is an apparent reference to their efforts to organise the infinite information that’s available on the World Wide Web.

Fast forward almost 30 years and it’s… now. You already know how to Google it, and you’ve been Googling it for as long as you remember. You might have an Android phone, designed by Google, and you’re probably on Gmail, the world’s most popular email client. In fact, whole businesses are run out of Google these days, with a delectable buffet of programmes and features.

This eBook has been put together to teach you and your business exactly how to use just some of those features to their explosive potential.

Google Contacts

There’s stuff all over your desk, and there’s no space in the bin to get rid of it all. Employees begging you for action, direction, and leadership… but you’re stuck in a Post-It Note tsunami of not knowing what to do. You want to organize but there’s one thing stopping you. You’re in such a mess, you don’t know where to start. Well, Google Contacts stores your contacts and helps you maintain all your data.

It’s the first, logical step on our Google productivity journey. Head to contacts.google.com. You’re probably going to want some contacts in your Contacts.

How to add contacts to Contacts.

1. Manually add contacts to Contacts.

Do it the old-fashioned way.

  • Hit the “Add new contact” + button in the bottom right corner.
  • Choose whether you want to add a single contact, or add multiple contacts.
  • Fill out the data you need.
  • By hitting the “Show more button” when creating or editing a contact, you’ll be able to fill in up to 54 different fields of information, including a custom field.
  • By hitting the button on the right hand-side of a field, you can multiply fields.

2. Automatically add contacts to Contacts.

Add people as you email them.

  • Head to Gmail and open “Mail Settings” in the top right corner by clicking the ⚙️ icon.
  • Hit the “See all settings” button.
  • Open the General tab, and scroll down to find “Create contacts for auto-complete”. The top option adds recipients to Google Contacts automatically.
  • Scroll down to the bottom and hit “Save Changes”.

3. Import existing contacts to Contacts.
Bring in your existing contact database.

  • First, you need to export all those contacts to a .CSV file.
  • After, head to contacts.google.com.
  • On the left sidebar, click “Import”.
  • Click “Select file”.
  • Choose your file.
  • Click “Import”.

How to manage contacts in Contacts.

1. Segment your contacts in Contacts.

Use the Labels feature. Labels are Google’s contact segmentation feature. It categorizes contacts and groups them depending on one main label you give to them. For example, I might Label my contacts by their job position, or whether they’re a decision-maker in their business or not. This means I can send hyper-personalized content to help their decision be made.

Whether you’ve imported an existing database of contacts using a .csv file, whether you’ve taken advantage of the “Add multiple contacts” feature, or whether you’ve slaved away adding your contacts one-by-one, it’s important to add labels to them. Labels work across Gmail and Google Contacts.

screen add labels
  • “Add” / “Edit Contact”.
  • Find the label section next to “Add contact” / “Edit contact”.
  • Choose a pre-set label or create your own.
  • To find the segmented groups simply click on, or search for, the label you want to see.

With contacts grouped depending on variables such as location, purchase readiness, or simply how great they are, users can save a lot of time and energy from sifting through overflowing contact lists or emails to find the personnel they need. As a result, it becomes much easier to reach out, engage, and close a deal.

Find out more about segmentation

2. Delete the deadwood.

A tidy address book is a productive one. The best way to verify the validity of an email address is to send a test email. If that email bounces, and you receive an automated email back from Gmail saying the address wasn’t found... the recipient does not exist. Fortunately, you don’t have to go this way to verify each email address from your mail list.

Validate your mailing list by sending generic content to all Contacts. Offer a small discount, run a competition, or anything you can think of that can validate your mailing list without seeming unimportant and unsubscribable. Validating your mailing list can save your email campaigns.

screen of validation

It is recommended to validate your mail list… if a bunch of new recipients has been added; if your bounce rate is 2% or higher; or if you have low open rates.

3. Merge the duplicates.

Duplicate contacts can be similarly upsetting for your all-important email metrics. Sending out the same email to different people is a lose-lose situation. You don’t gain any more insight. In fact, you simply dilute your open and click-through metrics. The recipient is also more likely to unsubscribe from an email campaign, having received an email twice. After all, it’s pretty annoying.

