What could your office staff do with 1 extra hour at work each day? Follow up with more potential and existing patients or customers? Spend more time cross-selling and up-selling? Organize and plan the coming quarter? Develop and lead the team? By becoming more efficient with daily e-mail management and communications, your team can shave off several minutes here and there, equating to several hours each week. It starts with avoiding these common email marketing pitfalls:
Hoarding E-mails: Don’t Be Afraid to Delete
We’ve all been there: you check your email, respond to those that seem important, and then click over to a new browser to follow up on the rest of your day. You’ve already taken care of the necessary items, so what’s the problem if some of these e-mails continue to sit in your inbox?
Here’s the issue: by letting your inbox pile up… and up… and up, it becomes a virtual “junk drawer.” By keeping every e-mail, something inevitably gets missed, and that’s when we accidentally drop the ball on important action items.
The solution is an easy one, but it requires a little discipline. After reading each e-mail (and responding if necessary), take a moment to do one of the following:
- Delete the e-mail. Don’t worry – you can still search for an e-mail in your deleted folder should you need it again if you are using Outlook (you should use Outlook!!!).
- Forward the e-mail to the appropriate person… and then delete it.
- File the e-mail in a folder to access later. If the e-mail contains valuable info that you might need at some point, like a contract, organize it into a labeled sub-folder for peace of mind.
If you follow the steps above, your e-mail inbox should be empty by the end of each day.
Starting from the Bottom: Do the Opposite!
You might be tempted to start with the oldest e-mails first and work your way up – it’s a common intuition – but instead, work from the top down – in other words, the most recently received email first. The order in which you check your e-mails can make all the difference when it comes to efficiency and impressing your clients.
Older e-mails have already waited hours or days for a reply. Someone who sends you an e-mail at 4pm on a Friday won’t notice if you reply at 8am or 10am on Monday. However, that person who sends you an e-mail at 8am on Monday is going to be totally WOWed by your immediate response 5 minutes later. You want your practice to be known for its responsiveness, and e-mail plays a big part in that.
Plus, checking e-mail from newest-to-oldest is the best way to implement your new organization and “pro-delete” strategy (see “hoarding e-mails” section above).
Getting Stuck in an Email Repetition Trap: Don’t Write the Same Thing Twice
Nothing eats up your time like writing the same response to patients or vendors repeatedly. Creating pre-written responses for repetitive types of e-mails sent regularly is the answer. Responding to a new consultation inquiry? Sending post-treatment instructions? Reordering supplies? Confirming appointments? Sharing info about an upcoming event? Create a template for that. The best part about having prewritten messages is that the layout is there, and the question is answered, but you can still edit the words to make it more personal or precise. This frees you up to spend time on more important things. Pro Tip: Outlook can store all of these in “Signatures” for a one-click solution.
Good email management is one of the most important building blocks when it comes to an effective work atmosphere. It’s not too late to get some guidance on efficient management and leadership practices. Click here to start a conversation, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 305-455-0720 to start a conversation with our YellowTelescope team.