A really quick and easy link building tip for Gmail users today. I’ve mentioned before that I always get more outreach responses when I follow up with prospects. Chances are that you won’t catch everyone at just the right time first time around, so following up is always a good idea.

However this requires you to be reasonably organised so that you not only remember, but don’t make the mistake of following up with the wrong people. You can use BuzzStream to keep yourself organised but if you’re looking for something a bit more basic, this tip may be for you.

You will need: Gmail + Boomerang + Canned Responses

Step 1 – Install Boomerang

Head over to Boomerang and install the plugin. Once it is installed, you’ll see this added to your compose email screen:


Step 2 – Install Canned Responses

Canned Responses is a Gmail Labs feature so you’ll need to enable that first. Once you’ve done this, go to Settings, then Labs where you’ll see this screen:



Step 3 – Write your responses and save them

Now you need to write your follow up emails. You’ll probably write a range of these depending on the link building campaigns that you’re running. You can save them all within canned responses:



Step 4 – Remember to Boomerang outreach emails as you send them

The feature of Boomerang that we’re going to use is the one that will send the email back to us if we haven’t had a response in a certain period of time. When you send an email, select the following:


I tend to select either 4 days or 1 week, depending on the campaign.

If you get a reply, Boomerang will not remind you to follow up. If you get a reply then Boomerang will send the email back to you, at which point you can hit reply and insert your pre-made canned response. I recommend personalizing if you can with at least their name:

Screen Shot 2013-01-24 at 20.38.01

Click send and you’re done! You’ll make sure that you follow up on every outreach email you send and better still, it hardly takes you any time!


Paddy is co-founder of Aira, a digital marketing agency in Milton Keynes.

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  • Reply

    Mark Gavalda

    January 24, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Great stuff Paddy, I’ll try it out 🙂

  • Reply

    Collin Davis

    January 24, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Fantastic stuff Paddy, loved the post and am definitely setting this up for my future linkbait mails.

  • Reply

    Ryan Glass

    January 24, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Great post, thanks for the tip, Paddy. Yet another reason to convince my boss we should get off our mail system and over to something more flexible.

    • Reply


      January 25, 2013 at 5:17 am

      Thanks Ryan. I used to use Outlook at my old company. Now, I can’t ever imagine not using Gmail, it’s amazing.

      • Reply

        Jamie Press

        April 17, 2013 at 2:25 pm

        Gmail is the cat’s pyjamas alright. Using Outlook for outreach, I feel like I’m spinning plates!

  • Reply

    Francisco Meza

    January 24, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    Currently I am using Buzzstream. Are there times when you prefer using Gmail canned responses for outreach over Buzzstream? I tend to send blast emails out on Buzzstream which doesn’t have a feature like Boomerang.

    • Reply


      January 25, 2013 at 5:19 am

      Good question! I tend to flick between the two to be honest. In general, I’ll use BuzzStream for when I’m sending more about 20 emails at a time. It also depends how customised I’m making the outreach email. It isn’t uncommon for me to customise each and every email I send by writing it from scratch, in which case I’ll use Gmail.

  • Reply


    January 25, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Nice little tip Paddy! will install that now and test it out

  • Reply

    James Hutto

    January 25, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Great tip – we’ve been wearing this one out lately. I would add that Yesware is another great add-on for Gmail that let’s you track emails, but it also allows you to create a variety of canned response “templates” that you can drop in easily. Win-win!

  • Reply


    January 27, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Nice tip. I want to try this one but I am not sure if this really would work. Won’t this get us penalized?