Three months after we launched our beta in 2010, Gmail announced Priority Inbox, which does almost exactly what we do – prioritizes emails. That was a scary day for us: half of our beta customers left. Since then, most of them came back, and today 60% of our customers are on Gmail, and prefer to pay us money for something Gmail offers for free.
We have been keeping a close watch on Gmail Tabs. Thankfully this elicited even less reaction from our user base than Priority Inbox. Here’s why:
1. SaneBox works everywhere
On any device or client - not just in the Gmail web interface (not to mention literally any email provider - not just Gmail)
2. SaneBox is smarter
Our algorithms are personalized based on your past behavior (which emails you open, which you respond to, how quickly, how often etc). That makes us much more accurate for you personally.
3. SaneBox is simpler and more powerful at the same time
If you like things easy, you get 1 other place to look (SaneLater folder - that’s where all unimportant emails go). But if you’re OCD, you can create lots of optional filtering rules and folders.
4. SaneBox does way more than just filtering
BlackHole (unsubscribe with 1 click), snooze non-urgent emails, reminders to follow up with people who ignored your emails, moving attachments to Dropbox, monitoring your spam folder for emails caught there by mistake, etc (and LOTS more cool stuff in the works). Watch this video.
5. SaneBox is not free
Although it’s questionable if it’s better or worse - you are our customer, not our product. We will never sell your data or annoy you with ads. You can try it free for 2 weeks, and our plans start at $2/month - that’s not that much to ask, is it? ;)
By Dmitri Leonov - @dmitri
You know how every VC asks “what happens when Google gets into your business?” Well, that just happened to us. Again.
Our company SaneBox has built a cloud service that makes email less painful. We have lots of features: snoozing non-urgent emails, 1-click unsubscribe, moving attachments onto Dropbox/Box etc. But the feature we’re best known for is the automatic filtering – we look at patterns in you email behavior, move unimportant emails out of your inbox into a separate folder, and summarize them in a digest. Over half of our customers are on Gmail, so when Gmail announced the new “Gmail Tabs” feature, which directly competes with what we do, we received lots of tweets around “Is Gmail killing SaneBox?”
If you’re in a business remotely related to something Google does (or could do), you’ve had the same concerns. Google has had a long history of getting into new markets, offering services for free, and hoping to monetize them via its cash cow – paid search. Here are the reasons we’re not worried, and you shouldn’t be either.
1. You get what you pay for
Three months after we launched our beta in 2010, Gmail announced Priority Inbox, which does exactly what we do – prioritizes emails. That was a scary day for us: half of our beta users left. Since then, most of them came back, and today 60% of our customers are on Gmail, and prefer to pay us money for something Gmail offers for free.
So we have been keeping a close watch on Gmail Tabs. Thankfully this elicited even less reaction from our user base than Priority Inbox. Why you ask? We’re told it’s because our algorithms are more personalized to each person’s behavior, which requires processing a lot of data in real time (not something you can do on the cheap).
One of the reasons to charge for your products is it allows you to build better products (Death to Freemium!). Google doesn’t have that luxury. Use it to your advantage and compete with Google on value, not price.
2. Let the best man win – in your segment
Can Google offer a better email filtering product for free? Maybe. However, our business is evidence that it is possible for David to build a better product than Goliath – at least for a particular segment.
In every large market there are lots of segments. Ours is professionals who value their time and are happy to pay for better products. If someone is happy with a free version (or can only afford the free version), they are not our target customer. If they’re unhappy with the free version - they will look for us. If they are ok with the free version, but want something better – it’s our job to get in front of them. This brings me to the last point.
3. Let the 10K lb gorilla educate your customers
For many startups the greatest challenge is not competition – it’s lack of awareness. People simply don’t know there’s a solution to their problem, as is the case with email overload. Everyone suffers from it, but nobody searches for the solution (the search volume for related keywords is ~0). So when Google educates the market on the value of email filtering, it’s a good thing. Gmail’s Priority Inbox made our positioning easy: “We are Priority Inbox that actually works”. Not a bad pitch to have.
If Gmail was the only email provider out there, we would be more worried. Luckily there’s Yahoo Mail, Exchange, Office 365, Lotus Notes (yes, there are 100 million people using Notes), etc. These folks aren’t as spoiled with helpful add-ons in their Inboxes as Gmail users are. When they hear about cool stuff Gmail is doing, they want it too. We’ve capitalized on that by making our service provider-agnostic. It’s exceptionally difficult technically, but very powerful: ““We are Priority Inbox that not only actually works, but works on any email provider, client and device.” Should we ever lose the Gmail market we still have the other 80% of the email market to capture.
There are lots of things that can kill a startup. Google entering your space shouldn’t be one of them - it can actually help. We’re living proof that it’s possible for a small startup to compete with a giant, in the giant’s backyard.
There’s a better way to manage your inbox—let SaneBox do most of the work for you.
Email is a pain. There are simply too many messages to handle—and I’m not even talking about spam from marketers (I use a separate address to collect those emails). The headache is the increasing number of legitimate business messages—it’s a humongous time-suck that only seems to be getting worse.
