How to Save Time with Email Templates

1206626_note_pad Two weeks ago I posted about email overwhelm and how to overcome it.

Got a couple of emails wondering how I setup and use templates so I thought I’d share that info.

This is a time saver I learned about from Shel Horowitz years ago (follow him on Twitter @shelhorowitz).

I use email templates in two main places:

  • my email accounts, which I pull in through GMail
  • my helpdesk at Creo Communico

For my email account, I use the GMail feature which allows me to create and save what it calls “canned responses.”  My canned responses include the standard info I send in reply to several types of requests:

  • info about how I handle website updates/virtual assistant tasks
  • info in response to a request for website design
  • my standard reply to a link exchange request
  • how to download one of my virtual products
  • several standard replies that are blank but with attached files (my design contract, VA contract, website questionnaire, etc)
  • and various other replies I use often

I click to load a canned reply, and then edit to customize as appropriate.  Saves lots of time since I don’t have to retype standard info or search for files.

Other email programs have similar features under different names.

I also use templates in my helpdesk (WHMCS) for my hosting company–and that’s where it really saves me time and energy.  Not only is it easy to reply to the frequent questions (how do I setup an email account, how can I install WordPress, etc), but it also allows me to have a virtual assistant or member of the support team reply quickly with a response that I’ve already approved (because I wrote it!).  It’s the ultimate setup for a control freak who needs to let go of some of their email because there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

If your email program doesn’t support the feature, just create a text file for yourself and save all your responses, then open that file when you’re processing email and use copy and paste.  It’ll still save you time.

What templates can you create?

  • If you offer virtual products your templates might include answers to how to download/save a purchase, your returns policy, your joint venture info, how to sign up for your mailing list…
  • If you offer physical products your templates might include answers to how you ship items, how you create your items (fibers, content, etc), information on custom orders…
  • If you offer services your templates might include a brief bio/about you email for new customers, how you work, your contract/rules, information about your coaching program or other services…

To get started, just take a look at your FAQ page on your website, or if you don’t have one yet, create one.  That will give you a great place to begin saving the questions and answers you get frequently so you can save time when replying.

What are your time saving email tips?

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