Scheduling Emails to Automate Recital Communication

Last week I described how I communicate recital information to my studio families. This process includes sending a series of four emails to my studio families in the weeks leading up to the big day.

I could put reminders in my calendar to send those emails on specific days, but why do that when I can set them all up in advance and automate it?

Here’s how!

Email Automation

If you’re already using an email system like MailChimp to deliver studio newsletters, you can certainly do this through that system. If you don’t have a system in place, don’t worry. It’s probably overkill for this sort of thing anyway.

Email systems have their place, but I find them to be a bit cumbersome for simpler communication. I just don’t need all the bells and whistles these systems offer and sometimes there are issues with emails being delivered to spam or promotions folders instead of inboxes. I didn’t want to deal with that, so I set out to find something that would allow me to schedule emails through Gmail.

I discovered Gmail Scheduler.

Introducing Gmail Scheduler

Gmail Scheduler allows you to send an email from any Gmail account at a specified date and time. It runs through Gmail and Google Sheets (rather than being an extension or separate service) so it doesn’t matter what browser you’re using and it doesn’t require setting up a special account.

It’s also free, although the premium version does get you some handy features like tracking email opens and sending to unlimited addresses in a single batch. (The free version is capped at 20, although you can get around this by duplicating your email and creating multiple drafts to cover all the addresses.)

If you don’t already have an email system set up, this is a great way to go.

How to Set Up Gmail Scheduler

It only took me a few minutes to set up Gmail Scheduler and the on-screen prompts make it simple.

You can install Gmail Scheduler from the Google Sheets Add-ons store. Just open the link and click the blue “+ FREE” button. From there, the on-screen prompts will guide you through the process. (Note: In the Add-ons store the app is called “Email Scheduler” but the pictures and documentation call it “Gmail Scheduler”…they’re the same thing.)

If you get stuck, the developer has this great video that walks you through everything:

Once you’ve got the extension set up, just compose your emails the way you normally would in Gmail and save the drafts. The extension lets you choose from your drafts which one to send later.

I LOVE this about Gmail Scheduler. Sometimes I schedule an email to go out in two weeks and then realize I need to add or change something. In full-fledged email systems, this process is a pain. With Gmail Scheduler, since the emails are just drafts in your Gmail inbox, it’s easy to pop in and make an update any time before the email’s scheduled delivery time.

Other Uses for Gmail Scheduler

Now, I’ve talked about using this tool for sending bulk emails for recitals, but it could also be used to send single emails that need to go out at a specific time in the future. For instance, if you’ve got a parent who volunteered to bring snacks to the recital you could set up a reminder email to go out to them the day before. Or if a prospective student asks you to follow up in two weeks, you can write and schedule that email today so there’s no chance of forgetting.

I hope you’ll give it a try and let me know what other uses you find for this handy tool!

Do you have any other hacks for streamlining or automating studio communication?

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