The following is a guest post by ChopDawg.com, an award-winning app development company that has worked with over 180+ startups and companies from all around the globe, helping them bring their web apps, mobile apps, wearable apps and software ideas to life.
Follow ChopDawg.com on Twitter at @ChopDawgStudios.
The article referenced above was written back in October of 2006.
That is more than 10 years ago.
How much worse do you think email is today? How much spam do you receive? How much do people over-utilize email, when a message on Slack, a text message, or hell, a quick phone call could have sufficed? How many people expect an immediate response to an email? How many of you, our readers, are supposed to answer emails well after business hours?
Email has always been, for most people, the bane of our existences.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
It is possible to not only enjoy email but to receive positive receptions back from the messages that you’re sending too.
So let’s focus on that for this blog article.
What makes a great email great? What will increase the conversion of the messages that you’re sending in 2017; to reach your desired outcomes?
It could be increased revenue in your business. More responses back to the messages you’re sending. It could be to cut back on the back-and-forth.
Let’s try a few of these techniques and take back email, making it more tolerable, more manageable, and hell, something that is truly working for us, not against us.
1) Begin scheduling your emails to cut back on the back-and-forth
One of the greatest tools I discovered back in 2016 with an application called MixMax. For a few dollars every month, I can track when an email I sent has been opened, clicked, replied, or even if the attachment that I sent was downloaded.
When it comes to marketing and organization, this is indeed, a game changer.
However, with all of that utility, I still have a particular feature that I am most fond of, use the most, and have weaponized to work for me.
With a tool such as MixMax (and keep in mind, many apps now offer this functionality for you, just look around only), I can schedule my emails to be sent later.
This is a problem, and for many of you, you’re probably asking me why.
In the past, I have created unrealistic expectations for my clients, employees, and colleagues.
I’d receive an email, have a few minutes of free time, and send them a quick response back. In theory, I am productive, right? Fewer emails to deal with later. I had a moment to tackle.
In practicality, I am creating an appalling habit for myself, and worse, unrealistic expectations for everyone on the other end.
They now expect me to send quick responses back, always. If I do not, clearly, they are no longer important to me. Clearly, I am upset at them. Clearly, I am too busy for them. Even worse is that as the CEO, I now set the expectation that email should be responded to instantly which creates stress and becomes a distraction.
Of course, all of that isn’t true.
I just do not sit in front of my computer, twenty-four seven, answering emails. I have meetings with clients. Talks with team members. Sit-ins with potential customers. Interviews for podcasts. Oh, and this thing called personal time like the gym, to workout, oh and yes, even to occasionally sleep.
Quick responses back also enforce to the other party, email is a place to have a chat, a casual conversation. Topics such as how things have been, what’s new with you, etc.
Again, we are reinforcing bad habits, bad routines, and misaligned expectations.
This is where scheduling for MixMax has changed my life.
I can still be productive and respond back to emails quickly; but, I can schedule the email to be sent hours later, if not the following day (of course, this method is not recommended if something urgent is actually needed to be taken care of, but I will explain more about that below).
You see, this is an incredible asset to me, and now, you. You can still manage your inbox, but at the same time, you can have the other party realize that email has a specific purpose and not a place for constant back-and-forth or informal chats. We are busy people; we are entrepreneurs, managers, leaders. We need to maximize every moment we have.
Scheduling also allows time to review when sending critical, important emails.
Have you ever sent a message, and hours later, realized it came off too harsh or too insensitive? Perhaps noticed a typo you are appalled at yourself for not catching prior?
Scheduling gives you time to revisit before it is sent, to ensure you are sending the right message, in the right tone, context and copy as you expected when you originally wrote it.
Perhaps most valuable of all, you can strategically have emails arrive when you know the party you need to send it too, will most likely see it.
I send scheduling confirmations the day-of at 9:00 AM EST most mornings, right when usually, someone is catching up emails to begin their day. I will send a particular email to a potential customer when I know they usually are at their desk, checking emails at 3:30 PM EST.
The best part of this strategy?
I do not need to be at my desk all times of the day for email.
With scheduling, my email is working for me, not against me.
2) Write much more personal and targeted messages
Albert Einstein once famously claimed insanity is defined by how you can keep trying to do the same thing over and over again, somehow expecting a different result.
Email marketers are, therefore, the definition of insanity.
How many times have you received a message in 2016, apparently written as a one-size-fits-all solution, to cater to everyone they are blind-copying on that message?
How many emails did you immediately recognize as spam, bullshit, or clutter, and not even bother opening?
How many emails did you receive, just today, followed this description as precisely as this?
It’s not hard to stand out from an inbox, especially ones that are as cluttered, useless, and chaotic as they are today.
You just need to write authentic, quality messages.
Start by ensuring your email subject lines are something that would relate to the person on the other end, that he or she would care about. Perhaps that is an upcoming deal you’ve been working on. Maybe that is a new client you have signed. Could be about scheduling the appointment they have wanted.
What matters is that the subject gives them value, or tells them the value that they want is in your message. Make it personal. Make it for them.
Yes, that means taking a few minutes out of your day extra to write an email and making the subject count, but, those extra few minutes will translate to much more emails opened, read, and responded, which means to you, an entrepreneur, decision maker, leader in your computer, more return of investment, growth in revenue and impact.
Don’t be afraid to be as targeted as you can.
