In the world of sales and marketing, time management is key.
While you can spend months at a time working on a robust social media marketing strategy, if you aren’t balancing your efforts among other mediums (i.e. email, inbound, paid advertising, etc.), you probably aren’t getting as much out of your efforts as you should be.
And with so many balls in the air at one time, the life of a sales and marketing professional can be especially hectic.
That’s where automation comes in.
Automation allows you to keep your strategies working without you always having to be there to press the button.
Though there are a number of complex and sophisticated automation technologies out there, the basic and most freely available ones can often be the most useful.
Gmail’s Canned Response feature, for instance, can end up saving you multiple hours per week, giving you the ability to spend your valuable time elsewhere.
Here’s how to set up canned responses in Gmail along with a few tips on editing, deleting, and incorporating these responses with auto-reply to really streamline your efforts.
How to Set Up Canned Responses in Gmail
Setting up canned responses in Gmail is incredibly easy, no matter how computer illiterate you may be.
All it takes is a few clicks and some light searching and you’re good to go!
And while this likely goes without saying, you’ll need to have an active Gmail account in order to take advantage of this feature.
Now that you’re all signed up, let’s start by first enabling canned responses.
Step 1. Access Gmail Settings
First thing’s first, you’ll need to get into your Gmail settings which couldn’t be easier. Simply click on the gear icon in the upper right corner of the screen:
And then click on the “Settings” option in the dropdown menu that appears. Easy enough, right?
Step 2. Access Labs & Enable Canned Responses
Next, you’ll need to head into the “Labs” section of the settings area. This is where the “experimental features” (Google’s words, not ours) are housed. These options are still sort of in the testing phase so they may be a bit more volatile than other mainstream features of Gmail.
Google’s quick to point this out and even gives users a fix in case their inboxes aren’t loading as a result of enabling these features.
In any case, to get to this area, all you have to do is click on the “Labs” tab located here:
From there, you can either use the search function to show the Canned Responses feature or you can simply scroll down a bit to find it manually.
It’s a pretty popular feature though so it’ll likely be one of the first ones.
Here’s a screenshot of what to look for:
Step 3. Enable Canned Responses & Save
Once you’ve located the Canned Responses Lab, all you have to do is click the little button labeled “Enable” and your Canned Responses feature has just been activated!
Before you go through, don’t forget to save your changes too. Of course, if you try to leave the page without doing so, you’ll be prompted with a reminder anyway so don’t lose any sleep over it.
How to Use Gmail Canned Responses
In order to create a canned response in Gmail, all it takes is a bit of knowledge on how to compose a regular email along with just a few added clicks. We show you exactly how to do so below.
Step 1. Compose a Canned Response
This step is easy. If you’ve ever written an email using Gmail before, all you have to do is hit the “Compose” button:
And a new message box will pop up in the lower left corner. From there, compose your canned response including a subject line. Here, it might be useful to mark down areas that will be unique to the sender in bold so you remember to include the personalized information before sending it out.
Step 2. Save Your Canned Response
Now that you’ve made your canned response, all you have to do is save it. Click the small arrow next to the trash can in the lower left to get started:
Then click on the “Canned Responses” option:
And finally, click on the New canned response… option to give your canned response a name. Be sure to pick something that’s easily identifiable because once you have a few canned responses in your repertoire, it can be difficult to know which is which.
Step 3. Using Your Canned Responses
Now that your canned response is saved, you can now use it either for composing a reply to, say, an interested customer or for reaching out to a brand-new prospect.
To use it as a reply, click the email you want to reply to click the small arrow next to the trash can, select the “Canned Responses” option, and then click your canned response under the “Insert” header.
If you want to use it in an all-new email, simply start composing a new message, and follow the same steps as above after clicking on the small triangle next to the trash can. Easy as that!
However, don’t forget to fill in all the personalized information before sending it off. Otherwise, you risk losing the trust and interest of your prospects.
How to Edit a Canned Response in Gmail
Not everyone gets it right the first time and you’ll likely want to know how to edit a canned response in Gmail along the way. Thankfully, the process is pretty easy to do.
Step 1. Pull Up Your Canned Response & Edit
The first thing you’ll want to do is pull up your canned response, either in a direct reply or a brand-new email (it doesn’t matter either way).
Once you’ve inserted your canned response into the window, make the required edits directly to your canned response’s text.
Step 2. Save Your Edited Canned Response Under the Same Name
Once you’re through editing, all you have to do now is save your new canned response under the same name to overwrite the old one. You can do that by going to the “Canned Responses” option under the little arrow next to the trashcan and clicking the same title under the “Save” header.
You’ll then be greeted by this little warning:
Hit “OK” and your canned response editing has been a success.
How to Delete Canned Responses in Gmail
Knowing how to delete canned responses in Gmail can also come in handy. And the process is just as simple.
Step 1. Select Your Canned Response from Under the “Delete” Header
All it takes to delete a canned response is selecting your canned response under the “Delete” header from the canned response menu.
Step 2. Click “OK”
This one’s not too tough either. Simply click “OK” on the menu that pops up afterwards and voila! Your canned response is now deleted.
Using Gmail Canned Response with Auto Reply
When used in combination with the “Filters” functions, you can also use Gmail canned responses as an auto reply function as well. Let’s look at how.
Step 1. Set Up A Filter
Setting up a filter isn’t as hard as it sounds. Simply head into your settings and select “Filters and Blocked Addresses” from the same menu you used to access Gmail Labs.
Step 2. Set Up Your Conditions
After clicking “Create a new filter,” you’ll be able to input certain conditions that the filter uses to pick out specific emails. These can include certain phrases in the subject line, who the message is from, and a variety of other conditions. We used “Product Interest” as the subject below.
Step 3. Choose Your Canned Response
After clicking the “Create filter with this search” button in the lower right, you’ll see a variety of actions you can tell Gmail to automatically take when emails are singled out by the filter.
Select “Send canned response” and then your desired message and presto! Gmail will now automatically respond to those emails with your canned response.
Learning How to Use Gmail Canned Responses: A Cinch
See? That was a lot easier than you thought it’d be, was it?
Now that know how to create a canned response in Gmail, you can now use them to quickly respond to any message you want and, when coupled with Gmail filters, they can even be sent out automatically.
This is without a doubt going to be a huge time saver for you.
And as a sales and marketing professional, you can use all the freed-up time you can get.