Welcome to Tools We Love, where we highlight some of the tools that make us more efficient, productive, and effective in our businesses. Have a tool that you want to share with the community? Email us! Today’s tool we love: Gmail's Canned Responses!
We did a quick search on One Woman Shop and were shocked to find out that we’ve only mentioned one of our favorite tools -- Gmail's Canned Responses -- exactly once in the past several years. (Hey, with 46 pages of blog content, we can’t remember every single thing we write.)
So, this post is a long time coming, though we do talk about Canned Responses in The Solopreneur Sanity Handbook. File this topic under “things that are second nature to us but new to many other people.” (We bet you have plenty of those things too, even if you’re not aware of them.)
A quick overview: Canned Responses are a Gmail Labs feature (Labs = “a testing ground for experimental features that aren't quite ready for primetime”) that allow you to save templates for the emails that you send often. Think: answers to FAQs, your client onboarding process, or step-by-step instructions.
Hands-down, the biggest benefit of enabling Canned Responses is saving yourself time. But we’ve recently uncovered another big benefit: Using Canned Responses can help you remove some of the emotion when you need to deliver negative news, like an application rejection or sponsorship request.
Here’s how to get started:
- Go to the Settings wheel on the top right of your Gmail account
- Select Settings
- Go to Labs
- Enable Canned Responses
- Hit Save and your inbox will refresh
- Next time you compose an email, hit the bottom right-hand arrow in the new message to see (or save) a Canned Response
Here's what it looks like:
Voila -- the next time someone asks about your contributor guidelines or how your pricing works, you can reply with just a few clicks! Of course, we highly recommend adding a personal touch to every email -- but this gives you a solid base from which to work.
Here’s your challenge from One Woman Shop: Every time you send an email over the course of the next week, ask yourself “Will I likely send this same email again?” If so, save that shit as a Canned Response right away. (Pardon our French -- we get amped up when it comes to saving time.)