  • On the left of Contacts, click “Merge & fix”.
  • In the top right, click “Merge all”. Or, review each duplicate and click “Merge” on the ones that should be correctly merged.
screen of merge

Note. You can't merge contacts that are saved in different Google Accounts.

4. Export contacts from Contacts. Export contacts from Contacts.

After all that hard Google Contacts work, it’s time to move over to a dedicated CRM system. Contacts are good; a lot of people use it. But for a business it’s limited in its featurability*… it is a free tool after all. Still, you don’t want all that hard work to go to waste. You can export all your contacts and data easily, before importing them to your new favorite CRM system (ahem).

  • Select one of the following:
    • A single contact: Check the box next to the contact name.
    • Multiple contacts: Check the boxes next to all the contacts you want to export.
    • All contacts: Check the box next to any contact and in the top left, click Selection Actions and then All.
  • In the top left, click More actions and then Export.
  • To back up your contacts, select Google CSV.

* As a small business, your next port of call after Google Contacts should be the best small-business CRM on the market. NetHunt CRM is jam-packed with features such as a contact database, centralized customer context, bulk emails, and everything you need to go with them, insights, pipelines, mobile apps, unlimited everything, reports… the list goes on. It’s a Gmail CRM, so it integrates snug into your existing inbox, and the learning curve is minimal.

We’ve been saying it for ages, but we’ll say it again for those that aren’t aware. Email Marketing is back. It’s the en vogue of modern marketing, despite the naysayers telling us that social media is the one. For B2B businesses especially, there are a plethora of different advantages to email marketing that you just don’t get with other forms of marketing.

checked iconIt’s customer-centric.

There are no boundaries to email marketing. Your marketing team is free to get as creative as they want to either re-engage old customers or to butter up new ones.

checked iconIt’s convenient.

81% of users check emails on their smartphones. That means you can ping a notification straight to a recipient’s phone in less than a second.

checked iconIt’s easy.

In fact, it’s probably too easy; that’s why my inbox is full of old job recommendations, airline firesale coupons, and discounts for chicken and chips.

checked iconIt’s cheap.

After you’ve paid your internet bill, it’s always free to send an email. Still, even if you do install a CRM system for its bulk email features, subscription plans are very reasonable.

Gmail

Gmail’s got everything you need for an effective email campaign… nearly. One of the biggest strings to its bow is that it seamlessly integrates with Google Contacts, providing simple, but end-to-end automation for your whole email marketing process. You’ve already got your mailing list, just write your templates and fire them out. What the results roll in.

Create templates in Gmail.
Make it easy for yourself.

Google Labs used to be a place where Gfans could test out new features and send their feedback directly to Google. A lot of people have been asking ‘where has Google Labs gone?’, It’s not gone. Google just incorporated it into the Advanced Settings section of your G Suite. Here, you’ll find the option to enable templates of frequent messages and other little features you might not know about.

  • Head to Gmail and open “Mail Settings” in the top right corner by clicking the ⚙️ icon.
  • Hit “See all settings”.
  • Find the “Advanced” tab.
  • Enable the templates option.
  • Don’t forget to hit “Save Changes”.

A mass email campaign can have any number of purposes. If you’ve not read our article with Absolutely Everything You Need to Know About Email Marketing, go do it. If you can’t be arsed, in true NetHunt fashion we’ll break it down for you.

Ultimately though, it’s up to you to create the templates that you and your business needs, depending on what the goals are for your different email campaigns. Once you’ve decided, creating individual templates is as easy as writing out an email.

  • Open the “Compose” box.
  • Type out the email you want to template.
  • Hit the three dots at the bottom.
  • Hit “Templates”.
  • Hit “Save draft as template” from the menu that pops out.
  • Finally hit “Save as new template” and name it.

Manage your email signature in Gmail.
Strictly professional.

The final thing your mass email definitely needs is an email signature. A clear, consistent email signature is important for your business because it gives a recipient somewhere to go, whether it’s contact details to get in touch or a link to further reading. We’ve already preached all that, and told you how to design the perfect one, in a previous article.

