Easy tips to make your emails more effective

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, March 28, 2012
We all use email so much that it can actually eat up all our free time. With our mobiles receiving emails and the Ipad too, you can’t seem to escape from them.

Over the years I have learnt many ways of improving my efficiency. I would like to share some useful tips with you, on how you can improve your emails.

Your email signature.


If you are constantly having to type the ending to all your emails, eg: Regards or Thanks – you can put that into your signature.

Make sure your signature is on all initial emails and that it includes all your relevant contact details. It can be really frustrating when you can’t find a persons phone number and you have loads of their emails.

Your Inbox


I have been to visit many clients who have shown me their Outlook with thousands of emails in the Inbox. That scares me. I have seen Outlook crash when there were simply too many emails in the Inbox. When Outlook crashes it can be very distressing!
It takes a few seconds to create folders and then you can organise your emails and keep your inbox clean. I try to leave only things I have pending in my inbox, when it builds up I find sometime to get things done and it all cleaned up again.

Writing emails


To me this is the area that is most important. Some people are extremely brief in their emails and in their SMS messages, others write whole books. I think a comfortable comprise is needed.
After you have said the usual pleasantries, get straight to the point, and make it extremely clear. Try and say everything you need so that the other person will definitely understand, rather than leave any guessing. Here is an example.

Client emails me, or even worse sends me an SMS:

Hi Julian,
My website isn’t working.
Please fix.


There are a few assumptions here:
1. I know which website he is referring to
2. That I know who he is
3. That I have all his contact details

The more effective way to right this email would be:

Hi Julian,

My website www.domain.com is not working. This page shows an error – www.domain.com/about.htm
Can you please fix this?

John Smith
ABC Limited
Tel: 2000000
Email: john@domain.com
Web: www.domain.com

When you write the email try to think of the questions that may arise from the message you are sending and answer them. 

Another typical example is in arranging meetings:

Hi Julian,
Can you meet up next week?

--
Yes, sure when is best for you?
--
Wednesday or Thursday
--
Ok Wednesday morning?
--
What time?
--
11am
--
Sorry can’t. How about 12?
--
Ok 12 it is. At my office or yours?
--
Mine is better.
--
Ok. Wednesday at 12 at your office.
--
Ok see you then.

That’s 11 messages which could have been done in 3. Lets see:

Hi Julian,
Can you meet up next week, I am free on Wednesday and Thursday morning, except for 11-11.30 on Wednesday. It would be best in my office as I have something to show you.

--
Sure, let’s make it Wednesday at 12 at your office. Ok?
--
Great. See you then.

Summary:


• Be specific
• Be clear
• Try not to leave questions open ended
• Explain what you need to in order to avoid unnecessary questions

These are just a few tips that can help you make your emailing quicker, easier and more effective. Let me know any tips that you use to improve your email efficiency, by commenting below.

How following up on leads will frustrate your competitors.

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Just before Christmas I realised how effective a long term nurture email newsletter can be.

Last year I purchased some really good photo calendars from Apple, using Iphoto. Whilst doing so I looked around at a few websites to compare pricing, I registered for an offer on a site called Photobox.

This began the continuous and automatic process of sending me regular emails with offers and discounts every 2 weeks. Whilst sometimes they were annoying, often they prompted me to take action, but as I had already bought these calendars and they last a whole year I really didn't need to buy anything else.

So Christmas came round again, I had been receiving these emails for almost a year without making a single purchase. What did I do?
I ordered the new set of calendars from Photobox, they were in mind, they had given me offers, they were my friends...

I also recommended them to some close friends, before even seeing how good they were at their job.

There are many photo printing companies out there, and probably a lot of them are better/cheaper than Photobox, but Photobox had built a relationship with me, and their brand now occupied a space in my mind.

They bothered to keep in touch with me even though I had never spent a penny. Photobox have overcome the number one marketing problem facing small businesses – Follow up.

In surveys of many small business owners and entrepreneurs it was evident that following up with warm leads was the biggest frustration.

The natural thing a business owner does is focus on the immediate sales (hot leads), normally putting aside the nurturing process and therefore allowing leads to go somewhere else.

80% of people who are looking to buy something will do so within the next 2 years.

This means that if someone visits your website or calls your business it is very likely that they buy your product/service, only it may take a lot longer than you would like. It is a difficult and time consuming job to continuously contact these warm leads for 2 years, and very few people can afford to do this manually.

That is where email marketing comes in. Photobox and many other companies have learned the secret powers of email marketing. By setting up well planned, useful emails that get sent automatically to these warm leads continuously and indefinitely you turn a complicated process into an incredibly simple and powerful solution.

