How do email filters work? How are they set up and whats is the best way you find to utilize them?
Filters combined with labels/categories are a great way to organize your emails. I find that filters are best combined with labels. A label is like a category in your mailbox. You can attach a label to certain emails, then view all the emails with that label. You can use filters to assign certain emails to automatically have a certain label applied. You don’t have to use filters in that way (there are other actions too!), but I find that to be the most helpful use of them.
Here are a few examples of how my filters work:
- I have my university email address set up to forward to my Gmail. So I created a new label for University and set up a filter so that any email addressed to my university email address gets a “University” label applied. That way I can clearly see which emails were sent to my school email.
- I get emailed whenever someone attempts to login to my blog. Sometimes I can get a lot of those, so I set up a new label for “Site Lockout Notifications” and set up a filter that looks for the subject “Site Lockout Notification”, automatically applies the “Site Lockout Notifications” label to that email, and has it skip the inbox (so that it only exists in that label and doesn’t clutter my inbox).
- All emails from *@formspring.me, *@postmaster.twitter.com, *@twitter.com, and *@pinterest.com skip the inbox and have the “Social Media” label applied.
- ..and more..
Now I’ll walk you through the steps on how to set up labels and filters on Gmail.
Step #1: Create a Label
On the bottom left hand of the Gmail window, click the button to Create new label. Now, think about what purpose you want this label to serve. For example, I have a label specifically for Creative Whim, and then sub-labels under that for new orders and designer applications. Maybe you want to make a label for design orders or review requests.
Once you’ve made your label, it’s time to create a filter! We’re going to use the filter to automatically send specific new posts that match certain criteria to that label.
Step #1: Create a Filter
Click on the cog on the top right of the window and select Settings. Then select the Filters tab, and at the bottom of the page click Create a new filter. Now you need to fill out your parameters.
Let’s say you created a Review Request label and want to automatically send requests to that label. If you use a contact form like on WordPress where you can control the subject line of that email, then it’s super easy. In the Subject area, you just put the subject of the contact form.
For example, if you use Gravity Forms as your contact form you can set it up so that you get emailed new form entries and set the subject line to “Review Request from [senders name]”. So you could set up the filter to apply to all emails that contain the subject “Review Request from”.
Or, if you want to label all of your correspondence with publishers, you could set up the “From” field with all the publisher email addresses. So your entry might look like this:
*@harpercollins.com | *@tor-forge.com | *@stmartins.com | *@disney.com
(And you can add more)
So you’re basically saying: If the email comes from [something]@harpercollins.com OR [something]@tor-forge.com OR… etc. then do this….
Once you’ve filled out your parameters, click Create filter with this search. Now here’s where you can decide what you want to do with the filter. You can apply a label, have it skip the inbox, mark it as important, etc.
Once you’ve selected the action, click Create filter and you’re done!
Examples of label/filter uses for book bloggers
Here’s a list of possible ways you can use labels and filters to organize your blog-related emails:
- Filter all blog subscriptions.
- Filter all blog tour/blitz invitations.
- Filter all email notifications about new comments on your blog.
- Filter book review requests.
- Filter all blog correspondence (works best if you have a “contact me” form on your website and you can control the subject line).