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For Photographers : Gmail Rules Filters

I’m back again with Part 3 of my series on how I use Gmail for my business.  To catch up check out the links below!

Part 1 :  Adding You Business Email

Part 2 : Nested Labels Save the World

 

I think I’ll have to cover Google Docs and Google Calendar in some future posts too!

So a quick recap, we’ve added out business email to our personal Gmail account and now we only have one place to check emails!!  Yay!!  Then we started rockin the nested labels or sub labels depending on who you ask.  So now we have a filing cabinet system that allows us to organize our inbox.  Hip Hip Huzzah as they say at the Renaissance Faire!!  So how about we tackle how to get Gmail to label your emails automatically, yep that’s right make Gmail do the work while you sip a latte!!!  We are rockin some rules or filters today!

I started noticing emails that I get all the time, like inquiries from my website and I didn’t want to have to label them manually each and every time.  Instead I opened one up and clicked the More button at the top and choose Filter messages like these.  Since they are all coming from my WordPress email address I keep that as my filter argument and click Next Step.  Here I can do lots of things but I choose the Apply the label box and hit the drop down to choose my label.  I can also create a new label here and nest it under another top level label.  So for inquiries I choose the label Client Leads which is under my general Client top label, next to the apply button there is a box that says do you want to apply this filter to these other conversations Gmail found.  Heck yes I do because that just saved me from labeling a bunch of other emails on my own!  So now all the website inquires currently sitting in my inbox are labeled and all the future inquires get labeled as they come in.  Along these lines I was able to filter for clients who have booked and create labels based off their email addresses and file them all away under a sub label with their name for the year of their wedding or session.  So this has been working great for me and even those times that I’m not diligent with archiving from my inbox it makes things super easy to catch up.  This is how I tackled those emails leftover from my inbox monster and labeled everything so it had it’s place.  I archive the email after I’ve labeled it so it no longer sits in my inbox.

Recently I’ve realized I have a bad habit of reading an email on my iphone and choosing to answer it later from my computer.  Then I forget and two days later I realize my client is still waiting on an answer from me :(.  Bad customer service Melissa!!!  So I’ve updated my filters to also Star all my client emails when they come in.  I use the Priority inbox version of Gmail so all the starred emails go into a separate group right at the top of my inbox.  Now they hang out there in my face till I answer them and archive them.  Yay no more two day waits on email because I forgot about them!!!

Another thing I really like about using Gmail is that as the emails come in it scans them and will pull out the Spam and Bulk emails for me.  I can then go in and verify they are junk and either unsubscribe or just delete them.  I’m a big fan of deleting the junk and archiving the good.  I used to be an archive everything girl and then I had over 6000 emails to deal with.  Oh one more cool thing you can do with rules is to send a Canned Response email.  I believe it is an option you have to enable under Labs in your Mail Settings but once you do that you can create your template emails for things and to your rules that you want to send X email when things like inquiries come in.  I use ShootQ for this so I don’t use the Canned Response emails but it might be something that works for you!

I currently have 87 emails in my inbox because I need to archive some things but it is much more manageable then the 1000’s of emails I was drowning in before.  Someday I’d like to get my inbox down to zero but that is still a work in progress.

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