You should be writing to people who know who you are, and have relationships with you. Leverage these relationships by responding to what they want, based on what you have learned from having a relationship with them up to that point.
3) The more direct and straightforward your message is, the better
I try to spend less than 30 minutes a day in email.
I receive, on average, 100-200 messages a day.
You do the math; my attention isn’t being spent long per message.
I’m not even the busiest person I know.
I’ve met countless entrepreneurs, business leaders, top performers, who receive hundreds more than me today, and have even less time to respond back.
So, explain then, how in the world your novel of an email is going to be read? Odds are, it will be skimmed, if opened at all for more than five seconds.
If you want your emails to be read, responded, and acted upon, it requires you to write short, concise and straight-forward emails back.
When in doubt, respond back personally, but get right into the thick of things. You want within two sentences for your email to accomplish exactly what you’ve set out to do. If your email is more than a paragraph of text, odds are, you need to simplify or follow tip number five (which we will get into in a bit).
4) Don’t be afraid to bold, italicize and underline (in moderation and with purpose)
I love the WYSIWYG editors in email.
They’ve become my biggest asset when writing a message, especially when dealing with multiple people on a thread.
When I need my Chief of Staff to help schedule an appointment for me with a potential client, I’ll tag him in, bolding the one sentence requiring his attention to inform him to follow up with getting a meeting schedule.
It allows him to immediately see what requires his attention, without needing to read the entire email message (or worse, an entire email thread) to figure out what he needs to do.
When I need to communicate something clearly to a client in what is a whole paragraph, I’ll make sure it is underlined for them as the big take away.
If I need to stress the importance of an individual topic point or adjective, I will underline it.
Again, keep your messages short. That is the only way to win in an email. However, you can use your WYSIWYG editor to communicate between the lines.
Just a note, though, do not overdo it. My rule of thumb is only to do this to 1-2 things per email, and only when necessary. If you find your email looking like a flyer because of every other word having a different format, you’ve overdone it. When in question, do not use formatting. Only use it when it makes sense.
5) When it doubt, don’t send an email, drop a text or give a quick call instead
Remember on tip number four where I explained, if your email is longer than a paragraph, there is a better way to handle it?
Here it is.
If your email is lengthy, don’t write a response back. Get on a call.
Odds are, a five-minute phone call will save you novels of emails, and a ton of back-and-forth back.
If you can’t get on a call instantly, email or text the other party that you want to address their email, and want to set up a call to do so to be more productive.
No one will ever say no to being more productive nor more efficient.
A lot of people in 2017 seem to forget that other mediums of communication exist that isn’t email.
If it’s your own team, use Slack in real-time.
If it is a top customer, set up a call or webcam conversation.
If it is a close friend or colleague, a text message thread can suffice.
Email has its own narrative, its own purpose, its own toolkit. Don’t try to turn email into something that it is not, and I can promise you, email was not meant to write novels to each other.
6) Schedule on your calendar times to handle/respond to your emails
I did mention above that I will tackle emails quickly when I have free time, but the bulk of my emails happen first thing in the morning or at the very end of the night.
I’ll tackle emails in two, 15-minute time intervals.
Other than that, no email for me. I am a busy person. I have clients that need my attention, team members needing my responses, opportunities that require me not to have my attention elsewhere.
Don’t become a slave to your email.
Make email work for you.
Now, here is the kicker we all make excuses to ourselves way too often: what if someone sends an urgent email requiring my immediate attention?
Here is the answer, that isn’t going to happen.
If it is an immediate thing requiring your attention, you will get a phone call, a text message. Somewhere that enforces for real-time, quick responses back.
Email isn’t real-time. It doesn’t mean you should wait weeks to respond back, but responding a few hours later, if not the following day, is not something that is rude, unacceptable or unprofessional. It’s the norm to expect with email. Again, a lot of people have begun having false expectations on how to leverage, use, and think about email. Let’s reset mindsets a little and remind everyone, what email is. A great source of communication when needed to be thought-out, first-time introductions, and convenience. Email, however, is not a real-time communication software. They do exist, but elsewhere.
7) Are you emotional? Your email can wait
Seems simple enough, but we are guilty of this. How many times did you receive an email that frustrated you, and you wrote a response out of emotion, realizing in hindsight, not a great idea?
As I mentioned, it happens to the best of us.
Instead, when you’re worked up and type that email, do not hit send.
Save it as a draft, or schedule it for the next day so you can revisit it before sending.
Be smart and use your emotional intelligence by reminding yourself, you’re not in the right state of mind currently.
Again, we have lost perspective that email is not a real-time engine. It’s a methodical and pragmatic tool for communication.
You have all the time on your side.
Email is such a great asset, and too many people look poorly upon it. If you turn email into the convenience tool it was meant to be, and leverage your messages on it in a way to maximize efficiency, you will turn email into your best friend this year.
Following these few tips above, you’ll find that your email will have become tolerable, an asset, where you see more results and conversions, less junk, less back-and-forth, less time wasted. Email isn’t going anywhere, especially anytime soon; so learn to love it by leveraging it the right way, and you’ll be thanking us for years and years to come.
If you have any follow-up tips to how to best manage emails in 2017, please share them in the comment section below for our readers to learn from different perspectives and opinions.
The post 7 Ways I Have Managed My Emails More Efficiently and Effectively appeared first on Startup Digest Blog.
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