A whopping 86% of professionals list email as their preferred communication channel. The Radicati Group estimates that we sent 281+ billion personal and professional emails per day in 2018. With such high usage, inbox efficiency is becoming more and more crucial as time passes.
For many people, sending email is a main function of their job, and with that comes the need to send the same or similar email time and time again. That’s where email templates come into play. Since Gmail is the second-largest email client globally, let’s go through how to set up email templates in Gmail. It’s important to note that in Gmail, templates are referred to as canned responses, so keep that in mind when setting up templates for the first time.
Why Use Email Templates in Gmail?
To Save Time
According to a 2017 Smart Insights survey, the State of Email Workflows, it takes marketers two days to complete one email campaign from start to finish. A big portion of this time is taken up designing the layout of each email – a job instantly taken care of with pre-saved templates.
If you find yourself regularly sending the same types of emails, like expense reminders, or having to send the same reply to multiple emails, you’ll also save time by pulling up a template rather than drafting each one from scratch.
To Maintain Consistency
Brands who ignore marketing consistency are seriously underestimating its importance – brand consistency across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%.
Thanks to Gmail templates, you can build your brand into your email template – including the color scheme, logo, and font – and reuse the same template every time you send out an email to your list. The result: a branded email your subscribers will begin to recognize.
To Save Money
There are plenty of external email marketing tools out there, all at varying price points. When you’re on a tight budget or only have modest email requirements, then it doesn’t necessarily make sense to invest time and money on new email marketing software.
Here’s what to do:
- Go to the top of your Gmail inbox, then click the settings gear icon. From the drop-down menu select ‘Settings’:
- Select ‘Advanced’ from the top menu, then locate ‘Canned Responses (Templates)’ and select ‘Enable’:
Remember to hit ‘Save Changes’ at the bottom of your screen before moving on to the next step.
- Since canned responses are now enabled, you can proceed to create a new email by clicking on the ‘Compose’ button located in the top left corner of your inbox:
- To create your first template, begin typing the desired email message you’d like to save and reuse. As soon as you’re finished, click the three dots in the email window to bring up the email options, select ‘Canned Responses’, and then ‘New canned response’:
- Next, a window will appear prompting you to name your canned response. Type in the desired canned response name and select ‘OK’. Don’t worry too much about the name – you can always change it later:
- The next time you’re ready to use a saved email template, click ‘Compose’ again to start a new email. From there, click the three dots in the email window to bring up the email options and select ‘Canned Responses’, then choose the desired template:
The templates you create aren’t static, so feel free to customize them each time. To do so, simply start editing the email template. Adjust the recipient name, body content, switch up greetings or salutations, and swap out any other vital information to make the email more personal.
Creating Templates With Right Inbox
You can also create more robust and feature-rich templates with the Gmail extension Right inbox. Here’s how.
Step 1. Make sure you have Right Inbox installed. You can do that here.
Step 2. Open up your Gmail compose window and select Template.
Step 3. Rename your template by clicking the Edit button.
Step 4. Add in your first template. If you have tried-and-trusted email templates already, then copy and paste them and drop them in. If you don’t have any templates don’t worry, we’ve already put some pre-made email templates together for you.
Step 5. Click Save.
Step 6. You now need to add more templates into Right Inbox. Return to the Gmail compose window and choose Templates again. You’ll now be able to click on Manage Templates.
Step 7. You can now return to Step 3 in this process and add your next template.
Using Your Email Templates in Right Inbox
Step 1. Open up the Gmail Compose window.
Step 2. Make sure you’ve decided which template you want to use as your default – don’t worry, this can always be changed in the future.
Step 3. To insert your default template into the email, simply click the Template button, and the template will be added to the body of the email.
Step 4. To choose one of your non-default email templates, you need to click the drop-down and select the template that you want – a check mark will appear alongside it.
Return to the Template button, click it, and the chosen template will be applied to the body of the email.
Using Templates and Email Tracking For Maximum Productivity
To take your email templates to the next level, you can use templates in conjunction with Right Inbox’s email tracking feature.
If you have a paid Right Inbox account, you will be able to gather valuable data from its email tracking, such as:
- When your emails are opened
- What time they were opened
- What devices your recipients opened them on
- The location of the email open and the connected IP address
- Any links that are clicked on within the body of the email
Using the two features together will enable you to make data-based decisions about which templates perform better and how to optimize them going forward.
Email Templates in Gmail Best Practices
Use a Strong Subject Line
It’s been proven that a solid subject line will increase open rates. An email with no subject line at all has an open rate of about 8%, whereas a highly personalized subject would see an open rate of about 22%.
According to a survey by Sales Cycle, the best performing subject content includes:
- Customer name (open rate of 46.21%)
- Product name/details (open rate of 44.01%)
- Company name (open rate of 42.88%)
The tone of your subject line matters too, with urgency returning a 40.51% open rate, and a customer service tone giving a 41.42% open rate.
Clearly Indicate Fields That Will Be Personalized
Personalization is one of the best ways to improve email open and click-through rates. To personalize emails in Gmail, you’ll need to follow the relevant steps to create a mail merge from a spreadsheet.
When you draft your templates, clearly mark out which elements of your email will be personalized, whether that be the salutation, subject line, or company name, so that you can easily merge them when sending out the email.
Include a Call-to-Action
An effective email will be designed to get recipients to take some form of action as a result of reading it.
When you design your template, clearly indicate space for a call-to-action that you can insert for each email. Where possible, make the CTA a designed button rather than a simple hyperlink – it’s much more likely to be clicked.
Give Them Relevant Names
This may seem like common sense, but when you’re quickly inputting templates, it may be tempting to save them under generic names like “Sales template 1” that don’t really tell you anything about what the template includes.
Always be sure to use specific names, like “Customer subscription confirmation email” – especially once you start to rack up a large collection of templates – so that you can immediately recognize what the template is for without having to waste time sifting through the whole list to find what you’re looking for.
Send from Gmail gives you a handy toolbar icon that enables you to open a compose window in Gmail when you click any email address on a webpage. It also provides a button that will create a Gmail message when clicked. It automatically uses the page title as the subject, and inserts the selected page text and link address as the message.
Canned responses in Gmail can be taken to another level with the Auto Text Expander add-on. It inserts text into any editable field in Gmail or your browser. Creating shortcuts like “office-hours@” can trigger a preset template or block of text to generate your office hours instantly. You can create shortcuts for alternate contact info, salutations, and more, to save you from having to type out the same information over and over again.
Discoverly takes you on a deep dive into the major social media platforms to tell you more about the sender. It will scour sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and even Gmail to give you greater context about the person sending you email.
As you can see, email templates are a huge help when you want to maximize your effectiveness and minimize the time you spend in your inbox. Setting them up is an easy step-by-step process, and once you do that, you can customize them on the fly and save precious time that can be better spent in more important areas. Lastly, don’t discount the countless tools available that can take your email productivity to new heights.