A Reply for Every Request: Creating a Collection of Instant Replies
If you receive lots of email with the same questions, and find you're so busy you can't write an individual reply to each one, then it's time to create a collection of instant replies.
Having instant letters makes it easier for you to just cut, paste, and email them, or if you're more ambitious, you can get an email "autoresponder" to do it for you by identifying keywords in your incoming email and kicking out your instant replies.
Here's a good start on the kinds of instant replies to have on hand in your collection:
Electronic brochure: Take a couple of meaty paragraphs describing your business, products, and services from your print materials and edit to make them read well online. Or, start from scratch. Stick to simple text format: bold, underlining, bullets and fancy fonts often don't translate in email, and many people can't receive graphics. Online, you can change your info frequently with little or no cost.
A brief fact sheet: FAQs are "Frequently Asked Questions." Create your own FAQ sheet of frequently asked questions and answers about your biz. For more on creating a FAQ, follow some of the tips in: Just the FAQs, Ma'am.
Who are we? A company backgrounder or personal bio: Give a brief description (maybe 200 words or fewer), to add the personal touch that may clinch a deal.
Don't miss out! Online news releases: If you have something newsworthy to communicate, a news release can convey information to a wide range of folks without the expense of mailing costs or the hazards of missed deadlines. Journalists and other media may request info for their publications. To create a winning news release, follow the steps outlined in Get Noticed with a Newsworthy News Release.
Other instant reply ideas: Order forms, product spec sheets, price lists, directions to your business by plane, train, and automobile.
Whatever instant replies you decide to cook up, keep 'em short and sweet. And if someone later asks not to be contacted via e-mail, it's best to honor that request right away. Cluttered or misused mailboxes make for disappearing customers. But when you have something to say, don't be afraid to say it.
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