Wish you could spend less time in your business replying to your never-ending emails, but still have every person who reaches out feel supported and heard by you and your team?
What if there was a super simple way to save both your precious time in replying to all of those emails AND save your contacts time in receiving a welcome, valuable response?
Yep. We’re talking auto-responders this week, but not the annoying ones you hate that clog up your inbox without actually telling you anything. Trust me. This simple business hack is different and it’s going to blow you away!
In fact, did you know that we have gotten more compliments on our company’s auto-responder than almost anything in our business? It’s true and this week, I’m teaching you how!
BY THE TIME YOU FINISH LISTENING, YOU’LL WALK AWAY WITH:
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Courtney Elmer 0:11
What's up, welcome back it’s the Systems Made Simple™ podcast. This is Episode 79. I'm your host, Courtney Elmer, and we are back this week with our summer series of business systems — quick tips designed to help you streamline your business so you can spend more time in your zone of genius.
We kicked off this series back in Episode 77 with how to reclaim time on your calendar by first figuring out where specifically your time is going. Then in Episode 78, we talked about one of my all-time favorite tools, guaranteed to help you spend less time in your inbox.
In this episode, I'm going to share one more secret with you that will help you save even more time in your inbox by automating your email reply process. These quick tips are designed to give you immediate support in some of the areas of your business that you might be struggling to keep up with right now. But don't get it twisted, because getting the right systems in place is only half the battle. Quick fix tips won't solve the deeper issues in your business structure that are currently preventing you from experiencing that freedom that you started your business for in the first place. But don't worry, I'm here to help you with that.
In my own experience, I found that sometimes the quick fixes can help buy you more time, so that you can focus that time on fixing the more systemic issues. Think of it like this: a Band-Aid won't help you when what you really need is stitches, but it can slow the bleeding long enough to get you to a place where you can heal the wound. You follow me? Alright, so today's quick tip is going to take you all of 10 minutes to implement. It is super easy, but depending on the volume of emails that you get, it can save you upwards of an hour a day in response time. You ready?
It's a simple email autoresponder. You've seen these before: you send someone an email, only to be surprised to see an email back from them so quickly. But then just like the air out of a balloon, you might feel a bit deflated when you open that email and realize it's just their autoresponder confirming “Hey, got your message. Thanks for sending, we'll be back in touch soon.” The problem is, they're not using the autoresponder to its full advantage, so it becomes more of a nuisance than anything else. I mean, I remember back in the dial-up days, when the internet and email were relatively new. It was kind of nice to get a responder message like that, so you could know without a doubt your email made it to the right place. But now that email is right up there with sliced bread, it's become so second nature, that those once-helpful confirmation messages are now more of a bother than anything.
In fact, they can be downright intrusive sometimes, How dare you clog up my valuable inbox real estate with your annoying and somewhat redundant message letting me know my email made it to you? Delete!
Courtney Elmer 3:02
But what a pity, because if only people knew how to use the autoresponder feature to its full capacity, we'd all sleep better at night. So, if you’re in the camp who thinks that autoresponders are annoying, I don't blame you. You wouldn't want to do that to your contacts. Therefore you don't have one because you don’t want to annoy anyone — people get enough email as it is. You and I should probably take a look at what's going on there under the surface in a different conversation, but for today, all I want you to do is shift your perspective from autoresponders being annoying and entertain the possibility that autoresponders can be informative, entertaining even. It all depends on how well you master the art of the autoresponder.
Now for those of you who are like, Come on, Courtney, I know I want to save time in my inbox — just tell me what to do! Well, here is your action item for this week: Before the next episode airs on this podcast, so by next Tuesday, you’re going to go into your email settings and set up your autoresponder. Some applications call this a vacation responder — it’s the same thing.
If you're a longtime listener, chances are you've already emailed me out of curiosity to see what my autoresponder says because back in Episode 44, I invited you to do that. We were shocked to see just how many emails came through! You guys were really curious about that, weren't you? Way to take action on that, I loved it.
Before you write a word for your reply message, there are two things that you need to consider in terms of your intention behind the auto-reply (to make it not annoying). It needs to do two things: Number one, it needs to set expectations. Number two, it needs to act as an FAQ resource for your business. A Frequently Asked Questions resource.
