When Gmail first came out … I hated it. I really did. Compared to Hotmail, I thought it was clunky and looked really ugly. Back then, I also thought that Google Search was far too simple – add some colour or pictures to the page why don’t you!
How times change. Now Google Search is well … the king, and Gmail is the leader by far in the choice of webmail applications.
Why? Simplicity. And speed. Speed because it is simple. No frills, just the business functions you need.
Signing up for a one month free trial of Google Work Apps was of the best things I did for my business. No more bloated Outlook .pst files slowing down my computer (because I tend to do very little deleting of emails – an email hoarder?). No more “Please enter your network password” prompts. I have already entered it for crying out loud!
Signing up was easy. The only slightly hard part was connecting and authorizing my domain name – a process I now do almost daily for clients. You need to have access to your domain hosting account so that the required Google MX records can be added. Once Google Apps recognizes that the changes have been made, you will be free to send and receive email from your business domain.
You will find that you are loving the application by the first week. This has been the feedback received from clients. So the one month trial will fly by, and you will feel so much more in control of your email.
Once the month trial is over, you have two options for payment: $5 per user per month for 30gb of storage; or $10 per user per month for unlimited storage. Not only that, you get the following features:
- Business email addresses ([email protected])
- Video and voice calls
- Integrated online calendars
- 30GB of online storage for file syncing and sharing
- Online text documents, spreadsheets and slides
- Easy to create project sites
- Security and admin controls
- 24/7 phone and email support
For companies who need to regularly maintain email addresses, adding or editing a user is incredibly easy. Users can be locked out of the application eg. Staff who have left the company, autoresponders set up, emails forwarded to other users. You can even see when and where accounts have been accessed and on what devices – a great feature if you are concerned about security.
If you are a user of multiple devices eg. Macbook, iPad, iPhone – this is an application you will love. No more losing contacts because your lose your phone!
A feature I really rate in Gmail is the canned response. If you find that you are regularly sending the same content to clients eg. Instructions for using a service or product, you can setup a canned response that you can choose when composing an email. Saves a lot of time not having to find old copy and pasting or even retyping, and you can even set up rules to send a canned response based on sender, subject, content or even date range.
Google Work Apps is not just email. Not by a long shot. You can also collaborate on documents (text, spreadsheets, presentations or forms) with other users. You can view and manage shared calendars. You can even participate in video conferences using the very easy to use Google Hangouts.
I am currently trying out a Google App (Google has 1000’s of apps available to download) called “Insightly”. Insightly is a simple CRM that intergrates with Google Work Apps. I can save a contact or opportunity, create a task or project, all at the click of a button when viewing an email. I will detail what I think in one of my next articles – so far it is looking excellent.
To summarise, Google Work Apps is an incredibly cost-effective way to get your email under control and have access to a wide range of online collaboration tools. Do not be fooled by the Gmail tag, Gmail is now a powerful tool for your business. You will not regret it.