As a designer, you cannot be in two places at once and you can't be checking your email all the time. In fact, often it is suggested that you don't check your email until you have already checked a few tasks off your list so you don't fall into the rabbit hole that is responding to emails. An easy way to respond quickly to your clients and without taking your attention away from other important tasks is through the an auto-responder. Use auto-reponders from your gmail account, website and other systems such as Convert kit. Here's a little about how it works.
First, the client fills in your contact form or emails you. These options should be easily identifiable on your website, such as a contact tab or button for the client to identify what the expectations of the interaction may be. Automation is key here to help inform your potential client and help you to avoid spending unnecessary time on redundant tasks. If it is as simple as setting up the autoresponder from your email (An autoresponder is an automatic email that is sent to people who email you. Be sure to take advantage of this system!), it allows you to simply inform the client about when they may hear from you and things you have coming up, as you'll see in more detail below. For something on your website, it provides them the information they need to start working with you as well as the next steps needed to move forward.
As an example, when I used to only have the option to email me or schedule a call on my website, I would often have about 5 or more phone consultations a week. I had my pricing and services listed, but the site visitors typically weren't interested in perusing the website to find the information they needed, they preferred to set up a time to chat to that they would get all the information they needed at once. I found that many of these calls were just designers seeking information, but who were not interested in utilizing the services at this time. While I love telling people about what I do and the business I have built, it wasn't unusual for me to spend 5+ hours a week and these calls with no significant return on investment.
To combat this, I created an autoresponder and informational packet. The packet provides the details about my pricing, how I work and the projects I do. I removed the option to book a call from my website and instead added a link to the page in the autoresponder so that if a designer still was interested in chatting after reading the packet, then we can set up a time for a call. Your autoresponder tells the client when they will hear back from you, when they WON'T hear from you (i.e. on evenings and weekends), and shares the link to your FAQ and Services page, encouraging the potential client to check them out if they haven't already.
Example from Stella of Ask Stella Reynoso:
Well hello there, awesome person!
Thanks for emailing me, but I just wanted to let you know that I'm a bit slow on the uptake right now, so give me about 3-4 days to reply before shooting me another email!
In the meantime, check out Part 1 of my 3-part blog series detailing my AMAZING workshop experience.
In case you've been wanting to book a one-on-one mentoring session with me, ALL sessions must be booked & paid for by October 31st, and completed by December 15th. These open-ended, free-for-all type of mentoring sessions will be discontinued once all remaining time slots are full to make way for a NEW type of laser-beam-focused business coaching that I plan to debut in January. If you've heard about the magic that is a Sounding Board Session with me, I highly recommend you jump on reserving your date soon before they're all gone. ;)
If you have heard through the grapevine about the LOVE & Cupcakes shop, come and check out what me & my partner Terri have going on right now!
Until then, just sit tight and I'll be cranking out replies as soon as I can get to them.
Tips for creating your autoresponder:
So here's what to include in your email auto-responder:
1. Show your personality. Don’t talk to the reader like you are a computer robot. Be friendly, personable, and keep it upbeat.
2. If you will have a delay in your response, tell them. Write a couple of sentences about what you’ve been up to.
3. Link to something that may be of value to your client or potential client. Perhaps your Pinterest boards, an FAQ or What to Expect page, your latest project you’ve been working on, anything!
4. Drop a line of advertising. Link to your upcoming projects/events you have planned or a certain package you offer.