As a busy photographer, productivity is key for my work. I'm often finding myself blocking my own access to Facebook, Twitter and Reddit throughout the day, forcing me to work on the tasks at hand. And while I truly believe photography is the best job in the entire world, a lot of our days are filled with simple mundane tasks - which is why I love Gmail's Canned Responses.
Traditionally, I hate systems where I exchange personality for function. I'm a bit old school in the sense that I do most of my work manually, without any shortcuts. I truly believe that getting caught up in automation means that quality is going to eventually suffer, and I want all of my work to improve, not dissolve over time. With that said, I end up doing a lot of the same things over and over again, and that is where Canned Responses are essential for all photographers.
What Are Canned Responses?
Canned Responses are simply, shortcodes for your emails. Using canned responses, you're able to build emails, save them for later, and with a simple click, add them to future emails. Think of it like a copy and paste clipboard that never overwrites itself. With canned responses, I'm able to quickly build emails, using predesigned responses, without having to dig through my sent folder to copy and paste a message I've previously sent to others.
How To Enable Canned Responses
Canned Responses are not on by default for Gmail, and have to be enabled through the Google Labs. If you're currently logged into Gmail, you can get access to the Gmail Labs by clicking here. Otherwise, the Labs settings can be found through the Settings in your Gmail Account.
Upon enabling Canned Responses, you'll find that nothing cosmetically has changed to your email service, however, you just opened a treasure trove of functionality.
How To Use Canned Responses
Using Canned Responses is simple, but does take a little bit of setting up. The easiest way is to just simply type in the message you often send to people, and that you'd like to make a Canned Response. For me, I often get inquiries for headshot photography sessions, as I don't personally list my prices and other information on my website.
After you've typed out your message, you then select the entire message, and create a new Canned Response by clicking the small arrow pointing downward in the lower right corner of your email message. Then go into 'Canned Responses' click Save, and then label the response accordingly.
Using Google Canned Responses is a great way to speed up your email workload, while being able to add personal touches to each email. For example, by sending out reminders of photography session a day or two before, you're able to add a touch of professionalism to your business, without sacrificing more time. That said, the possibilities are limitless when using Canned Responses, so if you use them yourself, tell us how you do in the comments below.