In terms of setting expectations, this is to simply let your contact know when they can expect a reply from you. Said a different way, this is about having boundaries. If you're following the guide that I gave you last week in Episode 78 and replying to emails at certain set times of the day, then you can let your contacts know when they can expect a reply. If you want to see how we worded this and our own email autoresponder, then email us Hello -at- theeffortlesslife.co. You can see what our says.
In terms of setting it up to act as a FAQ resource for your business, this is a brilliant idea that I swiped from my good friend Kate Crocco. She was our guest back in Episode 15. Amazing episode, definitely make time to listen to that one because she shared some valuable pearls of wisdom. Her email responder was the first time that I saw the FAQ method applied. I thought, Wow, how genius is this? In her email reply, she points people to certain resources and answers frequently asked questions based on the types of emails that she receives most often.
Her auto-responder starts with a friendly salutation, then she has a few bullet points pointing people in certain directions, such as “...for those of you looking for partnerships and collaborations, please review this page and submit a form (and it's linked to that form). For those of you that are looking to pitch the podcast, we're not accepting new guests at this time. But instead, you can do this - connect with us in our community. For those of you looking to pick my brain, here is how you can do that. For those of you looking for support around these areas of your business, you can fill out an application here.”
What she is doing is she is answering questions for people in her auto reply message. What does this do? It saves her from having to sit there and email these links out, email by email every time a request comes through. This would save anyone on her team from having to do the same. The sky's the limit here, because in your auto reply, you can answer frequently asked questions and you can point people in the right direction. Or you can include links to your most popular lead magnets or low ticket offers or your program applications. Or you can point people to specific sections on your website or to go listen to a specific episode on the podcast that answers a frequently asked question that you get if you have a podcast. Anything you can come up with, you can put in that autoresponder — but first, a couple of guidelines. Number one, you want to treat this like a FAQ page. What are the questions that people ask and email you most often? Put the answers in your autoresponder and point them to the next step. Be strategic with this.
Courtney Elmer 8:00
Don't put a whole list of 20 things for them to read. People are moving at a quick pace, so include only three to five things max. We do this in our podcast email account — that autoresponder not only includes times that we reply to emails so that they know when to expect a response from us, it also includes a link to our podcast guest application form because we get a ton of pitches for guests on the podcast. Doing this saves us from having to send that link out every single time someone asks.
Utilizing your auto-reply in this way creates a win-win for everybody, because it saves you a step from having to email that information out again and again, and it saves your contact a step back, giving them the information they need right away at their fingertips, rather than them having to wait on your reply. As I mentioned, when you learn how to pause your inbox, which I taught you how to do last week in Episode 78, and you reply only at certain times of the day. During that time you reduce the number of emails you have to reply to – you only reply to what warrants a reply. At the same time, you don't have to worry in the back of your mind about not replying to anything and worrying about people thinking you're ignoring them or you brush them off, and it keeps them from emailing you again while waiting to hear back from you, thinking you didn't get their email.
Bottom line: if they get their question answered right away via the autoresponder it saves you and them time. We have gotten more compliments on our autoresponder than I think almost anything in our business. It's amazing to hear what people have to say about our autoresponder, which is so funny to me. I can't even tell you how many people have implemented an autoresponder of their own simply from seeing ours and realizing how much time they could protect by taking 10 minutes to set this up for themselves.
So that's your marching orders this week: carve out 10 minutes, compose a friendly, fun and informative autoresponder that saves you time when replying to emails, and save your contacts time when waiting on a response from you.
Now if you're loving what you're hearing on our summer series of quick tips so far to help you streamline your business, I want to hear from you. What topics do you want to have us cover in this series? Send me a voicemail on our podcast website: https://systemsmadesimple.co and let me know. I will feature you on the air and answer your question live right here on an upcoming episode.
Next week, I am giving away for the first time — and I can't believe I'm doing this — I am giving away my framework to automate your email marketing campaigns in four easy steps, so that you never have to worry about ghosting your email list. Nor do you have to worry about what to say to your subscribers week after week when sending out those nurture emails to keep your list warm. Are you ready to get another hour back in your life and in your business? It starts with automating your email marketing. That's coming up next week. I'll see you back right here on the Systems Made Simple™ podcast and until then, go live your EffortLESS Life®.