Turning your emails from a chore into an opportunity

Did you know that it’s been nearly 50 years since the invention of email? Over that time, they’ve gone from being a world-changing innovation to a common part of our everyday lives.

However, despite its age, very few people are actually using this humble tool to its full potential. Instead of seeing email as an annoying chore full of spam and unwanted adverts, by upping your email game, you can not only streamline your work but can be more productive and professional at the same time.

Following on from our previous few blogs which looked how tradespeople can make the most of different digital skills and trends, we’ve put this post together to explore how to capitalise on your emails.

Clean up your act
If you want your digital communications to be seen as slick and impressive, then there are a few basic rules to adhere to.

Firstly, have a professional and memorable email address and avoid using personal accounts or ones with gimmicky names. While you’re unlikely to get your name or even your business as a standalone email from Google or Microsoft, it’s actually very easy to create a personalised address. By creating your own domain through a domain registration service, you can avoid having to use @gmail.com or @outlookcom and can instead have your own name at your own business.

Once you’ve got this set up then it’s best to create a standard signature that can go at the bottom of every email to make sure that your key details and branding are always included.

Stay alert
If you have a Google email account then you can make use of the Google Alerts service, which sends automatic updates to your inbox on anything that you want to keep abreast of, saving you the time you’d otherwise have to spend trawling the internet yourself. For example, you could create alerts based around a brand to find out when they’re launching new products or announcing deals; you could set up an alert for major clients and competitors to find out what they’re up to; or you could use it to learn about general industry news and events. To make it work for you, these alerts can be forwarded to a specific address and set to arrive instantly, daily or weekly.

Keeping in touch
While we all might despair at the amount of email marketing we get, there’s one good reason why there’s so much of it – it works. If you’re not using email as part of your marketing activity then it’s ideal for both getting in touch with prospective new clients, as well as keeping your name in front of previous clients.

You could manage this from your own inbox or there are specialist online platforms, such as Mailchimp, if you’re looking to take your email marketing to the next level. A platform like Mailchimp not only does a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to designing special emails like newsletters, deals or announcements, but it will also allow you to store your contacts in different lists. Segregating your contacts allows you to tailor your messages to new customers, old customers, customers in specific regions, customers who’d be interested in certain products, or however you want to divide them up.

Be a quick responder
When you’re busy working on a project, the last thing you’ll want to do is keep checking your inbox for new emails, however clients will often prefer working with a tradesperson that replies promptly – so how can you ensure swift communications without interrupting the flow of your work?

Setting up an auto-response will help to achieve this, as you can set up a generic email to go out to anyone that gets in touch at a time you know you’re going to be busy. We’d suggest sticking to something simple and professional like: “Thanks for your enquiry. I’m currently not able to check my emails but will respond as soon as I am able”.

If you’d prefer your responses to be more targeted and personal then one way to speed this up is to use Google’s Smart Reply and Smart Compose options. These are found in the settings section, and while they won’t send an automatic reply it will turn on Google’s ability to remember the sort of language you use for certain people and give you predicted options which you can simply click and send.

We hope this has given you an insight into how you can make your emails smarter and more targeted. Once you’ve got to grips with the above basic steps then you’ll soon discover how quickly you can streamline this unavoidable part of today’s business admin as well as improve your marketing efforts, and then simply sit back and reap the rewards (or get on with all the actual work of fitting floors!)