Gmail Filters & Canned Response

Tuesday, February 3, 2015 | By atomix
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This blog post is brought to you thanks to the recent Australia Day holiday.

Because it got us thinking – how can we help small and micro business owners (and big ones too) to streamline processes and hit the beach more often. We’re already tackling this with website functionality. But what about other digital realms?

Coping with the profusion of emails that hit your inbox is a good place to begin. So, today we have a cool lesson for Gmail account users: How to set up a canned response and trigger it with a filter.

This goes beyond automating your email account to the usual ‘I will be away from the office from… to…’

It’s more like… ‘I’m a hard-working rock promoter who values your business. I’ll get my trusty PA to forward your enquiry to the Booking Office and they’ll let you know that tickets to Wednesday’s music festival are sold out. However, if you would like to register to be on next year’s lineup, my PA will forward your enquiry to the Production Office and, in the meantime, here’s some preliminary information. If you have an enquiry regarding a media call or interview, here’s my mobile number. (And you can find me at the beach, hanging out with the band.)’

Clearly, there are a few benefits here. You don’t have to be available 24/7. You don’t have to physically trawl through dozens or hundreds of emails and sort them into categories or levels of urgency. When it comes time to work, you can focus on one task at a time and tackle it quickly.

So this is how you do it…

  1. Enable canned responses – Open your Gmail Settings, go to Labs and select Canned Responses, then scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save Changes.
  2. Set up your canned response – Create a new message and write your subject line and body copy, then click More Options in the bottom right hand corner of the email window, select Canned Response then New Canned Responses, add a name for it and click Okay.
  3. Set up a filter and link it to the response – Go back to your Settings and select the Filter tab. There’s an option for filters to be applied to incoming mail – click Select All then click on Create A New Filter. Fill in the fields – for example, our rock promoter might add ‘tickets’ to the Subject field and ‘Wednesday’ and ‘tickets’ to Has The Words field. Then it’s just a matter of clicking Create A Filter With This Search, ticking the Send Canned Response option, selecting the Canned Response from the drop down menu, and clicking Create Filter.
  4. If you, like rock promoter, need more response/filter combinations – just repeat steps 2 and 3 of the process for each pair.

To find the emails that triggered the canned responses, you can either go direct to your Sent Mail box, or at the top of your home page enter the filter words in the search bar and click the down-pointing arrow. This will bring up a search filter that you can use to select which date range and folders are searched.

You can automate this search too. In step 3 – when you’re ticking the Send Canned Response option – also opt in for Archive It and Label. This means you only have to check your inbox subfolders (they are created by ‘nesting’ folders) to find each type of enquiry.

Streamlining your business processes using available technology is not that hard. Hard is getting that rock star park at your local beach… Here’s hoping you’ll have to worry about that problem soon!