Quick way to standardize and streamline email responses with Outlook Template Phrases add-in

Note. The Template Phrases for Outlook add-in discussed in this article is discontinued and no longer supported. Please check out its more powerful and versatile successor - Shared Email Templates - the most effective way to handle routine emails!

Political organizations across the U.S. are increasingly using email as the dominant form of communication to supporters and potential voters. From local races all the way up to presidential campaigns, email lists are growing and more and more campaigns are sending regular email updates.

When a campaign is managing their email list, whether they have just a couple thousand emails, or if they have millions, it's essential to develop a strategy for managing inboxes and responding to emails. This is especially true for larger organizations that need multiple people to keep up with the constant flow of incoming emails.

When multiple people manage one campaign email account, it's crucial to have consistent responses. This is even more important when the task has been farmed-out to interns or volunteers.

This is where AbleBits' Template Phrases for Outlook can make a huge impact. With this plug-in, you can create standardized responses to a variety of questions that are regularly received in the campaign inbox.

When the plug-in is installed, if someone emails the campaign asking about the candidates position on taxes, the person managing the inbox can quickly pull up the visual interface in Outlook, search for taxes, and then respond with the campaign-approved response.

There are several other great features to this plug-in that can streamline email responses through Outlook:

Shared Templates

When multiple people are managing your email account, you can quickly set up templates that are updated in one networked location. That way, when new responses are added and approved, or when old responses are edited, you can ensure that everyone on your email team is on the same page.

Shared templates updated in one networked location

Adding Attachments to Templates

Oftentimes, your email team will need to attach policy sheets or other documents to their email responses. The Template Phrases add-on has the ability to associate files to template responses, which helps to simplify and speed up the response process.

Adding attachments to templates

Automatic CC/BCC

On a political campaign, many emails from supporters require multiple staff members to follow-up. This is particularly true when someone asks how they can help volunteer. With Template Phrases, the email response team can associate a specific template message with one email address, or multiple email addresses, that can automatically be CC'd or BCC'd. So when your email team responds with a template saying, "Thanks for your support, we'd love to have your help volunteering," they can automatically CC a field organizer who can follow up with volunteer opportunities.

Associate a specific template message with one or several email addresses that can automatically be CC'd or BCC'd

Quick Search and a Multi-Level Tree Structure

Most savvy campaigns are already using email response templates. Typically, the templates are stored in a Word doc or Google shared doc, which can get messy and disorganized as dozens of response templates are created. This is where the streamlined multi-level tree structure of Template Phrases really differentiates itself. Dozens of template responses can be organized by their topic, or category, and they can also be searched. When you're responding to hundreds of emails per day, this is a time-saving feature that can make a significant impact on productivity.

Quick Search and a multi-level tree structure

Some campaigns may look at Ablebits' Template Phrases for Microsoft Outlook and ask why they should use Microsoft Outlook when their email account can be accessed through a webmail interface.

The answer is simple: professionals know that external software is the best way to manage multiple email accounts, tasks, contacts, calendars, and email responses.

Microsoft Outlook also has a host of other tools for advanced users that can further streamline the management of a campaign email account, including: creating rules to sort specific messages into unique folders, backing up emails for offline viewing, and of course numerous add-ons like Ablebits' Template Phrases.

Any campaign that is serious about organizing their email team and standardizing email responses needs to take a close look at Template Phrases add-in for Outlook. It can help save time, resources and stress during the eat of a campaign.

Disclaimer: I have managed campaign email accounts for local races all the way up to presidential campaigns. I am a proud advocate for the Template Phrases add-on, and believe it can make a difference in the way campaigns manage their email accounts. I was compensated for this blog post, but I am a long-time user of this add-on and a fan of Ablebits' software.

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