Emailing is an imperative of work. You’ll be shocked if you estimate how much time you’ll spend emailing and distracted by your email via this calculator here – needless to say, the numbers are astronomical. How do you get more bang for your buck and spend your time more effectively when emailing? Here are 10 lessons I’ve learned from the field.
10 Tried & True Email Commandments
#1. Use Streak.
If you are using Boomerang, Inbox, or any other of the 13,000 email apps that try to make your email smarter, faster, wiser, and more effectively – stop right now. Unless it’s the Streak app. Though I’ve tried all of these and have found Streak is the superior app of all, at the end of the day, the #1 productivity rule of thumb is use what works for you. So do it. Don’t have an app yet and don’t like Streak? Here are the features you are looking for. (sidenote: If you are a new user of Streak, the onboarding from first use to comfort is a steep one. I didn’t like it at all at first. That said, putting in time and patience paid off in a BIG way for me).
5 Features You Want In An Email Companion App:
- Massive Customized Mail Merges. The magic ability to email up to 1,500 contacts a customized email automatically. You can import directly from a CSV research document given you have the emails and whatever information you want to customize (i.e. first name, company, etc.).
- Pipeline Management & Analytics. You can manage pipelines of sales, editorial, CRMs, and beyond via pipelines. Not only this, but you can generate custom reports to get insights into how fast (or slow) you can move a customer from prospect to close. Not to mention, the CRM extends beyond mere Google Sheet function with multidimensional options such as drop downs, tags, contact/organization syndication, and “Magic Columns” that show last email date, sender, and beyond.
- Template Creation & Storage. Streak snippets are an ultimate favorite of mine. I have about 100 lined up and accessible in Composing a new email via a hashtag. For example, #intro automatically generates a custom email to my contact introducing him/her to a new person. I save so much time typing “#intro” compared to typing this email over and over again.
- Team Task Management, Document Storage, & Note Keeping. Streak has evolved to enable super easy team task management and information storage. You can assign a task to yourself or a team member with a due date as well as store key documents, notes from calls, notes from meetings, and any other information linked directly to the person or company’s profile. I love this.
- Collaborative Ability With Google Documents. Most likely (and hopefully), your team is working out of research documents and in general out of Google docs. Streak enables teams to import / export to Google Docs as well as connect with Google apps to increase workflow. Need I go on?
#2. Design Your Emails.
Take a few minutes to put pride into each email you write. The magic is in the details if you take the few extra seconds to use them. From my experience, sales emails, cold outreach emails, and event invitations have a massively greater chance of success when you highlight what you want the reader to do.
4 “Dos” of Email Design:
- Always bullet a list of items.
- Create generous whitespace.
- Bold, italicize, underline or use a color that pops to emphasize a call to action …Better yet, do all three.
- For more “do’s” of email design, read here.
From my experience, nearly every single email you send will have a massively greater chance of success when you use to design to highlight what you want the reader to do.
#3. Use Keyboard Shortcuts.
Using keyboard shortcuts (especially while emailing) saves you 8 work days every year.Learn them fast by using the free Key Rocket for Gmail Chrome extension (especially most used ones like Reply, Linking, Archiving and beyond).
#4. Use Grammarly.
Avoid ridiculously easy spelling mistakes, sentence structures, and writing that undermines your credibility and professionalism. Grammarly is free – or upgrade to Pro for creating personal dictionaries, more advanced writing support, and getting richer word choice suggestions.
#5. Set Up Your Email Signature.
- Save precious time by adding information you are currently manually typing and that would improve ease of communications via adding your email signature if you haven’t yet. Do so under Gmail settings in the top right-hand corner of your Gmail.
- One of my favorite and easiest marketing techniques to leverage the thousands of emails you write to increase social media following, website traffic, or specific “calls to action” is adding it in your signature.
3 Things To Add To Your Email Signature:
- Improve your contacts access to your information by adding a phone number, your title, company website, Skype address & email.
- Increase your network by including links to your LinkedIn, Twitter, blog, personal portfolio, or even Instagram and Facebook.
- Add a personal touch “call-to-action” such as Follow my company X on Instagram @” or a quote that epitomizes your company’s work or a link to that Kickstarter campaign you just launched.
