Email Management
How Gmail Auto Label Can Streamline Your Email Management Workflow

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A shared inbox to unify all business communicaton

How Gmail Auto Label Can Streamline Your Email Management Workflow

Apr 01, 2024
10 min read

Table of contents

In today’s digital era, our inboxes are constantly flooded with emails – from critical business communications to promotional newsletters, and sometimes, the inevitable spam.

Navigating through these emails can be not only time-consuming but also overwhelming, often leading to missed opportunities and a cluttered workflow.

But, what if we told you that there’s a nifty tool within your Gmail that can effortlessly organize your inbox, enabling you to streamline your communication with utmost ease?

Enter: Gmail auto labels.

The Gmail auto label feature is like having an email management virtual assistant that neatly categorizes all your incoming mails, ensuring that you attend to the most crucial ones promptly while filing away the less pressing messages for later.

In this blog, we take a look at everything you need to know about Gmail auto labels – how they can help you streamline your email workflow, and spend less time sorting and more time focusing on what actually matters.

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What is Gmail Auto Label?

Gmail Auto Labels refer to the system that allows you to automatically label all incoming email conversations through the use of filters and labels.

Here’s an example of how this works:

Say you’re working on a project with a colleague named Alex, and you want to ensure all gmail messages from Alex are labeled as “Project X” to easily find them in your inbox.

Step 1: Creating a Label

  • Open Gmail.
  • On the left side panel of your Gmail dashboard, click “More.”
  • Click “Create new label.”
  • In the pop-up window, you’ll be prompted to name your label. Let’s name it “Project X.”
  • Click “Create.”
How to create a label in Gmail
How to create a label in Gmail

Step 2: Creating a Filter and Applying the Label

  • In Gmail’s search bar, type the following: “from:[Alex’s email ID]” 
  • Click the “Search” icon on the left side of the search box.
  • Now, you’ll see all the emails from Alex. But before you proceed, click “Create filter” which is right below the search box.
  • You’ll see several options for what you can do with the emails that match your filter. Check the box beside “Apply the label” and choose “Project X” from the dropdown list.
  • (Optional) If you want to apply the label “Project X” to all existing emails from Alex, check the box beside “Also apply filter to matching conversations.”
  • Click “Create filter.”
Applying filters to Gmail labels
Applying filters to Gmail labels

Now, every email from Alex will automatically be labeled as “Project X,” making it much easier to keep track of all related communications in your inbox. This essentially works as an “auto-labeling” process.

It is extremely helpful for managing your inbox, categorizing emails, and ensuring that specific types of emails are grouped under corresponding labels, making them easier to locate and respond to. This can be particularly useful for businesses or individuals who receive a high volume of emails and need a systematic way to manage them.

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Scenarios Where Gmail Auto Label Can Be Useful

The automatic labeling of emails using filters can be incredibly beneficial in various scenarios. Here’s a breakdown of different situations where the utilization of Gmail’s filtering and labeling system (sometimes informally referred to as “auto-labeling”) can be particularly advantageous:

1. Project Management

  • Situation: You’re managing multiple projects and receiving emails from different project teams.
  • Benefit: Automatically labeling emails based on project teams or project names will keep your inbox organized, making it easier to find and prioritize emails related to specific projects.

For instance, say you’re overseeing three major projects, Project A, Project B, and Project C. Each project has its own dedicated team, and you receive numerous emails related to each project daily.

You can set up auto-labeling in Gmail in such a way that whenever you receive an email from anyone on the Project A team or with “Project A” in the subject, Gmail automatically applies the “Project A” label. You can mimic this for Project B and Project C as well.

This way all emails from a specific project team are neatly labeled, making it easy to spot them at a glance.

2. Prioritizing Client Communications

  • Situation: Emails from key clients need immediate attention but it’s easy to lose track of them amidst an influx of many other emails.
  • Benefit: Auto-labeling emails from certain clients with a distinct label allows for quick identification and prioritization, ensuring swift responses and maintaining healthy client relationships.

