Ultimate Guide
Productivity : 8 min read

The ultimate guide to sending canned responses in Gmail

If you're working in sales, sending and replying to emails are just part of the job.

Often, sales representatives send the same or similar emails over and over again with standard responses.

However, time spent drafting these are not the best use of their time.

One of the best ways to increase productivity? Cut back on the amount of time spent writing sales emails by using canned responses in Gmail.

Let's find out:

Let's start by looking at what this neat Gmail feature is.

What are canned responses in Gmail?

The “Canned Responses Lab” in Gmail allows you to create and save multiple email templates in your inbox. These can then be sent with either just a click of a button, or even sent automatically. As you can imagine, this is a huge timesaver.

No more copying and pasting from previously sent emails or wasting time typing out the same response over and over. With canned responses, you’ll save time and be more productive.

When to use canned responses:

Canned responses help you easily—and quickly—respond to situations that reoccur often. There are many situations where this might come in handy:

  • Accepting job applications? Set up a canned response to let applicants know you’ve received their application and thank them for applying.
  • Canned responses allow you to set up different email signatures for different recipients.
  • If scheduling meetings takes up a lot of your time, create a template with a link to your calendar scheduling software and let contacts choose a time that works.
  • When someone sends an email for help with your service or product, have an email with canned response text, ready to go that lets them know you’ve received their message and are on it.
  • If you get the same questions about specific resources or tips, create a canned response instead of writing a new email each time.
  • Canned responses can be used to send routine documents or paperwork.

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How to set up canned responses in Gmail:

The best part about this feature is it’s simple to get started and have a canned respinse text. Here’s how to set up canned responses in Gmail:

Step 1: Activate canned responses.

Before you can create a canned response template, you’ll need to activate it. In Gmail, click the gear icon in the top-right corner, then click Settings.

activate canned responses

Once you’ve selected Settings, there will be a tab titled Advanced on the right-hand side. Under this tab is a list of features you can enable or disable. Enable canned responses.

advanced canned response settings

Make sure to save your changes by clicking on the tab at the bottom of the page.

save canned response changes

Step 2: Compose an email/create your first template.

The next step: compose an email (a sales email perhaps?) to serve as your first canned response template. You can choose to write something new, or if you already have a response from a previous thread, you can copy and paste it.

Step 3: Select “Canned responses” in the bottom-right-hand corner.

After you’re done writing your first template, click on the three vertical dots in the bottom-right corner. Select “Canned responses” and then “New canned response.”

how to create a new canned response in gmail

A box will pop up asking you to name your canned response. Choose something that will make it easy to remember what it’s for.

And that’s it! Now you can use your canned responses to send quick, efficient emails.

How to use a canned response in Gmail: 

Now that you know how to create a canned response in Gmail, let’s take a look at how to put those templates into action.

Step 1: Select canned responses on the bottom-right-corner.

In the bottom-right corner of the compose window are three vertical dots. Click on that, followed by “Canned responses.” Select the canned response you want to use under “Insert.”

select canned responses in gmail

Step 2: Select your recipient and send.

Your canned response will automatically copy and paste into your compose window. All you have to do is select the recipient and send it.

You can also use canned responses when replying to an email.

use canned responses when replying to an email

How to send canned responses as auto-replies: 

Another way to take advantage of canned responses is to set up auto-replies. That way, there’s almost no manual work involved.

Step 1: Create a new filter.

Under Settings, you’ll find a tab called “Filters and Blocked Addresses.” Click on this and select “Create a new filter” in the middle of the screen.

create filter in gmail

Step 2: Select your criteria for an auto-reply.

A new window will pop up where you can select the criteria you want for your canned response auto-reply. This includes who it’s from, keywords in the subject line, and the actual words in the email.

select auto-reply criteria

After you finish filling this out, click “Create filter.” In the next box, click the “Send canned response” checkbox and choose which template you want to use.

create canned response filter in gmail

Step 3: Click “Create filter” ... and you’re done.

Click “Create filter” and you’re done.

Whenever someone sends an email with the keywords selected or from the email address you chose, they’ll get an auto-reply. Be careful when selecting keywords. If it’s too broad, for example, you’ll end up sending auto-replies that might not apply to certain people.

Save even more time by hooking up email templates to your CRM.

If your CRM has a Gmail integration has a Gmail integration, you can take this a step further.

Some teams, for example, have hundreds—or even thousands—of leads to contact, and this is where the ability to use canned responses really shines.

Instead of writing emails from scratch or copying and pasting text from different files, just choose the leads or customers that you want to email and select a pre-built template from right inside your Gmail view. (More Gmail tips here.) Like this:

email templates in gmail and copper crm
With Copper, you can edit email templates in Gmail instead of writing messages from scratch.

4 things to keep in mind when using canned responses:

Canned responses are a great way to save time when it comes to managing your inbox. Keep these pointers in mind and you'll be saving time with templates in no time:

  1. Are your templates written well, error-free, and formatted to look professional?
  2. Make sure your canned responses are very specific and make sense to the recipient, especially if it’s set up as an auto-reply.
  3. These are just templates to get you started—templates are meant to be tweaked and you should always add a little bit of personalized information so the recipient feels valued. While canned responses can be a huge timesaver, there are situations when a completely personalized response is better.
  4. Finally, be sure to review your canned responses from time to time and analyze how customers react to them. If you find you aren’t getting the response you want, it's time to update and improve them.
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