COMMUNICATION

Email wizardry, calendar magic, and videochat for pros.

TOOLS in THIS CATEGORY

Calendly ★♥︎
Schedule Coordination Assistant

Mural ♣︎
Visual Collaboration Interface

Loom ★♥︎
Quick Video Messaging + Screen Recording

Videoask by Typeform
One-to-One Customer Conversation Management

Bonjoro ♥︎
Attribution-Friendly Business Videochat Platform

Boomerang for Gmail
➕ Email Tracking, Snooze, Reminders

Polymail
Powerful Standalone Email Client

GMass
➕ Bulk Send/Mail Merge for Gmail

Canned Responses Ultimate
➕ Spring-Loaded Gmail Replies

Krisp
➕ Videoconference Background-Noise Canceling

West Elm for Zoom ♥︎
➕ Bougie Videoconference Backgrounds

Calendly ★♥︎

Schedule Coordination Assistant

It must be nice having an assistant to manage appointments for you, but we wouldn’t know. Stop the tedious, time-consuming back-and-forth of finding a date and time for your next meeting. Set up Calendly in 15 minutes or less, and you’ll get the time back as soon as Ron asks you for a few open slots for the next sync-up sesh. The free version has enough oomph for most people.

🌐 calendly.com
🆓 1 calendar, 1 event type, limited features for free
⏳ 14-day trial for all features (no CC required)
💰 Plans start at $8/user/month
🔗 Compatible with all calendars; numerous other integrations (full list here)

Mural ♣︎

Visual Collaboration Interface

The phrase “visual collaboration interface,” while accurate, is also rather vague—so let’s get a tiny bit wordier.

First, picture Trello or a similar kanban system where users can move “cards” in 2D space. Second, add all kinds of templates for arranging the “cards” on that 2D space, like Venn diagrams and flowcharts (not just straight lists like Trello). Finally, make it a real-time collaboration tool like Google Docs, where you can see what everyone’s doing in real time.

It’s actually pretty fun to watch the demos on Mural’s homepage, and we can see how it’d make all kinds of whiteboard-style collaboration clearer and quicker, especially remotely. Plans start at $12/user/month after a free trial.

🌐 mural.co
⏳ 30-day free trial for all features (no CC required)
💰 $12/user/month for Starter, $20/user/month for Plus (billed annually)
🔗 Native integrations available for 22 apps/platforms including Slack, Teams, G-Suite stuff, Trello, Zapier, and Zoom

Loom ★♥︎

Quick Video Messaging + Screen Recording

The next time you’ve got something important to say, use this video app instead of your fingers. The app makes sending a video of your screen, voice, and face just a couple clicks away—and that’s on both desktop and iOS (in the latter case, they’re one of the few decent screen-cap options out there). But seriously, it’s the fastest and most effective way to communicate any degree of complexity, and the Basic version is absolutely free. It also plays very nicely with Slack.

🌐 loom.com
🆓 Capped at 25 free videos, limited bells and whistles
⏳ 14-day trial for Pro tier
💰 Pro tier for $10/month (unlimited videos, added features), Business is $15+/month, save 20% by selecting Billed Annually

Videoask by Typeform

One-to-One Customer Conversation Management

The idea behind Videoask (from the makers of Typeform) is called “asynchronous conversations.” Fancy words or not, this idea is already familiar in our personal lives; we’re able to manage dozens of conversations in a day—texts, group texts, Slacks, Snapchats, social media comments and DMs—and that’s possible because (A) they’re all quick messages and (B) none of them demand a real-time response.

With Videoask, this idea has been carried over to the conversations we manage for our businesses. It encourages both sides of the conversation to use quickly-recorded audio or video to send each message (though text is still an option); this both cuts down on response time AND makes it more direct and personally meaningful to your customers. The business side can also send users custom prompts and clickable calls to action as part of each message.

Tying it all together, you get a business dashboard for managing the conversations AND for tracking conversion behaviors on those conversations. The robots even transcribe the video and audio messages so you can find key details without having to go digging.

🌐 videoask.com
🆓 20 minutes/month of free video and audio processing
💰 $30/month for the Grow plan (100 min/mo) or $50 for the Brand plan (200+ min/mo), billed monthly in both cases
🔗 Embed widget directly on website for customers; backend compatible with Calendly etc. (for scheduling follow-ups and so forth); connects to 2K+ other apps using Zapier

Bonjoro ♥︎

Attribution-Friendly Business Videochat Platform

Digital businesspeople live in this dual reality where customers are both statistics and human beings at the same time. In the former case: our businesses have goals for what those customers will do, goals for “converting” them in a handful of possible ways. In the latter case: there’s a huge difference between a thoughtless, boilerplate email and a direct, face-to-face, personalized video (and ironically, the email is likely to take longer!).

