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Business

Are You Using Gmail to Your Best Advantage as a Freelancer?

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Many freelancers use Gmail but have you considered sprucing up your settings so that each email looks more professional? Wouldn't you prefer to have your customers and clients receive emails from your name @ your domain name dot com instead? This is really simple to set up and gives your emails a much more professional look.

This article will show you how to add additional non Gmail addresses to your account, how to add labels and filters. Plus it will cover certain Add-ons that are available and will make using and organizing your account easier.

The final section shows you how to use Rapportive as a way of connecting with your prospective customers and getting some background information before making your initial contact. After all first impressions count and what could be better than knowing a little bit more about them in advance?

Setting Up Your Email Address

  • Go to your settings feature in your account and then select Mail Settings
  • Click on Accounts and Import
  • Scroll down to Send Mail As and then click on Add Another Email Address You Own
  • Add your name and the address and then Next Step
  • Click on Send Through Gmai. You do have the option of sending through your own SMTP server if you wish. Using Gmail is much easier.
  • Then hit the send verification button and confirm the email which Gmail will send you.

Once confirmed you can now select which email address to use when sending emails to your customers. You can also add a unique signature for each address as well. This allows you to keep certain URL's for specific accounts and purposes. After creating your new signature files don't forget to hit save changes at the bottom.

Organizing Your Business Emails

Your next step is to organize your emails for your freelance business. This can be done by creating filters and setting up labels. You can keep your emails organized by creating folders in your Gmail account. The following folders are the ones that I use in my business.

  • Clients
  • Quotes
  • Follow Ups
  • Invoices/Billing
  • Expenses

Creating Your Filters/Labels

  • You can create as many labels as you require.
  • Go to settings, mail settings and then click on filters.
  • Click on Create New Filter.
  • Then fill out the information in the pop up box. You can add the person's email address, specify a subject line and then include emails which contain certain words.
  • For example if you are setting a filter for a client just add their email address in the from box and then create filter. If they use more than one email address be sure to include that as well.
  • If you use services such as HARO then you can set up a filter so all your responses go directly into one folder.
  • To test that you have the filter created properly click on the search icon and this will show the emails that currently match your criteria.
  • Click on create filter with this search and the following box will appear:
  • Choose the functions you wish to apply and create your filter.

Add On Features

Gmail has some add on features which are available for use with Firefox and Google Chrome.

  • Click on Settings
  • Go to Labs
  • Select the add on you would like to use. I recommend using Send and Archive. This adds a button that allows you to reply and archive the conversation in one action.
  • If you find you are using the same message over and over again then use the Canned Responses add on. Once installed this button will appear next to the compose box.
  • The Google Calendar Gadget is another great choice if you have lots of appointments and tasks scheduled. This Add on will add your calendar to the left hand side of your Gmail account.
  • The Inserting Images add on allows you to place images directly in the body of your email. You must be online for this to work though.

Connecting with Clients and Prospects

As a freelancer it is important to get to know your clients and show them that you have researched their company. There is a great add on called Rapportive which shows you everything you need to know about your contacts inside of Gmail.

Installation is easy. Just follow the instructions and then restart Firefox for it to take effect. After you log back into your account, click on a clients email and then look at the right hand side. You will need to sign into your Google, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to see their information.

Your Rapportive account will show up in the top right corner of your account. From here you can link to your AWeber account.

  • Click on this link and choose Ad Raplets
  • Add your account details and allow access

This is a great feature, as you have the ability to tell if your contact is on any of your email lists. You can choose from other Raplets as well including Mailchimp, Klout and Batch book.

Gmail is used by so many people and now you have the tools to spruce up your account and make it look more professional. Plus you have tips on how to find a contact's social information making your background research that much easier.

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