How much time do you spend each day writing emails? An hour?
Two hours? More? However much time you are spending writing email, it's too
much if you create a brand-new email every time.
Most of the emails you write fall into several common types. You can save hours of time by basing the emails you write on templates that you customize for the situation.
With tools like Gmail's Canned Responses, or others like TextExpander, it's easy to create and save email templates that can be used over and over.
In this article, we explain why email templates are important and how to use them effectively. We detail how Gmail's Canned Responses is one helpful tool that makes using email templates easy. We also provide over ten different canned response examples that you can modify and make your own.
Note: The examples here are fictitious. They should not be considered legal advice or advice about any specific situation you may be facing. Use them as a starting point for making your own customized canned email templates from.
Why Canned Email Templates Are Worth Creating
Email templates are a great way to save time and increase your productivity. If used correctly, email templates can:
- save you hours of time
- ensure you don't forget to mention something important
- help you create a more professional email
With a template, an email that may take you hours to create can take you only minutes instead.
Today's email systems support the use of email templates. Gmail's Canned Responses is just one example of a good tool to use. To learn more about how to use Gmail Canned Responses, read this tutorial:
How to Use an Email Template
There's a right way and a wrong way to use an email template.
The wrong way to use a template is to send out a canned response, or other type of email template, exactly as it's written. Form emails make you look bad.
The way to use a template is to customize it for your specific situation. Insert the name of the email recipient and their company name into the email. But beyond that, you want to review the template carefully to make sure every paragraph applies and that nothing is missing.
If you do find a paragraph in the template that doesn't fit the current situation, remove it. If there's something missing from the template, then add it in. When you're done, the recipient shouldn't be able to tell you're using a template.
Canned Email Template Best Practices
You should carefully proofread your Canned Responses email templates before saving them. You want to start with a template that's as clean as possible.
Even when you start with a clean template, mistakes can creep in. Check carefully for:
- mistakes or misspellings in the client's name or company name
- incorrect numbers, such as a street address or phone number
- typos in dollar amounts (a decimal point in the wrong place can make a big difference)
- errors in dates or times (if your contact is in a different time zone, don't forget to take that into account)
Also, don't forget that each email should have a subject line. (Emails without subject lines may be deleted or go straight to the spam folder.)
If you need more help creating your professional email
template, use this tutorial as a guide:
A Gallery of Sample Canned Responses (With Email Template Examples)
To give you a head start, we
have included some email templates in this article. To get the most from these
templates, customize them for your own situation. Once they're customized, save
them as a template in Gmail's Canned Responses or use another tool to save
Note: The information that must be customized in each template is marked by brackets, [ ]. You can add, or subtract sentences or paragraphs as needed. The sample information included in these email templates are for example purposes only.
1. Request for Status or Information
Situation: You're working on a project team. You need information or updates from another team member.
Email Template: Here's how to ask nicely and get results:
Subject Line: Response required. Project XYZ
Hi [Sally Sampleperson],
Thanks so much for your work on [Phase B] last week.
We are making plans to wrap up [Phase C] soon, and we need an update on [Action Item] to proceed. If you could let me know the [Phase C] status by [tomorrow morning], I'd appreciate it.
Thanks in advance for your help.
[Project Manager, XYZ]
The subject line includes the phrase, Response required. The email is more likely to receive a response with this phrase in the subject line.
Notice also, that the email is addressed to a specific individual. You won't always know the name of the person you're trying to reach, but if you know it, you should use it.
2. Initial Inquiry to Vendor or Service Provider
Situation: You're looking for a product or service, but the company's website doesn't provide enough information.
Email Template: This canned email will help you get the information you need to decide.
Subject Line: [Produce Name]
Dear [Customer Service],
I am planning to purchase a [type of product] in the next few days. From your website, [SAMPLECOMPANY.COM], I notice that your company offers a [type of product].
However, your website does not provide the [height and weight] of [type of product]. Could please you please provide me with additional information, including the [height and weight]. My email address is [JohnDoe@Anytownconsulting.com].
