By Nick Rink
Modern life is pretty full-on these days and often 24 hours just doesn’t seem enough. Many may blame technology for making things more complicated, but technology also gives us a number of ways to simplify our days as well. If you’re a Google Chrome user then there are a host of extensions available that can help.
What are extensions, you ask? Basically, they’re extra features with handy and helpful functionality that you can easily add to Chrome. Extensions can help with communication, social media, security, time management and many other areas. Here are a few that I and some Google+ friends use on a regular basis:
Promising to '[put] your address book to work for you', this little gem extracts additional information about contacts in your inbox from elsewhere around the web. It will show their social media profiles and latest updates, as well as information on where they work, and you can quickly send them invites through your calendar or even hangouts. Download FullContact from the Chrome Web Store.
If you’re a heavy LinkedIn user then this could be the perfect extension for you. Rapportive used to have much of the same functionality as FullContact, but since LinkedIn acquired the business in early 2012 it now just shows your LinkedIn contacts. If that happens to be your platform of choice and you want to access your contacts' LinkedIn profiles direct from Gmail then this would be a good choice. Download Rapportive from the Chrome Web Store.
Sidekick (as recommended by Kate Tolley)
From those masters of inbound marketing Hubspot comes another email integration tool allowing you to 'build and maintain relationships'. Not only does it give you access to your contacts' social media profiles but it can also tell you when (and where!) they open your emails; it has the ability to schedule emails for sending later, too. It works with other platforms as well as Gmail and is a properly powerful piece of software. Download Sidekick from the Chrome Web Store.
If you don’t want (or need) all that additional functionality but scheduling emails for some time in the future may still be useful, then this is one to take a look at. Boomerang allows you to do just that. If it’s a really important email then you can also schedule it to remind you if you haven’t received a reply. Handy for important things such as setting appointments or chasing payments. Download Boomerang from the Chrome Web Store.
Your email signature can say a lot about you and your business. Wisestamp offers a simple DIY option and you can build two email signatures for free in about as many minutes. If you need more than two then you’ll need to go Premium, for a whopping $4/month. Include your company logo or a profile image, links to your company website and social media profiles. You can even use it to quickly link to your latest blog post, Facebook update, tweet or an upcoming event. Download Wisestamp from the Chrome Web Store.
Nick Rink owns and runs Smart Local Marketing, a digital marketing company that helps independent businesses attract more customers in their local communities. Find him on Google+ and Twitter.