I am not affiliated with Trello or Cardbox and am not compensated for this blog post. This process will save you money though AND provide a better solution than many premium alternatives for email based project management!
Have you ever needed something in your business but just couldn't find the right solution?
I had a need for my business a couple of years ago like this. I assumed what I wanted was pretty straightforward and common, but it wasn't.
I needed to allow multiple people to manage one email inbox AND create a workflow for managing these emails by status.
Essentially, I wanted a team email address that didn't require users to log in and out constantly AND I wanted some customization for workflows that aren't standard inside basic email services.
There were options, but they were all messy, confusing, overpriced, or overkill.
After a lot of digging around, though, I finally found a quality solution.
The solution is Trello and a power-up called Cardbox.
In this article, I'm going to show you what this looks like and how you can get a similar system set up quickly for your own needs.
What Is Trello?
If you're not familiar with Trello, it's an awesome, low-cost tool that lets you manage projects and collaborate with team members.
It uses a board and card-based system that allows members to move different items through different lists that they create.
Think of it like a cork board and post-it notes, but then give it Adderall, steroids, and a silky smooth interface.
It is wildly customizable and includes many different "power ups" that make the potential case-uses nearly unlimited.
What Is Cardbox?
Cardbox is one of the many Trello power ups that adds functionality to Trello boards. It allows us to integrate any Gmail or g-suite created email into our Trello boards. If you haven't created a professional email address with G-suite yet, check out this blog post that explains how.
With Cardbox and Trello, we can...
- Have new emails set as cards (tasks)
- Give access to anyone who has access to the board (project)
- Move tasks throughout different steps (lists)
- Send emails right inside of Trello
- Add custom fields, notes, and more inside of each card
Cardbox and Trello were exactly the solution I needed, and I think it can be a powerful tool for you as well.
Cardbox is free for 1 user but costs $5/month per additional user.
What It Looks Like
Here's what one of my Trello + Cardbox boards looks like. I created this Trello board to manage the flow of our [email protected] email.
There are three core features above.
#1 Shared Access
This board gives access to me and my partner manager Josef.
We can both see and edit the board, its cards, and all emails that come through [email protected].
All email replies come from [email protected], but we can add our own signatures at the bottom of the email if we'd like.
#2 Inbox Management
All emails sent to [email protected] go into Trello and into the first list labeled as "Inbox (Needs Started)." I've set a rule that does not include spam or trash emails, and the title of the card is the subject line of the email until we edit it.
#3 Stage Work Flow
As we work on different emails, we can drag and drop the cards (which are email threads) into different stages (lists).
This lets us see what needs to be done, what has been done, and what things we are waiting for from others.
This specific example is very minimalistic, but you can add many more lists and details to your cards.
Here is what the inside of a card looks like when you click on it.
You'll notice that it shows the email aspect of the card at the bottom of the card. It is very small by default, but when you click on it, you'll see an expanded view that shows the entire thread. It looks like this.
Space won't be an issue.
If you want even more functionality, there is also a Trello add-on tool for Gmail that you can use to add any email as a card manually.
Other Uses for Trello + Cardbox
As with all of my content, it's about you, not me.
Don't limit your creativity with this concept to the flow I shared above. You can use Trello and Cardbox in countless other ways.
Here are just a few other case-uses for this same system of Trello + Cardbox.
- Manage your outreach to influencers
- Manage your customer support inbox
- Manage your contacts with suppliers for your ecommerce business
- Manage your guest-post and link building efforts
- Manage your sales outreach and follow up
- Manage your online arbitrage leads (get emails for deals and process them through different steps for review).
If you have an email address, it's likely that you can integrate it with a Trello board and become more effective with it.
How to Make Your Own
Here's how to create your own Trello + Cardbox board.
First, sign up for Trello. You will want a premium plan which will cost $119/year and then $10/month for each additional user.
Once you've set up your board above, you don't have to be done.
I recommend you customize the heck out of your new board.
- Create custom fields for cards
- Use templates for consistency
- Add additional power ups that apply to your needs (there are 100s)
- Regularly tweak your processes
- Assign certain tasks to specific users
The beauty of this system is that it can morph into whatever you want it to be.
Video Showing the Process
If you're more of a visual learner, I dive into this process on my Evergreen Affiliate Marketing YouTube channel.
I hope this brings you as much value as it has brought me!