How To Clone or Ceate Copies of Drafts in Gmail

I was asked a question the other day when showing someone how to use Gmail and it wasn’t the first time I had heard it. The question was ‘How do I create copies of drafts in Gmail so it doesn’t take as long to reply to customers?’ As I try to regularly answer questions here on TechJunkie, I thought this was a prime candidate.

What the question is actually asking is more about email templates than saving copies of a draft. I was showing someone how to set up autoresponders and labels for their new business email. They wanted some boilerplate emails to send to clients to keep them in the loop without being bogged down by admin all day long. The answer is to create email templates.

You can create copies of these and keep them as drafts if you prefer but you can do a lot more with templates.

Email templates

Email templates are a saving grace of all small business owners or those who find themselves saying the same things in the same kinds of emails. I have used them ever since I started my own businesses and they have saved me many hundreds of hours over the years.

Email templates can also make you look more professional. You can respond faster and a simple ‘Thank you for your email, one of our team will contact you directly within 24 hours’ can make a customer feel valued. Considering how easy it is to do, I highly recommend using them.

How do I create email templates in Gmail?

Gmail calls templates Canned Responses and you have to enable the feature before you can utilize them. Once done, you can create as many email templates as you like.

  1. Open up Gmail and log in.
  2. Select the cog menu icon in the top left and select Settings.
  3. Select the Labs tab.
  4. Toggle Canned responses (templates) to Enable.
  5. Select Save changes at the bottom of the page.

Now the feature is enabled we can begin to create templates. You do that from the Inbox in Gmail so that’s where we head next.

  1. Select Compose email from your Inbox.
  2. Create the email you want to create as you normally would.
  3. Select the gray down arrow in the bottom right of the email window.
  4. Select Canned responses and New canned response.
  5. Give it a meaningful name and select OK to save.

Once you have saved your canned response you can safely delete the draft.

When drawing up your canned response, you need to balance the personal touch with being generic enough that you won’t offend anyone. That means either leaving things like names and dates out of the email and replacing it with timescales. Or you could add those personal touches by hand before sending. The latter is preferable as the personal touch creates a relationship you can build on. It isn’t always possible though so you have to use your judgment.

Using your email template

Now you have created your email template, or canned response, it’s time to use it. When you receive your first opportunity to utilize the template, do this:

  1. Select Reply from within the email you want to respond to.
  2. Select the gray down arrow at the bottom right of the screen.
  3. Select Canned responses and select the response you created.
  4. Add personalized data to make the email relevant.
  5. Send.

You can do the same thing by using Compose and creating a fresh email but I find the reply method much faster.

Using your canned response as an email autoresponder

Taking the email template one step further, how about setting up a canned response as an autoresponse to an incoming email. You will have to keep your canned response generic but it is a great way to acknowledge orders or queries and build a good relationship with your customer.

  1. Open Settings within Gmail and select the Filters tab.
  2. Select the Create a New Filter text link.
  3. Create a criteria to trigger the filter. This will likely be unique to you so select something that works.
  4. Select Create filter with this search in the bottom right of the window.
  5. Select Send canned response and the response you want to use.
  6. Select Create filter.

Now whenever the filter criteria is met, Gmail will send your canned response automatically. This is ideal for acknowledgements or updates and can be set to trigger in multiple ways. It is impossible for me to list them all here but you will recognize a pattern in your emails that you can use. For example, all emails send to your ‘[email protected]’ email address or any email containing the word ‘Order’. You get the idea.

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