This article was written by Michelle Weger.
Adding automation to your business can be easy.
I know that automation can sound scary.
It can sound complicated.
But it doesn’t have to be.There is plenty of simple automation that can make your life easier. In fact, you have probably heard of all of these types of automations before – but it is how you use them that counts.
Email Auto-Responders – Not Just For Vacation!
Everyone has received an out-of-office email before.
You’ve probably even used one.
Whether you’ve sent or received automated out-of-office messages, they’re all pretty similar:
Thanks for emailing! I am out of office from This Day to This Day and will have limited/no/occasional access to email. I’ll return all messages starting on The Day After My Vacation When I Won’t Feel Like Responding To The Thousand Other Messages I Have At The Same Time.
There’s no denying that it’s an automated message. It’s impersonal and, while mostly informative, doesn’t really tell the person trying to reach you anything helpful.
Auto-responders can do so much more than this.
For example, if you have a linked email address on your ‘Contact Us’ page, what happens when someone clicks the link?
You can set up an auto-responder message specifically for people who contact you through your website, so they are re-assured that their email didn’t disappear into the inbox void.
“Hi, First Name! We appreciate you reaching out! I wanted to let you know that your email was not lost in the void, and someone from our team will contact you within 48 hours.”
Right away you’ve established a rapport – and you didn’t even have to do anything!
But remember one very important thing:
Automation is only as good as the humans behind it.
That means if your auto-responder says they can expect a reply within 48 hours, you need to reply to the email within 48 hours.
Use Your Appointment Reminders Effectively
If you use an online booking system to allow clients to book a time that works for them (and saves you all the back and forth!), you probably have the option to send a reminder email before their appointment.
But if all that email says is the date and time of their appointment, you’re wasting an opportunity.
Will they need a Zoom link?
If the meeting is in person, where?
Is there parking?
Should the person you’re meeting with bring anything or have any information prepared?
Are there any anxieties you can alleviate for them?
Customize the automated email reminder to include other helpful information, too.
By being pro-active and managing their expectations before they even have to ask, you’re setting yourself up to look even more impressive.
Stop Copying-and-Pasting Your Emails
When you’re an expert in your industry, you get the same questions over and over again.
It’s to be expected. People are coming to you because you have the knowledge, skills, and expertise they don’t have.
It also means that they have a lot of the same questions.
You may already have email templates saved somewhere that you can copy and paste to your most commonly asked questions. Some people save them as drafts in their email folder or have special documents with canned responses. This means you don’t have to type up the same answer every single time you’re asked the same question.
Email templates are a great timesaver, but what if you could take it even further?
If you use Google Suite (Gmail), you can.
Gmail has a feature that is called “Templates” and was previously called “Canned Responses.” This allows you to create a draft email and save it as a template. Then, with the click of a button, you can insert that template into any new email or reply.
Copying and pasting your emails is fast.
Clicking a button and having the information inserted for you is faster.
To set this up, here’s all you have to do:
- Click the gear icon in the top right corner of your screen
- Select “See all settings”
- Click the “Advanced” tab
- Scroll down to “Templates” and select “Enable.”
Once you’ve done that, creating the template itself is easy:
- Click “Compose” and write whatever you want your email to say
- On the bottom right corner of the message, click the three vertical dots, select “Templates,” and select “Save Draft As Template”
- Give your template a clear, informative name
Now when you want to use the template, whether it’s in a new email or as a reply, click those same three vertical dots and select your template from the “Insert Templates” menu. Now you don’t have to go to your drafts folder, saved documents, or search through your sent messages for the last time you answered the question.
Automation doesn’t have to mean complicated custom workflows. It can also mean leveraging simple solutions using software you already know and use regularly.
Need help implementing automation that actually works for you? Book an appointment.
(and yes, that’s automated!)