How to automate your emails without losing your soul

You probably do a lot more sales activity than you think.

Most of it is mind-numbingly boring and repetitive, yet, you keep doing it because it makes you money.

Answering a prospect’s question that you’ve answered a hundred times before is actually quite important because it brings in sales.

It’s a chore, but you put up with it.

Since sales are important, I’m going to show you a few ways you can automate the grimey parts all while keeping your soul intact.

Ready? This is going to save you a lot of time and let you skip the mindless repetition. Let’s get started.

1. Use click-triggered automation to provide white glove support

I’ve done this in the past and it’s a great way to provide specific information to customers based on the situation they’re in. It’s scalable and feels natural.

Here’s what it looks like. To start, send your prospects a simple email:

This lets potential clients self-serve themselves by picking the most suitable answer.

It’s sort of like a choose-your-own-adventure book.

When they click on a link you’ll send them helpful information that’s relevant to them. You can do this by triggering a one-off email in most email marketing apps.

To the client they get a super-fast solution to their problem or concern:

You can craft a response specific to the object your prospect selected.

This is where years of customer service experience pays off. You not only anticipate the concerns and objections that your potential customers have, you make it easy for them to get the right information before moving forward.

Another good thing about this setup is it always leaves the option of human contact. By simply replying to the email, a prospect is able to ask for help instantly.

The best part is you’ll have a huge response rate because it feels real. It’s exactly what I would say to a real prospect in that situation.

People can tell it’s authentic.

2. Use outbound automation to follow-up

Eric Davis is one of my most successful customers. Recently, he shared with me his process for winning work from the leads I send him.

He uses outbound email automation to generate 80% of his income each year. To do this, he starts out by compiling lead information into a spreadsheet:

A simple freelancer sales spreadsheet.

Next, Eric uses an email automation tool that reads his spreadsheet and sends the email for him.

The structure of every email is the same (and he tests it to make sure it’s effective) but the content inside the structure is totally custom.

Without having to spend a bunch of time on each individual, he sends an extremely personal email like this:

By setting up this system, Eric sends better emails than 99% of people.

The results are personal and take a fraction of the time to create.

Even better, email apps like Quickmail track replies and allow you to put follow-ups on autopilot too. Eric never misses a follow-up on the clients he contacts.

This is a huge advantage. Remember, people are busy. It’s on you to keep track of the conversations that could result in thousands of dollars in paid work.

Don’t drop the ball.

3. Use surveys to qualify

If you want to do even more advanced stuff — like putting prospects into buckets based on different criteria — you can enlist survey software to help you out.

My friend Kai Davis uses a Wufoo questionnaire and Zapier, to automatically analyze his potential buyers answers and put them in the right category.

He then uses email software to send each type of prospect a different sequence. Highly-qualified prospects (a good budget, right scope of work, etc.) get a different pitch than less qualified prospects (low budget, unrealistic timeline, etc.).

His operation is always running in the background and looks something like this:

Kai uses software to eliminate the grunt work from his life.

A survey tool like Wufoo, along with calendar software like Calendly creates a system that does 80% of the work for you.

If you’re constantly scheduling calls and qualifying prospects — this means a big savings for a high-paid consultant.

But remember, using fancy software isn’t the point.

The point is to create a great experience for your clients. Just because I, or anyone else, says you should try something doesn’t mean you should.

Instead, put yourself in your clients shoes and ask how you can make things better for them.

Then do that.

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Robert Williams, Owner, Folyo

Hi, I'm Rob. I help underwater design agencies fix staff shortages quickly and come back up for air.

I started Folyo, a private referral community of product designers, and I host Freelance, a podcast about how to work independently featuring companies like Basecamp, Converkit, Highrise and more.