For instance, say you work for a marketing agency, and several high-value clients rely on your services. These clients often send important emails that require prompt responses.

Now, you can use Gmail auto label to set up an auto-labeling rule to automatically label all incoming emails from a client (let’s call them A) with a distinct label. Let’s say “VIP Client – Client A.” Similarly, you’ve configured another rule to label emails from Client B as “VIP Client – Client B.”

This way you can quickly identify emails from your key clients, even when your inbox is flooded with other messages.

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3. Handling Job Applications

  • Situation: HR professionals dealing with a high volume of job applications via email.
  • Benefit: Auto-labels can categorize emails based on job titles/positions. This streamlines the recruitment process by segregating applications for different positions into dedicated labels.

For instance, say you work in the HR department of a growing company, and you regularly receive a substantial number of job applications through email for various positions within the organization. Currently you’re hiring for the position of a software engineer.

You can set up the Gmail auto labeling rule to automatically label all incoming emails with the subject containing “Software Engineer Application” or related keywords as “Software Engineer Position.”

This way you can quickly and easily differentiate between job applications for various positions.

4. Managing Vendor Communications

  • Situation: Receiving invoices, order confirmations, and other communications from various vendors.
  • Benefit: Using automatic labeling for different vendors or different types of invoices ensures easier tracking and management of orders, payments, and other related tasks.

For instance, say you’re a procurement manager for a company and you receive a large volume of emails from various vendors. Each of these emails contain invoices, order confirmations, and other important communications related to your business’s purchases.

You can use Gmail auto-labeling to neatly categorize vendor emails so that you can easily identify and prioritize emails from specific vendors, even if they arrive simultaneously. You can also use auto-labels to categorize invoices and order confirmations so that its easier to track payments and order details. This reduces the risk of missing payment deadlines or overlooking crucial order information.

5. Sorting Marketing & Promotional Emails

  • Situation: Subscribing to various newsletters and promotional emails.
  • Benefit: Auto-labeling these emails and bypassing the inbox (if desired) avoids clutter, ensuring promotional content doesn’t overshadow important emails but can be read at convenience.

For instance, say you subscribe to multiple newsletters and promotional emails from companies and organizations that interest you. However, you want to prevent these emails from overwhelming your primary inbox and ensure they don’t distract you from important work-related communications.

Now you’ve set up an automatic labeling rule to categorize all incoming newsletters as “Newsletters.” Similarly, you’ve configured another rule to label promotional emails as “Promotions.”

This way newsletter emails are automatically labeled and are stored in a dedicated folder, keeping your primary inbox clutter-free.

6. Streamling Team Communications

  • Situation: If you’re a team member who predominantly communicates with their team on email, then you’d understand how tough it can be to keep up with internal communication.
  • Benefit: Creating filters for each team member or specific projects ensures emails are automatically categorized, making it easier to address issues or find information related to specific team activities.

For instance, say you receive a number of emails from different team members on a daily basis regarding various projects and discussions.

With Gmail auto labels, you can categorize emails from different team members based on factors such as the sender’s email ID, type of project you’re working on, and so on.

This way internal communication are neatly categorized, ensuring that important discussions are easy to find and address. You also no longer need to spend excessive time searching for past conversations or information related to specific projects.

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7. Managing Events and Bookings

  • Situation: Organizing or attending events involves heavy email communication. You’ll have to send and receive updates, manage invoices, respond to confirmations – all via email.
  • Benefit: Auto-labeling emails based on events allows for seamless management and ensures all relevant documents and communications are easily accessible

.For instance, say you’re an event coordinator, and your job involves organizing and attending a range of events, from conferences and workshops to seminars and social gatherings. Coordinating these events requires a substantial amount of email communication for sending updates, managing invoices, responding to confirmations, and sharing event-related documents.

