So, when I started my business I spent nearly all day in email. I wanted my emails to sound personal and amazing, I wanted people to feel connected to me. I wanted people to like my emails enough to want to work with me. I’d heard about email templates but they seemed so impersonal. I refused to use them.

And email tasks took forever! I needed a better way to be personable and quick when I sent emails. Which is when I started looking into email templates (sometimes known as canned responses).

Email templates are fab when you use them properly. If you’ve come across this topic before you’ll know that they’re super dry and boring.

Which is why I started looking at how they could be more exciting and more likely to connect with my potential customer.

Canned responses will be your key to success when you’re planning the overhaul of your business. Saving time and being more productive means putting in a little work to save hours later.

Why should I use email templates?

Email templates have a bad reputation. They’re known for seeming impersonal and cold. So why even bother with them to begin with?

  • They can save you hours of time throughout your business
  • Using them will ensure that you won’t forget important information or links
  • They will enforce your business voice and keep things nice and professional

How can I use email templates?

You could spend hours writing up all your templates only to find that you’re unable to action them quickly and efficiently. But there are many places to store your templates.

Gmail lets you use canned responses within your browser – making it easy and simple to quickly pull up the message you want to send.

It’s way easier to have your messages inside your Gmail than it is to have them in a digital notebook and forever copy and paste.

For a quick guide on how to set up your Gmail, head on over to Business.tutsplus for a detailed tutorial.

If you’re not a gmail lover, then you could try storing in trello. That way you can always keep track of your canned responses and even share them with your team.

What type of templates do I need for my business?

Honestly, each business is different.

It’s a good idea to start monitoring the following:

  • the types of questions you are asked often
  • situations that you find uncomfortable and that cause you considerable time debating an answer
  • details of your business policies that are often challenged or that need repeating more often
  • the type of people you speak with a lot e.g. craft shows potential clients etc.

When you have your list you’ll start to notice trends. Emails that you are constantly writing, tidbits of information that need typing out all the time, introductions you’re always making or policies that you’re having to reword for politeness.

What’s the best way to use email templates?

The surefire way to sound like a robotic weirdo is to unleash your canned responses on the world without any editing.

Using canned responses isn’t a way of shirking off a genuine connection with people. It’s a way of saving you time and giving you a consistent voice.

You still need to edit them. Keep in mind that you should be able to send your mum a canned response without her thinking that you view her as a business transaction.

When you’ve written up your canned responses, it comes time to edit them.

creative business editing changing canned responses for better customer service

To edit your canned responses:

  1. Think about the person you’re sending it to. Does the relationship require a softer approach or is a cool professional tone what you’re looking for?
  2. Identify sentences that could be removed from your canned response or areas for editing. For instance, if your cousin is asking for a freebie that you can’t provide, you could add a sentence to soften the ‘no’.
    • Original Sample: “I’m unable to take on any pro bono work at the moment due to time constraints. But your project sounds great, do let me know if your budget restrictions change anytime soon.”
    • Edited for family: “It would have been lovely to work with you on this project. Sadly, pro bono work isn’t something I can offer anyone right now. However, I am loving that you’re so passionate about your work. I have always enjoyed [something connected to the project they’re doing]. If you’re able to find a little funding for hiring me for the project, do get in touch! I have some great ideas that could help your launch/artwork/business be the success it deserves.”
  3. Think about what you want your end goal to be. A firm ‘no’ response would be different to a ‘let’s see what we can work out’ response. Let’s look at the example we used before.
    • Original Sample: “I’m unable to take on any pro bono work at the moment due to time constraints. But your project sounds great, do let me know if your budget restrictions change anytime soon.”
    • A Firm No: “I’m unable to take on any pro bono work at the moment. I usually charge $xxx for this type of work. If your budget changes to match with my rates then I’d be very interested in this project”
    • An Open No: “I’m unable to take on any pro bono work at the moment. I usually charge $xxx for this type of work. Your project does sound wonderful though. It’s worth noting that the services you’re looking for are part of my luxury package. If your budget is a little constrained right now then I’d recommend my starter package, which runs at $xxx / xx% less. It would include…. “
  4. Take a moment and reread your edits. Make sure that you are firm, regardless of how you’re editing the response. Your response should be clear and get across the message you want to send.

It can take some time to familiarize yourself with editing email templates but once you’re on a roll you’ll be saving lots of time and keeping everyone happy.

Ideas for Canned Responses:

21 Ideas for Canned Responses for Creative Business Templates

  • A list of your business services and prices
  • Details about a specific service
  • The location of your social media and contact places online
  • A list of contractors and services you recommend
  • “No to Pro Bono” Requests
  • “Yes to Pro Bono” Requests
  • An “I need to think about a response to your email” reply
  • Enquiries about craft shows and other vendor collaborations
  • Letting a customer or client go
  • Your copy for engaging a client in a custom work project
  • Cost estimate enquiry both to others and in response to requests
  • Interview thank you email
  • An introduction to your business for friends and family
  • An introduction to your business for business acquaintances
  • A “Mr. Z mentioned you’d be good to work with”
  • Cold contact email
  • Friendly reminder email
  • Your office hours
  • Client orientation email
  • Pitches for newspapers, podcasts, and other promotional places
  • A request for status or information on a project or product

Final Note:

Always take the time to check the following key items in your canned response before sending out.

  • Check numbers for typos, decimal places, currencies, dates, and times.
  • Check street addresses and locations.
  • Double and Triple check names e.g. company and contact names.

I can help you set up the canned responses that you need to make your business a success. Save even more time by getting in touch and telling me what type of templates you need creating.