This article was written by Taylor Holmes.
For most business owners, answering emails is a process that results in copious amounts of frustration.
It doesn’t have to be.
Developing a set of email templates is a great way to reduce time spent responding to emails.
What is an Email Template?
It is a generalized response to a common email query that can be modified as needed. Many business owners have an automatically generated email response to client inquiries that tells them when they can expect to hear back. For example: “Thanks for reaching out! We will be sure to get back to you in 2 business days.” But email templates can be used for more than just auto-responses.
Why Do You Need Email Templates?
Whatever your business niche is, you likely receive a slew of similar emails from people: asking for information about your product/service, wanting to buy your product/service, giving you an opinion without a clear direction, asking for advice, proposing a project… etc, etc. ad nauseam.
A well written email template can save you from having to craft a unique email for every inquiry. Using a template also ensures a consistent customer experience
How to Write an Email Template
- Spend two weeks tracking your emails. Create a spreadsheet that categorizes emails into logical categories depending on your business type. For example, a website designer might get inquiries about the price of a basic website, the price of a totally custom website, the length of time it takes to complete a website, and proposals to complete websites for the clients of other businesses. Then track how many emails of each type you get over that two week period.
- Choose 3 categories: these are likely the categories you receive the most volume of email for.
- Write a generic email that answers most of the questions in each category and highlight the sections that need to be changed to reflect the individual email. For example, the person’s name.
- Save them in your draft folder. Copy/paste as needed!
At | venture creative collective | we use several email templates to respond to specific service requests: websites, process and marketing automation, copywriting, branding, and a general service overview. The templates all start by thanking the potential client for reaching out, explaining what the service is, how much it is, and what we would need from the client to proceed. We always end our emails by encouraging clients to ask further questions or set up a meeting.
If templates are written well, clients shouldn’t be aware they are receiving a “canned response”!
Some Short Examples
Someone in your industry asking for advice:
Hi [name], I appreciate you reaching out! I am quite busy with work at the moment, but I’d love to offer my assistance over email. What is the number one question I could answer for you that would provide you the most value? Cheers, [your name]
Saying no to a project or proposal because it isn’t part of what you offer:
Hi [name], Thanks for your email! This sounds like a great project, but – unless I’m misunderstanding your instructions- it isn’t something that falls within my skill-set. This could be a great project for [colleague, other business]: shall I put you in contact with them? Cheers, [your name]
Saying no to a project or proposal because you’re too busy:
Hi [name], Thank you for considering me for this project! As much as I would love to take this on, I have a completely full plate at the moment. If the project can wait [length of time until you are less busy], I would be glad to discuss this with you then. If the project is time-sensitive, [colleague in your industry] might be able to tackle it now. Thanks, [your name]