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When you’re running your business solo, it’s easy for emails to get out of hand, which can then make you feel overwhelmed. One of the best ways to overcome “email overflow” is by using canned responses and autoresponders. If you’re ready to tackle your emails, keep a clean inbox, and stop missing and forgetting to reply to emails, here’s how to use canned responses and autoresponders!
Why Use Canned Responses & Autoresponders
So you may be wondering “Why would I use a canned response or autoresponder when I can just reply to the emails that come through my inbox?”. There are quite a few reasons that I believe in using canned responses and autoresponders, and here they are:
First and foremost, time is money. By using a canned response or autoresponder, you’re saving time, thus you’re saving or making money. You don’t have to keep typing out the same words over and over again when you know that you already have a response to the email or question being asked.
Along with saving time, you’re also saving your energy when you use a canned response and autoresponder. Who wants to sit in front of their computer all day replying to emails anyway?
Sets An Expectation
The greatest thing about autoresponders is that they set expectations for the people emailing you. For example, my autoresponder notes that I check my emails twice a day, once in the morning and once before “clocking out” at 3 pm, M-Th. This shows that I’m not ignoring someone if I don’t respond right away, or if I don’t respond on a Friday since I take Friday’s off to work on my own projects or spend time with family.
Allows You To Disconnect
Along with setting expectations, using an autoresponder gives you the time to take a break from your emails. Since I don’t work on Friday’s, many people know that I most likely won’t respond until Monday morning. If their need is urgent, they’ll make sure to email me in a timely fashion. By setting up my autoresponder, I was able to pull away from the constant emails and focus on my family and personal life.
By using an autoresponder that clearly lays out your work and response times, you are allowing yourself to disconnect and focus on what matters to you, whether that be your family, taking care of yourself, taking a vacation, or whatever. Autoresponders allow you to take a break from your emails without feeling guilty!
My autoresponder and canned emails are all set up to answer frequently asked questions. Need to book a strategy session with me? I have an email for that. Need to know when your invoice is due? I have an email for that too. My autoresponder and canned emails are a quick and easy way for me to answer frequently asked questions without typing them out multiple times.
Allows You To Promote
Who knew that your autoresponder could help you promote your products and services? Well, it can! My autoresponder includes my strategy session link, a link to my productivity and sales ebook, and a link to my free resource library. The links aren’t “Look at me and all my crap!”, but they are there if someone wants to click on them for more information. And here’s the thing… people DO click on them for more information. That means more calls booked, more sales, and more people on my email list, and all I had to do was set up a super simple email responder!
Types of Canned Responses
No matter whether you run a product based or service based business, you can use canned responses to your benefit. A few of my favorites are: invoicing details response, strategy session call details response, timesheet response, and even a work with me response.
The canned responses that you choose to use in your business will all be based on what your most frequently asked questions are and what you find yourself typing out most often. Do you have clients that constantly ask when they will be billed? Create a canned response for that. Are people emailing you like crazy to interview you on their podcast or YouTube channel? Set up a canned response. Create what your business needs, and remember that you can always tweak them or add to them later as well.
The Best Autoresponder
The best autoresponder will include a quick hi and thank you, some information about how or when you check emails, and a few details that you may want to include to make the emailer feel welcomed. Since I have products and services, I include those links. It’s also important to include your signature, which can have other ways to connect with you like social media, your website, or maybe even your phone number. Do whatever you’re comfortable with, but always have a signature! It’s part of your business, and dare I say, your brand.
How To Create An Autoresponder
If you use Gmail like I do, creating an autoresponder is super easy. I was able to set mine up in less than 10 minutes, and most of the time I spent on it was because I had to grab my links!
Step 1: Open your Gmail account and click the settings bar (the little wheel). Click on settings.
Step 2: Scroll down until you see vacation responder. Set the first day as your current date, but remember that any old emails will not receive your autoresponder, only emails that are sent after it’s set up. Don’t set an end date.
Step 3: Write out your email and add your links (if you want).
Step 4: Create your signature if you haven’t already. If you do have a signature created, don’t worry about adding it to your autoresponder, it will automatically add itself.
Step 4: Save and turn on your new autoresponder!
See, super simple right?
How To Create A Canned Response
Now, canned responses work a little differently, but they are still just as easy to set up as an autoresponder. Again, if you’re using Gmail, I’ll show you how I’ve created mine. Keep in mind that you’ll have to do this process with each canned response that you want to use.
Step 1: Open your Gmail account and click the settings bar (the little wheel). Click on settings, and then choose “Labs” in the tabs.
Step 2: Enable canned responses and save.
Step 3: Open up a new email draft and write out your canned response. Make sure that you also include your subject. On the lower right-hand corner, you’ll see a downward arrow. Click that.
Step 4: Hover over canned responses and click “Save new canned response”.
Step 5: Gmail will try to confirm that you want to save your new canned response. Click OK.
Step 6: Use your new canned response. Whenever you need to use it, click the arrow, and insert whichever canned response you want to use.
*Note: Something that I didn’t show in my pictures is that you don’t need to include your signature in the canned responses you create. Since your signature is auto-populated, it will pop up on each email. So, either remove the signature when creating a new canned response or make sure you delete the duplicate each time. Up to you!
See how easy both of those processes were? For me, setting up my canned responses and autoresponder took a total of around 25 minutes, and now I don’t have to worry about them anymore (unless I change or update parts of my business). Using canned responses and my autoresponder has saved me so much time and energy as a solopreneur, and I know they will do the same for you. Give them a try!