Now if these automated emails are customized and sent to specific people (eg. Those who have expressed an interest in a specific product) then the power of these emails is multiplied.

I bought a calendar from Photobox and now I receive offers for related products, that are actually quite enticing. Every time I see one of these emails I am reminded of the power of Email marketing, and how frustrated some of Photobox’s competitors must be. They won my business and my recommendation without me even knowing if they were any good!

Now a question for you - is your business keeping contact with people continuously until they absolutely don't want to know anymore?

Do you have automated systems in place to keep contact and send offers to people that you have never actually met?

Is your website working as hard as it should be?

If not, you may be one of the many website owners that lose out to the competitor who is constantly building a relationship and confidence with their warm leads. Remember the prospect is actually a customer in disguise.

Some cool ideas to make your business cards stand out

Piranha Designs - Monday, July 25, 2011

Whilst at university our tutors always spoke about doing things differently. Especially when entering a crowded market, you really need to stand out.

A business card can either be a run-of-the-mill throw away item or something rather original and memorable.

Often it is just a simple idea that really makes a difference.

Here are a few articles which show some really great ideas:

http://mashable.com/2011/07/23/business-card-designs/

http://www.artfans.info/20-original-and-quirky-business-card-designs/

Websites need to be designed to sell.

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, April 13, 2011
When you start building your first website or redesigning your current one. It is very common to focus on the looks. Here are some common thoughts, I hear from my clients:

My logo needs to be big.
I want some strong colours.
I need loads of options so people can choose whatever they want.
I like some movement, maybe even an intro page.

Sometimes we can end up building a website that is very attractive, original and looks great to you, but is not much use to your customer. There is no clear message and no call to action.

We must remember that websites are there to sell (most of the time), we need to constantly put ourselves in the customers shoes. Thinking that a customer may not even know what we do, or may not be sure of what they want either.

We like to design sites that have high conversion rates, that turn visitors into leads. Convert people on your newsletter into real customers.

Here is an article which will help you understand the difference:

Your web design is killing your conversion rate.

How relationships can be built without ever having a coffee

Piranha Designs - Friday, February 18, 2011
The normal way to build relationships with prospects and clients is to go out and have a coffee, or if your lucky have lunch. This has always been the method of choice for most small business owners.

The trend is changing.

I want to tell a small story of how this is happening and how it can affect your business.

There are two web based businesses that I work closely with. I have never met any of their staff nor have I ever spoken to them on the phone. They are based in the USA and time differences and long flights mean that this is not really viable. But I have come to realise that it is not necessary either.

I found this company by just searching online for a software tool that I use. I visited their site, watched some videos, read the information and signed up for a newsletter with more tips on how to get the most out of the software. These regular tips included videos from their video blog, with personal guides on improving business methods. All this was free and actually incredibly useful and informative.

Over a period of time I became a customer and then began to receive even more information and more personal advice for free. Then I came across their facebook pages and got to see how they run the business and a little more of their real lives.

The strange thing is this, even though I have never met, spoken to, or even emailed the person in the videos I feel like I know him. I refer to him by his first name, I speak about him with other clients and friends. He has become a reliable reference and I like doing business with him.

There is a new type of coffee table and a new way of having lunch and it is a lot more informative, educational, useful and easier for you to manage. Its having a system do a lot of the work for you, it is the only way this person can 'have a coffee' with his 10,000 clients. It is the power of new media, the web and emails. Right now it is still at an early stage but soon this will become the norm.

Constant communication builds confidence

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, February 09, 2011
Just before Christmas I realised how effective a long term nurture email newsletter can be.

Last year I purchased some really good photo calendars from Apple, using Iphoto. Whilst doing so I looked around at a few websites to compare pricing, I registered for an offer on a site called Photobox.

This began the continuous and automatic process of sending me regular emails with offers and discounts every 2 weeks. Whilst sometimes they were annoying, often they prompted me to take action, but as I had already bought these calendars and they last a whole year I really didn't need to buy anything else.

So Christmas came round again, I had been receiving these emails for almost a year without making a single purchase. What did I do?
I ordered this set of calendars from Photobox, they were in mind, they had given me offers, they were my friends...

I also recommended them to some close friends, before even seeing how good they were at their job.

There are many photo printing companies out there, and probably a lot of them are better/cheaper than Photobox, but Photobox had built a relationship with me, and their brand now occupied a space in my mind.

Now a question to you - is your business keeping contact with people continuously until they absolutely don't want to know anymore?

Do you have automated systems in place to keep contact and send offers to people that you have never actually met?

Is your website working as hard as it should be?

If not, you may be one of the many sites that loses out to the one who is constantly building a relationship and building confidence.

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