Thank you for your assistance.
[Anytown Consulting Purchasing Agent]
Putting the product name in the subject line is the best choice here. That helps the recipient direct your email to the correct department.
Writing the salutation is also tricky, since we don't have an individual's name. Guessing the title of the person who is most likely to help may be your only option. Notice the tone of the email is a little more formal since you don't know the recipient.
3. Asking for a Cost
Situation: Small business owners often ask service providers for cost estimates. There's a wrong way and a right way to ask a service provider for a cost estimate.
Improper Email Example: The wrong way to write an email asking for a cost estimate looks something like this:
Subject Line: Web Design Work
I am a small business. I need a web designer. How much do you charge?
Joe Small Business Owner
Sadly, the email example above is often what a service provider receives. Unfortunately, it doesn't provide enough information for the service provider to really answer the question. Plus, it makes your small business look like they don't know what they're doing.
Email Template Example: A better approach is to anticipate some of the service provider's questions in your email and provide the answers to those questions as well. Here's a better sample email asking for a cost estimate from a web designer:
Subject Line: [Web Design] Work
I found some samples of your work on [Sample Site (link)]. I especially liked [Sample Name].
Our business, [The Small Company], plans to [redesign our website] in [the next month]. We are looking to hire a contract [web designer] to help with this process. We'd like to consider you for this position.
Let me tell you a little bit about the project.
[Our current website uses the [WordPress] platform, and we'd like to continue using this platform. Currently, our website consists of [five pages]. We'd like to expand the website to incorporate our product list (currently  items). We'd like each item to link to a product description page. We'd also like to update our theme to look more contemporary. It's especially important that the new site be mobile-friendly.]
Please let me know if you are interested in the project. Also, if you can, could you provide me with a rough cost estimate?
I'm happy to answer any questions you may have. You can reach me at [Joe@thesmallcompany.com] or by phone at [XXX-XXX-XXXX].
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
[Joe Small Business Owner]
[The Small Company]
Do you see the difference? Jennifer the web designer is much more likely to take the second email seriously. Anyone can see that you've put some thought into the project. Notice too that the email mentions a time frame for the project. This is important because Jennifer may not be available when you need her.
While you may not have anticipated every question the service provider may come up with, you've given them the opportunity to ask additional questions by providing your email and phone number.
Note: While this canned
response example is specific to a web design project, you could modify it for
other types of projects as well. The entire fourth paragraph is completely
customizable and should contain the details of your project.
4. Cancel Service Through Email
Situation: Canceling a service can be tricky. Even if you're dissatisfied with the service, you still want to come across as a professional.
If you have an online account for the service, canceling your account may be as simple as logging into your account and clicking a Cancel Services link. Usually, you'll find this link under a My Account or Billing option.
Email Template: Sometimes, the automatic cancellation option isn't available. For these instances, create a Canned Responses template that you can use over and over. Here's an example:
Subject Line: [Newspaper Delivery], [Account 007XZY]
Dear Account Representative,
I wish to discontinue my [newspaper subscription and delivery service], effective [April 31, 2017]. My account number is [007XYZ].
The reason I am discontinuing the service is that [I am moving to a new area on May 1st and no longer need the local newspaper].
At your earliest convenience, please confirm receipt of this email.
As you can see, the email is short and to the point. The second paragraph, providing a reason why you are discontinuing the service, is optional. However, including a reason can prevent them from trying to talk you into keeping the service. It could also help them improve their services for other customers.
Generally, it's best to maintain a professional tone even if you are discontinuing the service because you're upset.
5. Initial Inquiry Response
Situation: You are a freelancer or small business owner. Someone has asked for your information via email, how do you respond?
It's best to have a process in mind for answering email inquiries. Many freelancers start by researching the inquirer's company to find out whether they are a legitimate prospect. You can do this online by looking at their website, reviews of their services, and other publicly available information.
The next step varies. Some small business owners request an initial phone conference as their first step. Others send out a qualifying questionnaire. Decide which approach is best for your business and write your email based on your decision.