  • Head to Gmail and open “Mail Settings” in the top right corner by clicking the ⚙️ icon.
  • Hit “See all settings”.
  • Under “General”, scroll to “Signature”, third from the bottom.
  • Hit “+ Create new”.
  • Name your signature.
  • Create your signature. Each signature has a limit of 10,000 characters. screen of adding signature
  • Hit “Save changes” at the very bottom of the settings window.

Here’s how to automate your signature in Gmail.

signature details

You can create multiple signatures in Gmail, and each one can have a different purpose. You could have a professional signature, a signature specifically to send to your team, and a personal signature for friends and family. For a work email, it’s best to have your “Professional signature” set as the default “FOR NEW EMAIL USE” and “ON REPLY/FORWARD USE”.

Send out that email campaign.
You’ve already done all the hard work.

1. Choose your recipients.

new message
  • Start typing the name of the Label you want to email.
  • Click on the auto-complete option.
  • The “To” field should populate with each contact in that Label.

2. Choose your template.

screen of new message
  • Hit the three dots.
  • Hit “Templates”
  • Choose the appropriate, pre-made template.

3. Insert your signature.

screen of new message
  • If your view is minimised, hit the three dots on the bottom bar.
  • Find the “Insert signature” pen icon at the bottom of the menu.
  • Choose the signature you want to insert.

4. Hit Send!

completed email message

Track the results of your emails in Gmail.
Know what works.

Email tracking is the process of gathering data from sent emails, and then using that data to make informed business and marketing decisions. Email tracking software offers two insights. First, if a recipient has opened their email, at what time, and even what device their email was opened on. Second, it informs users whether links and attachments in their email get clicked on.

Email tracking helps your marketing team write better emails, saves a lot of time, provides data to help drive business success, and increases productivity.

Unfortunately, there’s no native email tracking feature working under the Google banner. Fortunately, NetHunt CRM has one amongst a million and one other features that are going to drive your business growth.

  • When you’re finished writing your masterpiece, find two icons next to each other on the bottom of the ‘Compose’ toolbar. One looks like an eye (that’s open tracking), and one looks like a finger hitting a button (that’s link tracking). Enable them, before choosing which links in your email you’d like to track.click traking
  • Send that badboy email out!
  • It’s probably worth waiting a little bit, giving your recipient a chance to open the email. When you’re ready, and if you haven’t received a reply, you can see your email stats right in your sent box. You’ll find a green icon after the opening line of your email telling you whether it was opened, and if so how long ago it was opened.click traking
  • Upon clicking this little button, you dive right into your email stats. You’ll see…
    • ALL shows all the aggregated stats from your email thread, both opens and clicks.
    • OPENS shows how many times your emails have been opened.
    • CLICKS shows how many times your links have been clicked.

The icon to the right hand side of the statistic is which device was used by your recipient. If you’ve got multiple emails in a thread, no sweat. You can simply click on the particular email you want to track and drill down into each individual one.

Automate other tasks in Gmail.
Make your working day easier and more organised.

1. Use Labels to automatically sort incoming messages.

A busy inbox is a sign of success. It can soon turn into failure though, when it gets overloaded and you find yourself drowning in a tsunami of incoming mail. Of course, Google has a solution. Labels can automatically sort incoming mail into different folders based on subject, sender, and date. You’re free to set up as many labels as you flipping well please.

  • Click on the dropdown arrow next to the search bar.
  • Type the label word into the subject line and use the “Create filter” command.
  • Check the “Apply the label:” box, open the dropdown menu and click “New label…”.
  • Type in your label, click “Create” and “Create filter”.
  • Now you can see the label next to all incoming messages with subjects that contain the respective search criteria.

2. Automatically forward filtered emails to the relevant person.

Let somebody else deal with them, you’re a busy person. For example, if somebody mentions organising a meeting in the subject line, you can automatically send those emails for your PA to organise… if you’re lucky enough to have one. Similarly, if a specific contact keeps emailing you and you know they’re not your problem… send all their emails to the person whose problem they are.

