Emails…yep, I just went there. It’s a really boring topic, I know but it is SO important! It’s occurred to me over the last few years that a lot of business owners don’t really know how much their emails are hurting their businesses. So today’s post is Part 1 of a 3-part series discussing three major areas in emailing that I think is becoming a huge problem in our industry. In today’s post, I’m talking about how the way you are writing emails could be hurting your business.
Make Sure Your Emails Are Professional
With so many entrepreneurs being open and real through their online presence, it’s easy to feel like you are best friends with a professional you’ve never met before. I feel this way about a lot of entrepreneurs that I follow – so believe me when I say that I completely understand! Some people are so good about sharing what’s on their heart that I connect with them on a personal level, even if I’ve never talked with them before. I think this is one of the reasons so many small business owners can get a little overwhelmed when writing emails to other business owners. Sometimes, it’s difficult to know how professional or relaxed an email can – and should – be, especially when you feel like the person you are emailing seems really relaxed in their online presence.
Here’s the thing: you can be laid back and still be professional. When you write an email to another creative business owner, you should always remain professional, no matter how laid back they may appear online. This means that you should be courteous, your grammar and punctuation should be correct, and I wouldn’t recommend using “lol” ever (just my personal opinion!). Using “haha” is okay, but I would probably save that for after the first few emails until you get a better feel for their personality (or if you have a consistent and personal relationship with them). If your email contains tons of grammar issues or the use of “lol”, you are not going to be taken seriously by the person you sent it to. Believe me, I’ve been on the receiving end of many of these emails, and they do not make a good impression. To a business owner, it looks like you either
- Aren’t a professional
- Don’t really care about what you’re writing about
- Don’t really take the business owner serious as a professional
Being unprofessional in your emails will hurt your business! First impressions are everything, and a sloppy email will severely damage that first impression to the point where the person you’re emailing may not want to work with you or help you (depending on what you are contacting them about). So at least make sure you are taking the time to double check your grammar and professionalism before hitting that “Send” button!
Make Sure Your Emails Are Engaging
Another important thing to keep in mind when you’re writing an email is making sure your email is engaging, even if you’re just price shopping. I’m always really surprised how many times I hear photographers who get frustrated when brides send them price shopping emails, because I get a lot of emails from photographers who are price shopping for editors. There’s nothing wrong with price shopping, and I am not offended when I get these emails at all, but phrasing can be everything when you are mainly looking for prices. Instead of “I’m interested in finding out your pricing,” try phrasing it, “I’m interested in finding out more about your services.” I get a ton of emails that are essentially, “What are your prices?” and I don’t connect with these types of emails. It leaves me guessing who they are, what their business is like, and what it will be like working with them in the future. I almost immediately don’t feel like we will be a very good fit for one another because that personal touch is missing. In my business, I want to have a personal connection with my clients, and that begins with the very first email. This circles back to how important first impressions are!
I want to give you a really good example of how an engaging email can have a positive impact on your business. Back in February, I was completely booked and wasn’t able to take on any new clients, but then I got an email from someone who almost made me open a new spot for her because I connected with her very first email (the only reason we are not working together is that she needed other services that I do not provide at this time). Her email read:
It is not too serious, but it is still professional, engaging, and polite. What I love about this email that almost made me open a spot for her was:
- She used my name – I can’t tell you how big of an impact this makes on emails I get! It feels like we already know each other. When I write an email to another business professional, I always use their name!
- She showed interest in my business – She didn’t have to say much, she simply pointed out that my brand resonated with her and what she was looking for. This tells me she already feels like I will be a great fit for her.
- She doesn’t just ask for pricing – She says, “I’m contacting you in regards to your photo editing services.” By saying this, I already know she is looking for all of the details, which include pricing, the process, etc. She mentions this once in this entire email.
- She told me a little about her story – She gave me a little insight into her life. She works a full time job, she’s a wife and a mother, and she’s working on her photography business in addition to all of this!
- She’s honest about what she’s looking for – She explains what she is struggling with and what she is looking for in her edits. She gives examples of people who she admires (all of whom I also admire and have the style I like to edit). This tells me that we might be a great fit because her style is similar to the style edit.
- She directs me to her website – This isn’t always necessary, but in my line of work it is definitely appreciated! I don’t have to go searching online to try to find their work and hope that I land on the right page because they include a link right there for me to see. I know I’m looking at the correct portfolio and I can tell if our styles are going to be a great fit. If our styles don’t match, I can refer her to someone else who will fit her style!
- She thanked me for my time – Whoever you’re writing is probably incredibly busy, but they still took the time to sit down and read your email! Always end your initial email by thanking them for their time!
Not every email I receive has to be exactly like this one, but I will tell you that this email stood out to me in a sea of emails I received that day because she took the time to make it engaging. I loved reading her story and getting to know her, even though I ended up having to find another editor who was a better fit for what she was needing. Writing an engaging email will help your emails get noticed!!
I hope you find these tips useful and I hope you will start implementing them into your business TODAY! Make sure you check back next Tuesday because I’ll be talking about how the way you are responding to emails could be hurting your business!