Email Template: Here is a sample email response to sample 3, above. It uses the approach of sending out a questionnaire:
Subject Line: Re: [Web Design] Work
Thanks for your interest in my [web design services]. I would like to learn more about your project.
I've looked at [The Small Company]'s current website and I believe I can help.
[My prices start at $XXXX.00 for a simple site with four pages. Additional charges may apply if design work, revisions, or meetings are required. For new clients, I also require a 50% upfront payment.]
My typical process is to send out a short questionnaire [attached] to determine the scope of the work. I create a custom proposal based on your answers. Once you sign off on the proposal and I receive the initial payment, I can start the project.
I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Owner and Principal
The Web Design Company
Naturally, you would customize this email template for your own business needs. If they've asked a specific question, such as where can I see samples of your work?, modify the email to include an answer to that question.
The third paragraph is optional. Many freelancers mention a ballpark fee early in the process to discourage inquirers who are looking for cheap or free services. Others prefer to wait until further along in the process.
Note the friendly, helpful tone. This email is actually a sales letter because you are selling your services, but it does not use a hard sell method.
6. Letter of Introduction
Situation: In sample 10, below, we describe how to respond to a letter of introduction. But what if you're the one writing the letter of introduction?
Writing a "letter" of introduction through email is an increasingly important way for professionals to connect. With networking more important than ever, the more people you know, the more likely you are to succeed.
But sometimes people don't want to be connected. So, it's always a good idea to check with both parties to make sure they are open to making a new connection before you write a letter of introduction.
For example, an acquaintance wants you to introduce them to the hiring manager of a large firm. However, the firm is downsizing and does not have any openings. They don't want to be connected with any new applicants. In that case, sending an email letter of introduction could be the wrong thing to do.
Email Template: Let's say both parties agree to be connected. You could write something like this:
Subject line: Introducing [John Doe]
I enjoyed our conversation at last month's [HR Professionals Meeting].
I'm writing today to introduce you to [John Doe] (copied on this email). [John] worked for my company, [XYZ Co.], last summer as a [Computer Science Intern]. I feel [he] would be an excellent candidate for your [IT] department.
[John] is a recent graduate from [ABC University] where [he] majored in [Computer Science].
[John] ... [Susan] is the [Technical Services Recruitment Officer] for [MNOP Corp.] [She] can answer any questions you might have about a career at [MNOP Corp.]
[Human Resources Director]
As you can see, the introduction email is friendly. Yet, it's short and to the point. Conciseness is important because the people you're connecting are likely to be very busy.
7. Salary Negotiation Email
Another type of email you might need to write is a salary negotiation email. You won't get your desired rate unless you ask for it.
As a business professional, you want your salary negotiation email to be professional, but effective. Learn more about how to write a salary negotiation email in this tutorial:
8. Interview Thank You Email
The interview thank you may be one of the most forgotten, yet most important emails, you'll send. Discover how to leave a good impression with a well-written interview thank you email in this tutorial:
9. Friendly Reminder Email
Nobody want to seem like they are nagging. Yet, people do forget important tasks—and that can affect your business. Use the canned template examples in the following tutorial to send a friendly reminder email:
10. Email Introduction Response
Your contact has just introduced you to an important new connection. What you do next determines how they think of you. Leave the proper impression by following the advice in this tutorial:
Bonus Samples—Email Cover Letter Examples
Your email cover letter can be just as important as your resume when it comes to getting a job. Follow the detailed tips and template examples in this tutorial to ensure that your email cover letter is professional:
Now's the Time to Start Using Canned Email Templates
It doesn't have to take hours to write an email. You can drastically reduce the amount of time you spend on emails by customizing pre-written email templates. One great tool for storing and using email templates is Gmail's Canned Responses.
We've provided email templates for many situations and links to other email response examples to help you create your own Canned Responses templates.
Do you have some emails that you seem to write over and over? Share your own short email templates for common business scenarios in the comments below.
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