[tweetthis]Be Authentic > Corporate. Always.[/tweetthis]
#6. Use Your REAL Voice
Be Authentic > Corporate. Always and Forever. I give my 3 years at Unreasonable and working side by side with the CEO, Daniel Epstein, credit for my email expertise and enthusiasm considering I sent tens of thousands of emails on behalf of the company, myself, and our CEO. Before that, emailing for me was ridden with anxiety – trying to ensure I was professional enough and corporate enough and delicate enough with high stakeholders. It wasn’t until Daniel empowered me with his emailing tips and tricks (design included) in how he made “an ask” to how he used strategic cuss words to powerful subject lines to p.s.’es and human greetings and colloquial language that I became much more comfortable with owning my voice over email and realizing that this is a competitive advantage that makes you stand out in a crowd.
#7. Template Emails You Send Most
Streak snippets are my absolute favorite. Streak Snippets a.k.a. customized email templates. Reference #intro for another example in this post.
4 Tips on Emails You Should Template:
- Obviously, the ones you write the most which may vary for your profession.
- Introduction templates connecting 2 new people.
- 1st Ask “Cold” Outreach – whether sales, job applications, partnerships or beyond, this email is imperative.
- Read 7 Emails You Need To Know How To Write by Teju Ravilochan (my favorite email post of all time) for more.
Streak snippets are my absolute favorite.
#8 Leverage Tech For Reminders
Whatever app you love to use as your email companion, make sure to set reminders to follow up in 48 hours if someone doesn’t respond, to send an email in the “future” for that monthly reoccurring team reminder email the last Thursday of every month, or whatever you need to do to not forget to follow up and follow through on your deliverables. Reminders include Send Later, “Snooze” or resend to my inbox later, and Remind if no reply are just a few of the options of reminders. In Streak, you can also do this for tasks for yourself or other teammates. The more you can automate (keeping as human as possible) the better for your work output, work efficiency & efficacy.
The more you can automate (keeping as human as possible) the better for your work output, work efficiency & efficacy.
#9. Inbox 0. All day, every day.
The 4 Imperatives of Inbox 0 Magic:
- Inbox 0. Start your day and end your day with getting your inbox to 0. Inbox 0 means having no unresponded emails in your box. You can experiment with apps like these to help you get there faster. Personally, I go the old fashion way. Crank through Gmail from newest to oldest and don’t “Mark As Read” until they are replied. If you need to get more information from someone else before you can reply, schedule it in Streak so you don’t forget. Don’t rely on your memory while going through your inbox.
- Respond in 48 hours. Period. The end.
- Remove Bottlenecks. The first priority in your email is to remove bottlenecks. Get rid of red tape that’s holding back your team’s execution and progress – both the ones that you are responsible for and identifying the ones that will hold you back from getting your work done. The sooner you can identify these and be proactive about removing them, the better you’ll be off, the more you’ll get done, and the more your leadership team will recognize your badass effort.This also coincides with identifying which projects will take longer than others and create manageable and accurate project management timelines (this is a skill I will ever be developing and improving as an eternal time optimist).
- Respond to Unread & Important 1st. Leverage the power of Stars, Flags, and Tags in Gmail to organize as you see fit. Personally, I haven’t used these but I have had colleagues who make beautiful and effective organized systems in their inboxes that I envy.
[tweetthis]Respond to emails in 48 hours. Period. The end.[/tweetthis]
#10. Remove Bottlenecks and Massive Email Recipients.
4 Tricks of the Trade To Increase Email Efficacy:
- Become a GYSHIDO San. Implement these practices and habits to your emailing routine.
- BCC everyone > Reply All. Decrease organizational chaos and optimize team/group dynamics by opting for BCC’ing mass emails over CC’ing (if you are unsure of the difference, read this). This disables recipients to “Reply All” and increase your contact’s number of emails in their inbox (as well as increase their frustrations)
- Google Docs > Attachments. Decrease file size and disorganized editing by using Google Documents / Sheets for collaborative work and working drafts.
- Links are your friend. Anytime you can link out to a resource as opposed to embedding it into the email will increase the flow and readability of your email.
[tweetthis]Burning Question // What email tips, tricks, apps, and lessons have you learned?[/tweetthis]
Please share in the comments below or on social media.