  • Click on the dropdown arrow next to the search bar.
  • Type in the keyword you want to filter in the “Subject” field and use “Create filter” command;
  • Find the “Forward it” box and fill in the address of your choice;
  • Also, you can click “Mark as read” so the messages won’t be displayed as unread;
  • Now all emails with the specific keyword in the subject line will be automatically sent to the chosen address.

3. Schedule an email to be sent later.

Imagine everybody else from your office is at the pub, even the person that you want to read an email. It’s 10pm on a Friday night, why wouldn’t they be? Meanwhile, you’re still firing off emails. Sad. You want your email to be seen on Monday morning, but if you save it to your drafts, you’ll probably forget about it. Likewise, if you send it now your message is going to get lost in the riff-raff by Monday morning.

Here’s what you need to do to have your message at front and centre of every inbox you send it to:

  • Write your message and recipient list.
  • Find the drop down menu in the “Send box”.
  • Select “Schedule Send”.
  • Choose your preferred time and date.
  • Make sure the black box in the bottom left corner states: “Send scheduled for [time / date]”.

4. Hit the snooze button on non-essential emails.

All hail the mighty snooze button, giving us 10 more minutes every morning to dread the working day. The only thing is, I wish I could snooze more things in life. Things like washing the dishes, walking the dog… talking to my mother-in-law. The guys at Google love a good snooze as much as the rest of us, so last year they added a Snooze feature to Gmail.

This feature is the opposite of the previous feature. It’s for when you are too busy to reply to an email immediately, or if you want to spend a little bit more time thinking about a response. By hitting the Snooze button, you’ll get a fresh email notification at any time you want.

Here’s how to snooze your mother-in-law emails in Gmail:

  • Right-click the email you want to see later.
  • Select “Snooze”.
  • Select a pre-set date and time, or set one that suits you.
  • It’s just like your morning alarm. If you keep snoozing it, it never happened.

5. Auto-delete emails after a certain number of days

Keep your inbox clean and tidy so you always know exactly where you are and what you’re up to. Luckily, you can do it using Google Apps Script, a powerful tool for G-Suite app automation. In this program, select “Blank Project” and paste the following script...

function auto_delete_mails() { var label = GmailApp.getUserLabelByName("Delete Me"); // A label that signifies emails marked for deletion if(label == null){ GmailApp.createLabel('Delete Me'); } else{ var delayDays = 2 // Number of days before messages are moved to trash var maxDate = new Date(); maxDate.setDate(maxDate.getDate()-delayDays); var threads = label.getThreads(); for (var i = 0; i < threads.length; i++) { if (threads[i].getLastMessageDate()<maxDate){ threads[i].moveToTrash(); } } } }

Define how long an email has before it faces the chop in (delayDays). Save the script and set a trigger to run it daily. This script will create a label “Delete Me”, that you can assign to useless messages. You can even categorize incoming mail so that different letter types would be deleted in different terms.

Google Workspace

What’s it all about?

Google introduced Google Workspace to us on October 6th, 2020. It’s a new friend for productive employees from any sector, bringing them together as they’ve been torn apart by social distancing. It brings all our favourite G Suite tools -- Calendar, Gmail, Drive, Docs, Slides, Meet, Keep, Forms, Sites, Currents and Sheets -- even closer together under a neat, tidy, and colourful umbrella. To really understand what’s changed, we can take a look at the history of G Suite. It’s an update. It’s G Suite; repackaged, rebranded, and re-streamlined for your productivity needs.

  Frontline workers, from builders on a construction site to delivery specialists keeping critical supply chains moving, are turning to their phones to help get their jobs done. While doctors treating patients and local government agencies engaging with their communities are accelerating how they can use technology to deliver their services.”

Javier Soltero, Vice President and General Manager of Google Workspace

New features.

Google made a three-step promise when they introduced Google Workspace. Those steps were a new, deeply-integrated user experience, a whole new look, and a broader price plan to fit your business better. We broke them down into simple bullet points...

checked iconCommunication tools have been brought together.