You can set up an auto-labeling rule to automatically label all incoming emails related to events. Likewise, you can also set up automatic labeling for confirmation emails from attendees or participants for any event.

You can quickly identify and prioritize emails related to specific events, ensuring that you don’t miss crucial updates or deadlines.

8. Handling Customer Service Queries

  • Situation: A customer support team handles multiple queries, complaints, and feedback on a daily basis.
  • Benefit: Using filters to auto-label emails based on keywords (like “urgent,” “complaint,” or “feedback”) helps prioritize responses and assign them to relevant departments or individuals.

For instance, say your customer support team operates in a fast-paced environment, receiving a multitude of emails each day that include various types of inquiries, complaints, and feedback from customers.

With auto label, you can automatically label any email containing the word “urgent” or other relevant keywords as “Urgent Requests.” Similarly, for emails that contain keywords related to complaints, you can set up a filter to label them as “Complaints.” The same applies for feedback related emails as well.

Now, when your customer support team members check their inboxes, emails marked as “Urgent Requests” are immediately recognized as high-priority issues that require immediate attention. Complaints are easily identifiable, ensuring prompt responses to customer concerns.

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Advanced Gmail Auto Label Techniques

Here are some ways you can use Gmail auto labels to better optimize your email workflow.

1. Combine Auto Label with Filters

By thoughtfully combining automatic labeling with meticulously created filters, Gmail users can construct a personalized email management system that aligns with their communication patterns, priorities, and professional demands.

  • Contextual categorization: Applying labels via filters allows emails to be categorized contextually. Messages can be grouped according to predefined conditions such as sender, subject line keywords, or included attachments.
  • Financial Tracking: Filters can be used to auto-label and categorize financial statements, bills, or payment receipts, aiding in better management of finance communications.
  • Shared Information: For teams using shared inboxes or Google Groups, filters and labels can auto-categorize incoming emails, making it easier for team members to locate and respond to relevant communications.

2. Use with Google Workspace

Gmail’s auto-labeling can be combined with the collaborative features of various Google Workspace tools. This enhances the productivity and collaborative efforts of a team across different projects and workflows.

  • Document Organization: Emails with attached documents that are auto-labeled in Gmail can be systematically stored in specific Google Drive folders based on their labels. This ensures all related documents can be consolidated in one place. 
  • Event Tracking: Auto-labels for event-related emails can aid in quickly identifying and adding relevant appointments to your Google Calendar, ensuring no engagements are missed.
  • Task Management: Emails that are auto-labeled and represent tasks or action items can be converted into Google Tasks. This ensures that all to-dos related to a particular project or client are compiled and easily accessible.

The Complete Guide to Set Up Google Workspace for Your Organization

3. Pair Auto Labels with Canned Responses

Incorporating automated labeling with canned responses in Gmail can significantly enhance communication efficiency, especially when dealing with repeated inquiries. This combination allows users to streamline their interactions and maintain timely communication without the need for manual interventions for every similar type of email.

  • Inquiries: Automatic responses to frequently asked questions or common inquiries ensure that customers receive instant acknowledgment and preliminary support.
  • Order Confirmations: Automate order confirmation emails to provide customers with immediate assurance and order details.
  • Application Acknowledgment: Send automated responses to job applicants, confirming the receipt of their application.
  • Lead Generation: Automatically respond to new inquiries or leads with a thank-you message and a brief about the next steps.
  • Product Information: Automate responses to queries about product pricing, features, or availability.

For instance, you’re in customer support, handling inquiries about different products your company offers. You want to make responding to these inquiries faster and more accurate by using Gmail’s auto-labeling and canned responses features.

You can set up Gmail filters to label incoming emails based on the product mentioned. For example: If the email mentions “Product A,” label it as “Product A Support.”

Now, you can create canned responses for common questions about each product. For example: “Product A FAQs” with answers to common Product A questions.

When a customer emails about a product, Gmail’s filter will label it accordingly (e.g., “Product A Support”).

