When I speak with Party Pros about their relationship with email, it’s clear they have a love/hate with email.
I usually here one of two answers…
- “Everyone gets a response, I’m on my email day and night so that I respond to every single request within seconds so that they don’t move on to another company that will respond right away.”
- “I can’t take it anymore, I’m drowning in emails. Every time I go back to my inbox thinking I have it under control I’m bombarded by another 200 emails, help!!!!”
Obviously, neither of these are good situations to be in.
You can take control of your email inbox without losing out on potential sales!
For starters though, we’ll have to put aside the conversation about strong branding and the importance of delivering something unique so people don’t just lump you in with “all the other companies”. We’ll save that one for another day (soon!)
Here are 5 email efficiency tips to help you take control of your email so that you don’t feel like you are a slave to your inbox anymore!
1. HANDLE IT ONCE
If your visits to your email inbox look like this….
- Check email
- Read all of your messages
- While reading, decide you don’t have time to address the emails
- Mark emails as unread and plan to come back later
…then this is the first bad habit you need to break.
Doing it this way makes you spend almost twice as much time in your inbox than you should be.
Simple rule of thumb… Before you check your email, ask yourself: “Do I have time to craft a response that will take me 10 minutes to write if necessary?”
If “yes”, go ahead and check your email.
If “no”, save it for later.
2. USE FOLDERS / TAGS
Have you ever had an email that you planned on dealing with slip through the cracks? Then read on and it’ll never happen to you again.
When you are handling your email, you don’t have to respond to every single email there and then. But… you do need to file it away properly so that it never gets lost in the shuffle.
I use tags to keep my emails organized (though folders would work too if that’s what your email system uses).
Here’s my process:
- Read email
- If I can respond in 2 minutes or less, I respond
- If the email will require more work or thought it gets tagged with one of the following tags
- To do = emails I plan to address this week
- Follow up = emails I don’t have to take action on, but someone else does
- Soon = emails I’m committing to addressing soon, but not this week
- Later = emails I’m committing to addressing at some point, but not this month
- Maybe = emails I have to come back to, to reconsider / reevaluate
I check my “To do” emails list every day.
I check my “Follow up” emails weekly
I check my “Soon” emails weekly
I check my “Later” emails monthly
I check my “Maybe” emails quarterly
3. SCHEDULE EMAIL TIME
You shouldn’t keep your email open all day and respond as messages come in. It is incredibly inefficient, not just for your emails, but also for all the other important work you have to get done that’s getting constantly interrupted.
I suggest a max of three 30-min email blocks per day (or less if you can manage it).
“But my clients need to hear from me as soon as they make a request or I’ll lose their business.”
- You need to do more to stand out so that YOU are the one they want the most
- You should be using automation to send out instant replies so that they know you on it
- You may need to put more/better info on your website so that they aren’t reaching out with silly questions, but rather they are connecting because they are ready to book YOU.
4. USE STANDARDIZED TEMPLATES
For any emails you send with any regularity, you should be created Standard Templates you can use over and over again so that sending those emails takes seconds instead of minutes.
5. USE THE RIGHT TOOLS!
Watch the video attached to this post. In that video you’ll see me send a highly personalized email with all of their event details out to all clients with an event this coming weekend, that have confirmed. And, I can do it in LESS THAN 30 SECONDS. Can you??
Because I use the right tools, I can do the same for anyone that hasn’t paid their deposit (yup, less than 30 seconds). Or anyone that has missing information for their booking (again, less than 30 seconds). etc etc
Now, in the video (at about the 6:17 mark) you’ll see I’m using Party Pro Manager because it was built for our industry, but you can probably hack other systems to work for you too. (may not be less than 30 seconds for those, but still better than doing it all manually!)