Gmail has plenty of hidden features that can really help you up your freelancing game. One in particular has made me able to handle the stack of email that comes my way every day much easier: canned responses. By creating a few template emails that handle most situations and saving them as canned responses, you can speed up your ability to respond to sources, send out queries and more. Here are just a few ways canned responses can help you out.
- Process HARO responses: I use Help A Reporter Out to find sources, but I can often wind up with sixty responses to a request. I have a standard response that I send out to those sources who I can’t actually use. I also will save my questions as a canned response — if I’m interviewing two people for the same article, I’ll often start with similar questions, although I may customize them.
- Speed up query letters: While every query letter should be customized to the editor you’re sending it to, some sections — like your writing experience and contact information — aren’t going to be very different between emails. I’ve created a template that includes a paragraph that I include in every query, as well as a general template to remind me to include the important parts of a query.
- Explain your rates: Prospective clients may email you, wanting to know what you may charge for a project. You can write a standard response that you always use or create an estimate template — either option is just as easy with canned responses.
- Send out reminders: I handle most of my invoices and other paperwork with my clients by email. That includes sending out reminders to pay invoices, sign contracts and other emails that don’t really need to be written from scratch every time you send them out.
- Make sure your finished project is complete: I’ve put together a template for sending completed projects to clients. It reminds me to attach both the project and the invoice, and includes a few standard paragraphs about revisions and further work. This template has saved my bacon more than once — I’ve almost forgotten to attach the actual project to an email I was about to send a client. A small note in my canned response made all the difference.
If you’re interested in using Gmail’s canned responses feature, you’ll need to turn it on in Gmail’s settings. It’s listed under Labs. Some other email tools have similar capabilities to create email templates.
Amy Kalinchuk says
I use canned responses for book sales. My new publishing project will have automatic downloads for all ebooks, but in the meantime, I send an email with the book as an attachment. I have made templates for each type of book purchase.
One thing to remember–put your signature on the canned response, inviting folks to follow you on Twitter or befriend you on Facebook, etc. Use every opportunity!
P.S. Jones says
I use Gmail like a free cloud version of Outlook. You can send and receive email from up to five email accounts. I also receive forwarded copies of mail from email addresses I monitor for certain clients. I’ve created canned responses for almost all of these accounts for various situations. We talk about maximizing our time as freelancers. Saving two minutes over and over each day really adds up.
.-= P.S. Jones´s last blog ..Yes You Do Need An Editor (And His Name Isn’t SpellCheck) =-.
Wow, I had no idea!!! Thank you for this great info.
need help with canned feature says
i turned this feature on in labs, but i can’t figure out how to create the response. the google help pages were no help, unfortunately. can you explain step-by-step how to make the response? I tried typing it in a blank email and going to “canned response” and then “save” but it didn’t save anything. Any help would be appreciated!
P.S. Jones says
Go your Gmail account and compose a new email. Type whatever you want into the message. Click Canned Response and then “New canned response” in the drop down menu that appears.
.-= P.S. Jones´s last blog ..What Sex and the City Gets Wrong About Being a Writer =-.