Boomerang is an app for Gmail that allows you to keep your inbox under control and get to that heavenly place we all dream of, Inbox Zero. I learned about it last summer and it has been a total game changer. My favorite feature is that it schedules the delivery of your emails from any Gmail account—for free!* It’s been so helpful for my business that I am compelled to share it with you. *The Basic plan is free, and the next tier plan is $4.99 per month.
Here are the features that have transformed my email inbox for the better:
SCHEDULE YOUR EMAILS TO SEND LATER
As a product of doing business overseas, I often jump on email late at night, or very early in the morning, in order to communicate real-time with manufacturers in China. This way, I'm able to work through pricing and get answers to questions all in one shot, rather than waiting 24 hours for each response. When I get the information I need, I like to pass it on to my clients right away so I can close the circle of communication. Also, with the task fully completed, I’m able to fall back to sleep!
But, I don’t want my clients getting emails from me at all hours of the night for a few reasons. One is that I want to protect the boundaries of my business hours. If a client happens to see my email pop into their inbox at 2 a.m., then they might email back and expect an immediate response. And I don’t want my clients to feel disappointed or even worse, ignored, because I have gone back to sleep. Plus, I think that getting emails from someone at crazy hours gives the impression of them being disorganized or frazzled, and makes you wonder why business wasn't their top priority during the day.
I get it—there are a variety of reasons why you would choose to tackle your inbox during off hours:
During the day you’re busy taking your kids to and from school, or volunteering at the latest bake sale fundraiser.
Your business is a side hustle and you are working a day job.
You are busy filling orders during the day in order to make it to the post office before closing.
From 9 to 5 you need to focus on design, blog writing, training new hires, and all the things that require your immediate attention.
These are also reasons why I’ve turned to my inbox after business hours. But now that I have Boomerang for Gmail, it doesn’t have to appear that way. I simply write the message like I normally would, click the “Send Later” button, and use the calendar to choose a date and time that I would like it to send. It’s brilliant! I wish I had known about this years ago.
I had a habit of using my inbox as my to-do list. I’d keep important emails in there so that I could refer to them later, which meant that my inbox was never completely clear. It also meant that my important emails would get buried beneath incoming messages. So I started flagging the important messages and before I knew it, every message in my inbox was shouting at me with a red exclamation point, demanding attention.
Boomerang allows me to move emails out of my inbox until a later time with their “Boomerang” feature. To temporarily remove an email from my inbox, I click the “Boomerang” button in the message window and choose when I would like to see it again. It archives my message and brings it back to my inbox unread, starred, and/or at the top of my message list.
I use this feature when I receive an email that I can’t get to right away, or want to think about for a few days before responding. With the email temporarily removed from my inbox I can still reach Inbox Zero each day (. . . in my dreams, but I do aim for each week), and it’ll reappear when I want it to.
Now I control when each email gets my attention instead of the other way around.
Design is in the details, right? Well so is client work. Keeping up with product specs, proofreading questions, and various production details is essential! Especially when working within tight deadlines. I need to make sure that I get answers to my questions within a few days (and sometimes overnight) of sending the message. With the “Boomerang Reminders” feature I can ask Boomerang to remind me if no one responds to my email.
I don’t use this feature often, but it’s helpful for preventing emails and follow-ups from slipping through the cracks. This feature comes in especially handy when communicating close to major holidays and long weekends. It can be tough getting back into the swing of things after being in vacation mode for a few days. This is when most small details are forgotten.
I have a mompreneur friend who swears by this feature! Each day she leaves work at 2 p.m. to pick up her kids from school. Between then and bedtime she is occupied by #allthethings—carpool to and from activities, making dinner, homework, etc. She can’t afford to get distracted by new emails. So, she puts her inbox on pause each day from 2 to 8 p.m., responding to messages after her kids go to bed.
“Inbox Pause” will stop new email from coming into her inbox until she’s ready for it. There are also some powerful advanced features that allow paid subscription members to set exceptions to get notified only about emails that matter. With her inbox paused, she is able to focus on what’s important, not just what’s urgent.
Boomerang also includes some smart features like response tracking, read receipts, click tracking, recurring messages, and CRM integration. For more information on how to get your inbox under control using Boomerang, visit their website here.
We wear many hats, you and me. Having a well-organized inbox will be our secret weapon for making it all happen!