As a freelancer you’re going to be emailing people A LOT. Having a bank of stock responses can save you time and energy!
Processes: Efficiency and great results
As time has gone by I’ve worked out a smooth process that answers potential client’s questions, forms a clear contract, gets the right info from the client, ensures payment and delivers a great end result. A big part of this process is doing steps in the right order, providing all the necessary information and keeping people up to date.
I design and build websites so the steps in the process are largely the same whether it’s a small business one-pager or a large ecommerce site. Typing the same emails out time after time is a waste of time and brainpower, so I’ve got a bank of canned responses to use as a starting point. I keep them in a note taking app (Simplenote) which I can access in my browser and paste into emails or my project system.
This really shows its value when working on a bunch of projects at the same time. I can often forget where I’m up to or what I’ve already said when working on four similar websites, so a checklist and stock phrases make it so much more organised.
I’m not going to paste my example emails in as they are very much in my tone of voice and tailored to my web design process. It’s easy to go back through your own emails and see what you say often to your clients, then make you own bank of responses.
Some of my key emails broadly look like these:
- Thanks for your enquiry response, asking for more info from them and providing a brief document or example questionsto structure their response
- No thanks – If I don’t want to work with someone or they don’t have the budget, politely declining the project and suggesting alternative systems/freelancers
- Proposal – Summary of proposal with full docs attached, with any special points. Wrap up by inviting the client to contact me with any questions
- Project kickoff – Introducing my project management system, providing design brief, letting them know their next tasks
- Website launch – Congrats! Here are your admin logins, it might take a while for search engines to show your site, I’ll check in with you in a couple of weeks
Managing Stock Emails/Phrases
There are two ways I manage these boilerplate emails/phrases – note taking app and text expander apps.
Note taking app
I use a free web app called Simplenote and it syncs across all my devices, to make life easy when I’m working from a cafe on my laptop or out and about and only have my phone on me.
There are little programs out there called ‘text expanders’ and it’s even built in to Mac computers. These allow you to type a few letters or a short phrase and it will auto-complete it for you. This is a real time saver when testing 50 contact forms or sending proposals.
We’ve discussed the benefits of having a good process in place so things stay organised, how stock emails can save you time and how to manage these stock emails.