Two years ago I answered nearly every message. A year ago I downgraded to at least trying to read them all. Last winter I started scanning the sender subject fields concentrating on the ones coming from people I knew or looked like they might contain information I needed. And lately, I’ve been considering closing my account and starting over with a private address reserved for only work colleagues and select sources.
Until, that is, I tried SaneBox.
It’s like Gmail’s Priority Inbox feature in that it looks at your messages and prior history engaging with those senders and decides which emails you’re likely to deem most important.
When you turn on the Priority Inbox feature in Gmail, Google separates your email into three categories: Important and unread, Starred, and Everything Else; all the mail is still in your inbox, but the important messages are up top.
SaneBox is a bit different in that it removes less important messages from your inbox completely, moving them to an @SaneLater folder that you can peruse whenever you want. If SaneBox puts an important message into that folder you can move it to your inbox and it remembers the action so the next time you receive a message from that person, it will go to your inbox.
Priority Inbox is trainable in this way, as well; the more you move stuff around, the better it gets at categorization. But I prefer SaneBox.
SaneBox gives you a custom dashboard including a timeline that graphs how many important and less important emails you get every day. My current average, according to SaneBox, is 81 a day. If I took a minute to read, digest, and respond to each one of them, that’s nearly an hour and a half a day going through email. If you figure there’s at least 250 work days in a year, I’m spending 375 hours annually on email. That’s not acceptable.
In addition to the @SaneLater folder that stores non-essential messages, you can also enable folders such as @SaneNews for newsletters and @SaneBlackHole for those messages you want to send straight to your Trash. (Ha! Finally I’m getting revenge on a certain five-letter-titled fitness magazine that has not let me unsubscribe to its newsletters for two full years!)
And it also has a nifty feature that lets you CC or BCC a message to @SaneBox.com to remind you if someone doesn’t respond.
So let’s say you need an answer from your boss about a project and you need it no later than two days from now. In the CC field just include the address 2days@SaneBox.com and in two days SaneBox will put the message back in the top of your inbox if she never replied to it. This way you remember to bug her again.
SaneBox also creates an @SaneRemindMe folder that lets you keep track of all the messages to which you still need replies. Use oneweek@SaneBox.com, June5@SaneBox.com or 5minutes@SaneBox.com; it doesn’t matter, SaneBox will figure out the time frame you need.
The service is $5 a month and works with email clients such as Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, iPhone, and Android and as well most email services like Microsoft Exchange, Yahoo, AOL, and Gmail. The only service it doesn’t currently support is Hotmail.
After the creation of the World Wide Web in 1991 email’s popularity quickly started to boom and it hasn’t looked back once. Today email is one of the most commonly used forms of communication. Professionals of all kinds, students, stay at home parents, retirees and everyone else with access to the Internet uses it.
Email truly is a beautiful thing - it’s free (in most cases) and has the ability to connect people around the world. Unfortunately this beauty is tainted by some not-so-beautiful facts. Email has become an enormous productivity killer and time waster, it leads to stress, and for many people it has become a chore. So who’s to blame? It may be hard to swallow, but the culprit is actually you and I. Society’s poor email habits have led to the negative issues surrounding email.
The “100 Email Hacks” eBook was developed to help people get out of their inbox and on with their life. It contains incredible time saving strategies, best practices and tools to make you an email master. Each section, equally as important as the next will arm you with the tools you need to spend less time in your inbox, thereby creating more time for the things you’d rather be doing. Click below to read the first chapter of the book called Gmail Hacks. If you’re using Gmail, you’ll find lots of hidden features that will turn you into a pro!
Gmail is an outstanding email client with many features and shortcuts that most of us don’t even know exist. Today, we will cover some of these great Gmail tricks. Even if you consider yourself a Gmail expert, we are almost 100% confident you’ll find something new and exciting!
Tweaking Gmail’s New Layout
The new interface gives you a bit more control over the way your inbox looks, which means you can further customize Gmail to suit your preferences. Here are a few of the things you can do:
If you want to select several messages at once to move or delete, you don’t need to check every individual email box. Just check the topmost box of the first email you want to select then hold the “Shift” key down and check the last email you want to select. All the email in-between will also be selected.
You can navigate Gmail without even touching your mouse. To enable keyboard shortcuts click on the “General” tab in Gmail settings and then select the “Enable Keyboard Shortcuts.”
"K" moves up- use the "k" key to move your screen up while checking your Gmail.
"J" moves down - Use the "j" key to scroll down.
"o" opens your messages.
"s" allows you to star messages.
”!” lets you move a message to the spam folder
"e" saves a message
”#” deletes messages.
These are just a few of the keyboard shortcuts. You can see other keyboard shortcuts with a cheat sheet that appears by tapping the “Shift” and “+” or “/”.
Perform advanced searches in your inbox. For instances if you needed to find a message from Jason with a subject of “business app” then you would type the following: from: Jason subject: “business app” to find it. Below are a few more tips to help you search your email more efficiently:
Go to Settings, click on the Labs tab, and be blown away. There are a ton of useful feature, but my favorite is “Undo Send”. It’s amazing. It gives you 5-30 seconds to undo sending any email you’re having second thoughts about. I use it at least once a day!
3rd party add-ons
We’ve only brushed the surface of Gmail tips and tricks, but implementing these will save you time and reduce the daily hassle you experience with your inbox. Have fun!
The SaneBox Team