How to Send Automatic Replies When Inquiries Land in Your Inbox
Inquiries are my faaaaaave, but it can be such a struggle to balance living life with responding ASAP to new inquiries. Here’s my favorite little trick that I use to automate that initial response so your potential client can feel heard and cared for between reaching out to you and hearing back with more details.
Note: as with any automated system, you should test this out a few times to make sure it works properly!
Step One: inquire with yourself
Whether it’s through your contact page or another form, you need to start with an inquiry email in your inbox. Fill in the details and hit '“send” so you can get started with a brand-new inquiry. Make sure to inquire with a different email, or you’ll make things really confusing right off the bat.
When the inquiry notification email shows up in your business email inbox, keep an eye on the subject line and other key information that is consistent for every single inquiry email that’s sent your way. (You’ll need that info for Step Five!)
Step Two: Start writing a new email
Open up a new draft, and imagine you’re sitting across from a brand new client who’s inquiring about hiring you. Coffee in hand, smile and think about what you would want them to know, right off the bat. Greet them warmly, tell them when they’ll hear from you next, and maybe throw in a quick link so they can get started on next steps.
A lot of people want to set up calls or in-person meetings with potential clients, so maybe a link to your scheduling software or calendar would be perfect for this message.
STEP THREE: ERASE EVERYTHING IN THE FOOTER
Basically, we’ll save this little buddy and thennnn the footer is added to it anyway, so if you have an email signature of any kind (I drop a few details about upcoming “out of office” days in mine), give that a quick backspace before moving on.
STEP FOUR: SAVE YOUR DRAFT AS A CANNED RESPONSE
Once you’ve set the subject line and cleared out the footer/email signature, click on the three vertical dots next to the trash can in the lower righthand corner of your email draft. This pulls up a window with “Canned responses.” Hover over that option, then select Save > New canned response…
Give it an easy name so you can find it again later.
Note: You might need to set this up for your account. If you don’t see the “Canned Responses” option when you click the three vertical dots, click on the gear icon in your gmail window. Go to Settings > Advanced > Turn on Canned Responses.
STEP FIVE: CREATE A NEW INBOX FILTER
Am I the only one who didn’t know about the magic of inbox filters? Like, I literally hired another business owner to declutter my inbox and she’s the one who taught me the magic of setting up emails with automatic filters. #bless
To get started, click the gear icon > Settings > then go to the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab.
Go down to the bottom of the filter list, and click “Create a New Filter.”
That opens a series of options, which is why it was so important to keep an eye on what information shows up in your inbox with each new inquiry email.
For me, I get an email that says “New Form Submission” in the subject line. I’ll put those words in filter below, specifying that they show up in the subject line. Once you have your trigger…words? I’m nor sure what to call them, but the specific words that always show up with every new inquiry message, click “Create filter.”
STEP SIX: CONNECT YOUR CANNED RESPONSE
Once you click “Create filter,” you can choose what actions happen automatically when it shows up in your inbox.
First, check “Send canned response” and choose the canned response you created earlier!
Next, you can star the message, always mark it as important, and apply a filter if you’d like.
STEP SEVEN: TEST IT OUT!
Wooohooo, you’ve created an automated email response! Make sure you go back and send yourself another inquiry message or two just to make sure the whole system is running smoothly. Then sit back and relax with a little more time for yourself, knowing your clients are feeling that much more heard and supported.