All of Google’s communication tools (Chat, Gmail, Voice, Content Management, and Video Calling) have been brought together to aid collaboration between teams and streamline customer experiences.

checked iconLink preview integration.

A simple time and tab saver. Instead of having to open a new tab to visit a link in a document, spreadsheet, or slideshow, users can now preview the link simply by hovering their mouse over it.

checked iconCollaborate on Docs right out of Chat.

This one is cool. Workspace users can dynamically create a document with the guests in a Chatroom. It doesn’t matter whether bumping heads with teammates or external parties, everybody can create and edit a Doc in real-time synchronicity.

checked iconSmarter mentions and shoutouts.

Now, when a user mentions somebody in a document, a smart contact chip provides contact details, for people both inside and outside of an organisation. This provides CRM-like context to interactions and suggests actions that could be taken with the contact.

checked iconMeet gets an upgrade.

Two upgrades, to be precise. Meet works across more devices now, and you can see a colleague’s face, picture-in-picture, while you work on a document, spreadsheet, or slideshow together.

checked iconAn “ambitious” new brand identity.

It’s the one we’ve all been waiting for. Google has redesigned five of their icons, namely Docs, Gmail, Calendar, Drive, and Meet, to reflect the way in which their products work together. Hold onto your seats folks, here they are…

new icons

A new pricing structure.

Every business is different. Google’s new Workspace platform has added new subscription plans to reflect this change, catering to small, medium, and large businesses at the same time… but for different prices. Every plan includes Gmail, Drive, Meet, Calendar, Chat, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Keep, Sites, Forms, and Currents. They differ in the support and storage they offer.

The following table breaks everything you need to know about Workspaces’s price plans down.

Workspaces’s price plans

Gmail CRM

Gmail CRM (or Google CRM) integrates directly into your inbox and brings powerful CRM functionality to your favourite email platform.

Small businesses choose Gmail CRM because it helps them focus their attention on caring for, and nurturing, their clients and leads. CRM integrated in Gmail is designed to remove all the boring, routine, manual stuff and lets you focus on the single most important aspect of your business — customers.

It organises and visualises your contacts, it helps you fire out email campaigns at the click of a button, and it brings your team closer together. It does everything that Google Workspace, Contacts, and Gmail already does… and then some.

  • It improves lead generation, especially when used with native integrations, and maximises the success of marketing campaigns out of Gmail.
  • Marketing teams are affordedfull access to data to fully personalise and segment marketing campaigns from their Gmail contacts.
  • It facilitates closer alignment between marketing and sales teams.
  • It helps speeden and collaborate the response time for customer queries and complaints coming into Gmail, social media, phone, or wherever else.
  • You’re probably already using Gmail, so why not maximise its range of features with a CRM extension?
  • It tracks the performance of all existing staff, helping drive momentum and results.
  • It can help manage the recruitment process for HR professionals, acting as a huge database for incoming job candidates which can be tagged as soon as they land.
  • It offers analytics based on the central method of communication in business - email.

… just like NetHunt CRM (for example)

NetHunt doesn’t just fit into Gmail, but was built inside it. NetHunt is a Gmail CRM that turns your favourite email service into an unparalleled, fully-fledged, fully-customisable CRM system. The whole platform is simple, and intuitively built around ‘Records’, a collection of communications, tasks, and relevant files, that are attached to different ‘Contacts’, each placed along a visualised and prioritised pipeline. Workflows are automated and the bulk email feature allows users to send mass, pre-templated, segmented marketing campaigns straight out of a Gmail inbox.

Without any unnecessary tab switching or window minimising, NetHunt offers the simplicity and customisation that a CRM system should offer. It is an intuitive, flexible system with native integrations to LinkedIn and Sales Navigator for maximum lead generation and enrichment featurability. NetHunt offers all the CRM capabilities you could ever ask for, right inside your existing Gmail inbox.

Closing Notes

A plumber without a plunger? A barman without a bar? A copywriter without fingers? You need tools to do your job effectively. Luckily, the working world has a ready-made productivity tool in Google, free at the point of use.

Use it.


This love letter to Google was put together by the NetHunt team

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