How to make Gmail templates your business best friend.
It’s been a while since we had a good, old fashioned ‘how to’ post, and since most of my week is going to be spent nose down in Gmail, I thought I’d share what I think is one of the most underused features it has, the template.
In this blog, you will learn how to...
Hell yes, my friend, Gmail has a sneaky feature called templates, and once you know how to get to it I guarantee you’ll be switching it on in every account you ever access.
1. At the top, right-hand side of your inbox, click on the gear wheel to open up the settings.
2. Just below that, click the button that appears called ‘See All Settings’.
3. The settings page will open. Look along the tabs at the top and select ‘Advanced’.
4. See the second one down called ‘Templates’? Enable it. Bingo bango, templates are on! Don’t forget to save the changes!
All very well and good, Katie, but how on earth do I make a template?
Funny you should ask…
1. Hit ‘Compose’ to start a new email.
2. In the subject line, give your template a name. I like to frontload the names because you can’t see the whole thing when it comes to selecting the template you want to use – it makes sense, therefore, you make the first few words really describe what the template is.
3. Type the body of the email out, making sure you format it, and add any links you’d like. Sadly, you can’t add an attachment at this stage (that would be awesome, though, wouldn’t it?)
4. See the 3 dots in a column, near the bin icon at the bottom of your email? Hit them up.
5. Follow the trail... 'Templates’ --> ‘Safe draft as template’ --> ‘Save as new template’. Now save it!
6. Unless you have an immediate use, you can now bin that draft. It’s saved as a template, you can get to it whenever you need it.
7. Need to update a template? Open it up, make the adjustments and then follow this train from the 3 dots… ‘Templates’ --> ’Save draft as template’ --> (underneath the title Overwrite Template’) ‘The title of your email template’ --> Confirm.
8. Need to find the template and add it to a new email? Simple, in your new email, go to the 3 dots, then templates, then (under insert template) find the template you’re after.
Ok, Ok, Katie. I get the practicalities. But why is a Gmail template going to be my business best buddy?
I hear you - setting up templates is just another thing on your list of stuff that you don't have time to do - why are they worth bothering with?
1. They can cover a multitude of eventualities, saving you an absolute boatload of time.
Think about all those emails you receive every day that you end up writing the same response for over and over. Having a template t hand is going to save you SO much time, but will mean that you don't have to compromise on personalisation - you can add sentences or even a whole paragraph to a template to make sure that it's clear there is a real person responding.
Here's a list of 10 templates I use for myself or have created for clients that have been game-changers:
Holdover email (for busy days - a polite note to say you have the email and will respond asap).
New project - I used this one for a client who regularly sends new project briefs to her associates
Initial enquiry response
Friendly reminder email (could be for invoices or for overdue projects)
Invoicing email (initial and follow-ups)
Make a meeting (response with a Calendly link)
Polite no email - for enquiries that are a bad fit
Sharing knowledge email (for business owners who get asked 'knowledge' type questions a lot - usually directing them to a Facebook page or lead magnet resource)
A weekly round-up email - a personal fave - a template with space for a paragraph in the middle to round up what I've achieved for a client during the week.
2. You can use a nifty filter to turn them into autoresponders.
Ok, filters are a whole other blog, but very briefly, you can use them to send out templated emails. So, let's say I'm going away for the week and I want to remind clients who email me that my response time may be longer than usual.
I create my fantastically worded, funny but clear email and save it as a template.
I then go to the search button at the top of my email inbox, and hit the button at the right-hand side of it to bring up all the search options.
In the 'from' section, I add all of my current clients' email addresses, then, at the bottom, I hit 'create filter'.
Check the box that says 'send template' and, from the dropdown, I select the template I want to send.
Press 'Create filter' and voila! Whenever I receive an email from one of my delicious clients, my templated email shall be sent.
I then add a big reminder to my clickup list to remind me to switch it off when I get back!
Disclaimer - Filters can be a bit of a bugger. Sometimes they don't pick up what you want them to pick up, especially if you're looking for an email with certain words in the body. These kinds of 'autoresponder' filers really work best when you receive an email from a specific email address.
If you need some help setting up your inbox, or with the day-to-day management, give me a buzz! Inbox triage is my bag, baby. I'm the Doctor Greene of Gmail (I feel like I need to up update my medical drama references though...)