email productivity hack
Today I'm going to share with you what might be my favorite tool for systematizing workflow. And the great news is -- it's completely free!

How many of you, as you are writing an email, experience deja vu because you've written the same basic email before, and all the while you know you're going to most likely write it again? We're all guilty of it. At numerous points in the client experience, we need to communicate the same set of information to each client right? When an inquiry comes in and we are available, we need to send out a few questions and our pricing and package info. When we finish an album design for a client, we need to send them a link to the proof, but we also need to remember to include instructions for how to communicate revisions. And the list goes on.

Enter email templates. Email templates are a must for systematizing workflow. They help save time and they also help to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. We need to remember to communicate certain things at different points in the client experience, and if we write each email from scratch, we are bound to forget important bits of information here and there, and each client is likely to have a very different experience and level of customer service.

There are various ways to use email templates. Some studio management software like ShootQ includes email templates in their online interface. And there's always the old-fashioned copy-and-paste method using Word or TextEdit. But the quickest, most brilliant, and least expensive way to implement email templates, is built right into your email program.

How many of you have a signature that you drop in to the end of your emails with your name, business name, link to your website, and contact info? Most everyone -- that's what the signature field is for. But your signature drop-down menu can be used for so much more. I use mine for my 70+ email templates.
Mac mail email productivity hack
I've created my email templates over time. Each time I am writing an email that I know I am likely going to write again, I copy and paste the body of the email into a new email signature (located under "Preferences" in my Mac Mail program) and give it an appropriate name. It doesn't matter that I've used a specific client's name or a specific link that won't be relevant next time I write the same basic email...when that time comes, I use the signature drop-down to insert the email template into the new email and then thoroughly read and customize it as needed.

Some of you who have never used email templates before might be concerned that using a template is not very personal. But that isn't necessarily true. The first time I write an email, I put a lot of thought into what I am saying and how I want to express it. So the email, though a copy from one I've written before, is no less heartfelt. Plus I always customize my emails after dropping in a template. So there's an opportunity to insert a more specific greeting or additional sentiments. But the great thing is that you can have confidence that the critical content that needs to be communicated is there. Plus you don't need to reinvent the wheel and use valuable brain-power to remember it all.

If you're interested in getting a jump-start on using email templates, I sell 14 of my most commonly used templates here. They're available to you, but I'm not going to be a very good sales person here, because I would encourage you to write your own. That way they will be in your voice and specific to how you run your business. Writing your own email templates doesn't need to be a big task on your to-do list. In fact, it doesn't need to be added to your to-do list at all. Just be disciplined to take the extra minute each time you write a new email that you know you will need to write again, to copy and paste it into a new signature. Over time, you'll have a long list of templates accessible by drop-down and you will be flying through your email replies and workflow in a fraction of the time that it takes you now.

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Emails taking forever? Try this genius hack to speed up your email workflow!
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