To respond, use Gmail’s canned responses by following these steps:

  • Click “Compose” > three dots menu > “Canned responses.”
  • Choose the canned response based on the product label.
  • Personalize it for the customer’s specific query.

Challenges with Using Gmail Auto Labels for Larger Teams

Gmail auto labels provide an efficient mechanism for sorting and categorizing emails based on specific conditions. Something that works well for individual users and even small businesses. 

However, for larger organizations with more elaborate and nuanced communication management requirements, relying solely on Gmail’s auto-labeling may not be entirely suitable due to several reasons:

  • Higher volume of emails: In larger organizations, communication is more nuanced and you can’t filter emails into very broad categories. This makes Gmail’s auto-labeling system ineffective.
  • Multiple User Coordination: Gmail’s auto-labeling does not inherently support multi-user collaboration, or task delegation, in a manner that larger teams require..
  • Consistency Issues: Maintaining consistency in label management and filter setup across multiple users or departments can be challenging.
  • Sophisticated Workflows: Larger organizations might require more sophisticated automation workflows that encompass multi-step and multi-user processes, which Gmail auto-labeling does not natively support.
  • Customer Interaction: By using just Gmail’s auto-labeling system, having visibility into customer emails and ensuring timely responses are extremely challenging – given the high volume of queries and the need to internally collaborate on these queries, in large organizations.

In essence, while Gmail auto-labeling offers a solid foundation for basic email categorization, larger organizations with multifaceted communication management needs might find it beneficial to explore dedicated email management or customer service platforms that can offer advanced capabilities, integrations, and tailor-made solutions to meet their comprehensive requirements.

Hiver – A Better Way to Manage Email Communication

Email management platforms are a better alternative to Gmail auto labels, especially for larger organizations dealing with a huge volume of emails from different stakeholders.

These solutions offer several advantages such as advanced automation, team collaboration capabilities, in-depth analytics, third-party integrations, and many other functionalities that can significantly enhance team efficiency.

Hiver is one such powerful email management platform specifically designed for teams on Google Workspace. It offers several robust features that can greatly enhance collaboration and improve the productivity of your agents.

Hiver's UI
Hiver’s UI

The biggest advantage that Hiver offers is that it is easy to set up and use. The platform works right out of Gmail, which means your teams can get started with using it right away without the need for extensive training.

Aside from this, Hiver also offers 24/7 support and onboarding assistance across all of its pricing plans so that you always get the help you need at all times.

Key features of Hiver:

  • Email Management: Ensure that every customer email has a dedicated owner by assigning incoming emails to the right agents. 
  • Shared Drafts: Collaborate with team members on drafting email responses in real-time.
  • Collision Alerts: Avoid duplicate or conflicting responses by immediately notifying a team member when someone is already working on an email
  • Email Notes and @mentions: Collaborate over email conversations using Notes that appear right alongside every email. All you have to do is @mention the colleague you need inputs from and they immediately get notified.
  • Automations: Automate repetitive tasks such as ticket assignment and tagging. This way, your agents aren’t caught up with grunt work and can focus on more important things.
  • Analytics and Reporting: Hiver’s robust analytics allow you to get actionable insights into team performance and customer satisfaction. You also have access to pre-built reports to help you track key metrics such as average response times, individual turnaround time, number of conversations handled per user, and more. You can even create custom reports to help measure what matters to you.

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Explore How Hiver Can Help Your Company’s Email Communication

If you’ve been using the Gmail auto label feature for quite a while and looking for a better, more comprehensive way to manage your email communication, then give Hiver a try.

Simply sign up for a free 7 day trial and explore how Hiver’s powerful features can help your business.

An engineer by qualification and a marketer by profession, Ronia loves to create research oriented, educational content for her audience. Her expertise lies in helping teams manage business communication effortlessly by diving into common questions, industry trends, and more. When not working you can find her catching up on Netflix or spending time with her dogs.

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