Bonjoro is here to bridge the gap between the new wave of quick-video comms tools like Videoask by Typeform (above) and the specific, measurable goals we set for certain channels of our marketing. Bonjoro is wise to advertise that this isn’t just a selling tool; it’s also great for thanking buyers and for further communication, whether it’s onboarding or project management or what-have-you.

🌐 bonjoro.com
🆓 Free plan includes 50 videos/month, other limitations
⏳ Try paid features for 14 days (no CC required)
💰 Paid plans start at $15/user/month (save 17% by paying annually)
🔗 12 native integrations including Zapier, Gmail, Shopify, and Hubspot
📝 They also offer a free Chrome extension for recording videos!

Boomerang for Gmail

Email Tracking, Snooze, Reminders
➕ Gmail Add-On

Plug this app into your Gmail and you’ll suddenly have some of the more advanced email-client features of late like “snoozing” emails (so they come back to your inbox later), setting follow-up reminders if a person doesn’t reply, and even—here’s the kicker—tracking the essential activity on your emails including open receipts and link clicks. With this tool, you can bend Gmail to your will (and get a little extra counter-intel on whether Karen actually hasn’t seen your message yet) .

🌐 boomeranggmail.com
🆓 10 free “credits” per month
⏳ 30-day trial for the Pro tier included with Sign Up (no CC required)
💰 Personal for $4.99/month (unlimited message credits), Professional for $14.99/month (add some automation features), Premium for $49.99/month (whoa)

Polymail

Powerful Standalone Email Client

Perhaps you remember Boomerang (the entry directly before this one), the gratifying Gmail plugin that lets you track sent emails like tiny wiretaps. But maybe you prefer a strong, independent email client that doesn’t need a browser. Allow us to introduce Polymail, a powerful email client equipped with email tracking and some pretty intense automation… automatic follow-ups, anyone?!

The extra power has a price, but you can test-drive it free for a couple of weeks.

🌐 polymail.io
⏳ Free trial for 7 days (no CC required)
💰 Plans start at $13/user/month (monthly billing, save for annual)

GMass

Bulk Send/Mail Merge for Gmail
➕ Gmail Add-On

With a handy add-on called GMass, you don’t need a CRM or fancy email platform for mass communications. GMass bridges your Google Sheets to your Gmail and gives you the full freedoms offered by both: set up mail-merge data however you like in Sheets, then compose the broadcast in Gmail like any other Gmail you send.

🌐 gmass.co
🆓 Up to 50 messages/day for free
💰 $9/month for unlimited use; $13/mo also removes GMass footer; $20/mo also includes automatic follow-up capability

Canned Responses Ultimate

Spring-Loaded Gmail Replies
➕ Gmail Add-On

A lot of email clients have a Macro feature that allows you to save pre-written replies for quick whipping-out at reply time. At this writing, native/web Gmail does not have this feature—at least, not until you install the free Canned Responses Ultimate add-on. After installing, hit Compose (in Gmail) and you’ll notice a new button with which you can save the current message as a canned reply OR pop a previously canned reply into place. The vast majority of users will get everything they want with the free version, but there is a Premium version if you’re super passionate about email macros and need more than 20.

🌐 Chrome Store
🆓 98% Free (save up to 20 macros for free)
💰 $29/year for Paid version (unlimited macros, attachments, custom fields, etc.)

Krisp

Videoconference Background-Noise Cancellation
➕ Multi-Platform Add-On

Especially after 2020, it can be difficult to find a spot where you know your videoconference won’t be interrupted. Whether you’re exploring the public world or working from home—which you share with spouses, children, pets, and any other creatures that can produce bloodcurdling screams without warning—you might not be able to count on it. Fortunately, there’s a way for you to upgrade your video-chat experience, spare your nerves, and stay professionally productive: it’s called Krisp.

Krisp is an AI-powered noise-canceling app which adds on to your videochat platform(s) of choice. The magic is that it works in BOTH directions; people don’t hear your background noise and you don’t hear theirs. Just install and toggle on and off with the flick of a switch. It’s free up to 120 minutes per week, then $3.33/month for unlimited use.

🌐 krisp.ai
🆓 Free for 120 minutes/week of use
💰 $3.33 per month (billed annually) for unlimited use
🔗 Compatible with all videoconference platforms; use any headsets and microphones you want; iOS version also works for regular phone calls

West Elm for Zoom ♥︎

Bougie Videoconference Backgrounds
➕ Intended for Zoom

In March 2020, shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there was an enormous surge in work from home (WFH) and a similar surge in Zoom usage — so that’s where bougie home brand West Elm (owned by Williams-Sonoma) made a clever marketing play.

They released this set of video-conference background photos designed for Zoom’s Virtual Background feature, all beautiful spaces which (naturally) feature their furnishings and luxury homewares. The link takes you to a post on the West Elm blog with all the images and an explanation of how to set up your Virtual Background of choice.

🌐 West Elm blog
🆓 100% Free
📝 See this Mashable source for more on changing your Zoom background.