6 Tips for Getting the Most Out of GMail for Business

Thankfully most small businesses now realize that using a hotmail or yahoo address as their business email address probably doesn’t send the right message. Using an email address that matches the domain for your business website is absolutely a must, but some ISP hosted email can be a bit limited and running all your email through a desktop client like Outlook has its own set of limitations – most notably when it comes to the need to share with a team.

Google Apps for Business has, in my view, become a very nice option for collaboration as well as email hosting. I’ve using GMail as my host for email for the past few months and I have to say there’s plenty to like. (I know, it goes down every now and then, but what service doesn’t?) In addition to the mail, task and calendar sharing, you’ll also have Google Docs and Spreadsheet sharing capability.

Below are my tips for getting the most from Google Apps and GMail for business

1. Set up your domain to be hosted by Google.

You need to get a Google Apps for business account and move the MX records for your domain to Google’s servers. This isn’t really that difficult if you follow the instructions provided. This way you can use GMail but have all your mail come from [email protected] You can also create custom emails for your entire staff. This service costs $50/yr but give you the ability to share calendars, tasks, and contacts across your team.

2. Use the labels feature

You can create all the labels you want (think folders) in GMail to move and store all that email that comes in that you need to refer to. You might also like to jump to Google labs and turn on the Nested label feature that allows you to tuck sub topic underneath a parent. To create these sub labels you simply use the parent label connected to the sub label ie: clients/nameofclient

3. Create a feature rich signature

I use a Firefox add-on called Wisestamp because it offers more that the GMail signature can and lets you create multiple signatures so you can have work and personal signature for example.

4. Set-up the offline feature

GMail allows you to access a copy of your inbox when you’re offline so you can manage your mail while on an airplane for example. You’re not connecting to your inbox, you’re simply accessing a synced copy on your laptop that will resync with you go back online. You will need to download a browser plugin called Google Gears and turn on the offline option in settings.

5. Use the canned responses settings feature

In Google labs (you’ll see the little science beaker icon above your mail) you can turn on a host of options that can enhance GMail’s functionality. One that I like is called canned responses. The name is a bit harsh but what it does is allow you to store email copy that you frequently use and then insert it with the touch. I try to make my canned responses sound very human, but I do use this frequently.

6. Explore the App Marketplace

Lots of 3rd party providers are busy creating apps built specifically to work with Google Apps. In many cases you’ll find tools in the Google Apps Marketplace that are new to you and versions of old friends you might want to migrate to Google Apps.

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • does this work in GoogleApps?

    4. Set-up the offline feature

    GMail allows you to access a copy of your inbox when you’re offline so you can manage your mail while on an airplane for example. You’re not connecting to your inbox, you’re simply accessing a synced copy on your laptop that will resync with you go back online. You will need to download a browser plugin called Google Gears and turn on the offline option in settings.

  • I think the only off-line access you could have would still rely on Outlook, wouldn’t it? That’s how I’ve used it. I still get the feeling that I can work faster and easier in Outlook… I just like the integration and “Exchange-like” aspect of Google Apps. Am I missing something?

    • No, Google has a tool that allows you to have a copy of your email inbox and calendar on your desktop that syncs with your online version – if you go offline you have the last synced version available and can work with the mail. Once you go back online it syncs again.

  • 123

    I have used this in a company of 300 users, it is a great product and from a finance perspective a very cost effective product. Beware though, that some people just dont like web based email and the way threading of messages works ( I know of one company that changed back to ‘normal’ email becuase of this). Also if your internet connection falls over so to does your access (not really a problem now that smartphones 3g can access it) The syncing in gmail is not the same as if the connection drops out. But this is the way of the future and it works!!!

  • Really a great set of tips, Hope it will work on my business. Thanks.

  • Great tip… thanks for sharing them.Also it’s worth mentioning that in Gmail Settings you have an option every time you log-in to Gmail, you are redirected to the https channel.Only once you start using these features you realize how soon and how much productivity increases by adding just some of the features.

    Excellent article.

  • Thanks for doing this. I’m still constrained by Outlook, so I’ll have to give this a go.

    Sharing with a team is the one place Google Wave may have been of use though. Hmmm.

  • We have setup Google Apps on our corporate domain and it’s the best thing we could ever do, especially Spam filtering is completely awesome.
    We are using IMAP so we’re cut off from many cool features like Priority Inbox, but the canned emails thing might be worth using it from the web more often.

  • Drburt

    I have been using gmail with my domain extension for the past at least 4 years. It is the fastest and most reliable and fastest service around. I have discovered WiseStamps about a month ago and I can not recommend enough the free service. It works best with Chome browser, as you can add more to your signature vs. Firefox. Sorry IE users this will not work on IE for now.
    Another nice feature of Gmail is that you can attach files and hit send without waiting for them to load up completely. Gmail will do it for you. That is a great time saver. But, I think cloud sharing is even faster.
    Must try Google Gears plug in. However, most airplane offer WIFi now for $10. I was Twitting with one of my boddies who was 30000 + feet up in the air – that was something.
    Great Post, Thanks

  • Hmm. I’ve been working for a client that uses POP forwarding to access “@mydomain.com” email through a central Yahoo mail account. Maybe this is something I should recommend they take a look at.

  • Thanks for the helpful info. Gmail is amazing, and it’s great to know all the additional features.

  • Daniel

    Instead of another plug-in, I use Canned Responses to manage multiple signatures. It’s now a habit to not send an email without choosing a canned signature first. It also helps on those emails that just don’t need a signature, don’t insert one.

  • LocalInternetMarketingServices

    Gmail is really great. And don’t forget the latest “Priority Inbox” feature.

  • The way gmail is set up is truly inspiring. There are so many useful options that it is impossible not to be intrigued by it. I am certainly glad our boss uses it, I can access my work account much more easily when I am home since I am already used to gmail…

  • I use my Gmail account to send & receive messages from many of my email addresses. Its great to be anywhere you want, and can still send a professional business email which appears as if you have sent it from your office chair!

  • Thanks for sharing such nice information and the latest “Priority” Inbox is well good for the business application.

  • Many thanks for providing these super tips,really appreciate the share!

  • thank you!