How to make email easier?
A huge overlooked tool most people are ignoring
Ok, we can talk about scheduling it, turning notifications off, and all the other tips and tricks that I’ll write articles about later of course, but here’s one idea I see people overlook ALL THE TIME! Using email draft templates.
How many emails do you send out with a common theme, content or reply? Here’s what I mean, if you own a business or work for a business you probably have customers (or I hope you do). How many times do you send the same information at some point in an engagement with others? Whether it’s your business card and introduction, or details around a quote or proposal, or whatever? I’m betting money that you have a pattern of repeating yourself far more than you realize? Now, how much time is that taking up over 52 weeks? How much time does it take to dig up that information, transcribe it, and send it over and over and over again? Below I will share with you a tip on how to discover your repeated emailing themes and quickly turn it around.
As a peak performance coach, I have 183 emails that I send out on a regular basis. Yes, 183 draft emails that are broken down into four separate bins.
- Administrative – These consist of things like welcome to coaching and all the things you need to know to make the most out of your sessions. Other items are administrative request like a client hold request to my assistant when a client is taking an extended sabbatical in order to travel around the world. Or a quick reminder that they need to complete their coaching pre-call form so that we know what they would like for an outcome on the upcoming session. Take a look at your month and identify where you can save time and hassle by using a draft template moving forward.
- Events – Yes, I have key content and events that I can use a template for. Being able to put this into a process that is repeatable not only saves me time but it ensures reliability in performances and clients really like to know you have a form they can locate information each time. I even have a draft event email for when I travel so people know when I’m gone, what to expect during that time, and how to reach me or my assistant. What a novel idea!
- Products/Services – If you have something you offer, whether that is a service, material product, or whatever qualifies for you, my guess is that you send this information a lot. If not, perhaps that another issue for a later discussion. This is probably your bread and butter for revenue. Why risk missing a key piece of information? How many times have you been tired, frustrated, rushed, whatever, and felt like just doing the bare minimum as you constructed an email? Did you just waste your time altogether because you sent a non-compelling invite for someone to become a new raving fan? Someone reading right about now is going to say “Oh, my clients each and every one is unique… blah, blah, blah” and yes, each client is unique but your message, secret formula, special blend, etc. is not. There is a core theme you have or it’s likely why your business isn’t thriving. Spend the time to identify your key concepts and leverage it while saving yourself time and energy.
- Tools – Everyone has some level of a toolbox of knowledge, intelligence, or skillset that they pull from over time. The longer you live, the deeper and more tools you collect for your personal mental toolbox. Whether this is how you serve a client or internally keys to your success in running a team meeting. Why not take the time to pull those little gems out of your head and make them a hot commodity for increasing the value you bring to the table? This is where the bulk of my templates reside. If a client is looking for help on email success, I will go through the process they need to master and simply follow up the session with an email containing those key concepts so they can fill in the blanks to the copious notes they were taking during the time together. I want to insure they make an impact on the opportunity they are about to embark upon. Why would I risk missing a key piece of information or the amount of time necessary to write that repeated message?
So, how do you get started? Here are a few suggestions to turn this into success quickly. How many times do you find yourself doing a search for a previous email you sent to someone else? Do a search for previous emails you have sent and use that framework to create a template that you save in your drafts folder. This will not only save you time from searching later, but also ensure that you didn’t forget to delete a sensitive piece of information meant for that previous recipient. Stop wasting the time searching and simply copy the information, paste it into a new draft template and save it for repeated later use. You know you are doing it, so stop the madness!
Second, use highlighting and italics for those areas that need to be unique to each email. This way you ensure you didn’t miss an item that needs to be made unique before you send it out and make your special clients feel cheap because you didn’t take the time to ensure the email was accurate and complete. Some key items to consider:
- Clients name
- URL links
- Subject line tweaks
- How they should follow up or reply
- Who should be carbon copied (cc’d)
Save your drafts into subfolders within your email application. I have four bins which I shared above. If you can’t do this, you probably want to consider another application because just about all of them can do this today. Save yourself the time of having to scroll through your collection. You wouldn’t take your monthly phone, electric, mortgage, heat, and grocery bills and stuff them all into one drawer without each having a folder, why would you do that to your email templates?
Finally, use the subject lines. Make it easy to spot the template you want. As an example, I have four templates for when a client begins working with me. Whether I spoke with them already on the phone, left them a voicemail, or am traveling and can’t reach out to them right away, I want to ensure they know how valued they are. The content is very much the same, but there are key pieces that are different. Each subject line would be unique to save me time:
- Introduction from Coach (spoke on phone)
- Introduction from Coach (left VME)
- Introduction Welcome to Coaching – Connecting Shortly
The message in each is just slightly different and this saves me a ton of time. Change the subject line of course by removing the words that might offend a client or are used just for your purposes of understanding the point of that template. For example, if a client goes missing in action (MIA) I would not use that language in the subject line or body of the message as it may offend someone unintentionally.
Be smart and begin small. Using this little known strategy will lead to your success and will begin saving you a ton of time that really adds up to raving fans and discretionary time.You will ensure you are making the impact you really intended.
For information on HOW to send a more effective email, look for my article Email Etiquette 101.