6 Ways to Reduce Back and Forth Emails in Your Clientflow

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Take back your time with these six ways to reduce back-and-forth emails. With a few simple changes, you can make your projects more efficient (for both you and your clients)!

Woman looking down at an ipad with an email notification

Sometimes it can feel like an entire project consists of checking your inbox and waiting for client responses. We’ve all been there before where we’re scouring long email threads for the one answer to a question we asked weeks ago. 

Unfortunately, clients can often be the biggest roadblock to delivering successful projects on time. But, there’s a better way to do business so you don’t have to get stuck in an endless loop of back-and-forth emails. 

With these six tips, you can communicate professionally, incorporate a personal touch, and guide your clients to respond on time. Implementing these best practices will result in more time for you (and your clients) that you can putinto other areas of your business or use to give yourself some more well-deserved “me” time!

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Optimizing your clientflow to reduce client friction

Before we dive into the tips, let’s talk about your clientflow. One of the reasons why you face so many back-and-forth emails is that your clientflow likely isn’t as optimized as it can be. 

Your clientflow is the entire process of selling and delivering specialized services, and it ensures you’re receiving the information you need from clients and vice versa in one seamless flow. 

From selling your services to booking, managing projects, and offboarding clients, you can make your communication at each of these stages much more efficient. 

When you start thinking about your work as a clientflow instead of disjointed processes, you’ll help yourself and your clients save time!

1. Identify email communication that’s wasting time

The biggest issue with back-and-forth emails is that they can waste a lot of time, especially if you’re waiting for clients to respond before you can move forward with the project. 

To eliminate time-consuming emails, first determine the steps where you find yourself pausing or having to follow up with clients over and over again. Some examples could be when they’re signing the initial contract and making payments, responding to questions about their project needs, or approving project milestones. 

Pro Tip: Try mapping your clientflow so it’s easier to identify these pauses. A visual representation of your workflows can show you dependencies you might not be aware of. 

Whenever you notice these pauses in your clientflow, it’s time to consider if you can make the process easier for your client. Perhaps they’re waiting to respond because they don’t want to take the time to sit down and write out an email. If you send multiple emails to the same client in one day, that can also be a sign. You want to make it as easy as possible for clients to get back to you, and many of them might be dealing with overflowing inboxes (guilty here!).

2. Combine multiple asks in one email send

After you’ve determined where you’re waiting for responses, consider if there’s a way to combine multiple emails into one. For instance, you can send your contract and invoice together as one multi-functional file.

Sending multiple actions at once doesn’t have to be overwhelming–in fact, it can be easier for your clients to manage. With better organization and instructions, they can accomplish multiple steps at once in a shorter amount of time. 

Other examples of steps that you can combine include:

  • Combining your pricing guide or sales brochure with an invoice to give your clients the chance to pay if they’re ready to move forward with the next step in your process. 
  • Combine specific client questions into an interactive questionnaire, which is especially helpful when you’re onboarding clients. Using a questionnaire will make it easier for you to refer back to their answers in one place rather than sifting through multiple emails. Plus, you can even include your scheduling link to clarify open-ended questions rather than going back and forth over email.
  • Combine your onboarding materials, such as a questionnaire, welcome email, and project summary into a client welcome packet. Doing so can help eliminate a lot of questions at the start of the project so you can dive into your work rather than clarify information. On the client side, it also gives them one place to refer back throughout the project if they’re wondering about the next steps in the process or your business policies. That means fewer questions throughout the project as well!

3. Offer interactive files instead of static files

Another great way to save time and reduce unnecessary emails is by creating interactive, dynamic files instead of static files. 

Whenever you send a PDF, your clients might struggle to download the correct PDF editing software or even take the time to print and scan the document. Instead, HoneyBook lets you combine multiple steps into smart files that your clients can fill out in real-time. 

When you combine steps like your pricing guide and invoice, everything updates in real time as well. The services they select are carried over into the invoice, which they can immediately pay. There’s no need to go back and forth about services and then draft an invoice days later. 

Another great use case for smart files is the ability to pull client information into fields inside other documents. For example, your client background questionnaire that asks for their name and contact information can populate fields in your contract so you can get their signed approval all in one file. 

You can also update smart files easily if something needs to be changed. Your client decided to change their service selection before signing the contract? No worries– by simply changing their selection, the contract and invoice can update automatically. That’s hours of saved time each month without having to recreate or reprint static PDFs!

4. Make your subject line and email easy to scan

When it’s time to send emails to your clients, be sure to make them easily scannable. As we mentioned before, your clients might be battling full inboxes and busy schedules. In fact, one study shows that 80% of people are only scanning emails rather than reading them fully. Your clients will want to know what you’re emailing about as soon as they read the subject line. 

You can add notes like “High Priority”, “Info Needed”, or “Action Needed” to the front of your subject lines to make it clear that they’re important or require specific action from the client. For example, “Action Needed – Invoice Due” could be a much better payment reminder subject line than “Following up on invoice.”

Within the body of your email, the same applies. You want to make sure the content is easily scannable so your clients can understand what you’re messaging about immediately. To do so, you can use bullets and/or bolded text to help call out key takeaways and/or action items. 

Example of a long email that isn't easy to scan with one big paragraph of text
Example of an email that isn’t action-oriented
Email titled Action needed - onboarding questionnaire to help reduce back and forth emails
An email with an actionable subject and scannable content

This same principle applies to your files as well. Since you’re trying to save time, make sure the way you format all files and communication presents an organized, efficient experience.

Try to avoid long emails, but if you need to send a longer one occasionally to combine multiple things, break it up with headers. 

5. Set up automatic email reminders

Even after you implement these strategies to eliminate back-and-forth emails, you’ll likely still need to send reminders here and there. 

Luckily, you don’t need to send them manually. Software like HoneyBook will let you set up automatic reminders for important tasks like payments, contracts, questions, client homework, and more. 

You can set the same sequence for your clients so you always know what’s coming next too. One example of an automated sequence with reminders could look like this:

  • Client Intake Form
  • Reminder
  • Pricing Guide + Contract + Invoice
  • Reminder
  • Client Welcome Packet

Yep– that’s multiple steps in your clientflow that you can not only combine but also send automatically. And with reminders built in! You can also set up HoneyBook automations to approve before sending so you’re in complete control of what’s sent and when, but all the content and files are queued up for you.  

6. Build client education into your processes

We know that clients can often be the biggest roadblock to reaching your goal timelines, but they may not always be aware of that. 

One of the best ways to ensure quick turnaround throughout a project is to build client education into every step of your process. This could be as simple as including a table of contents and a brief set of instructions at the beginning of files. Especially for files with multiple calls to action, you can point out where to find everything, how to take action, and when you’re expecting their response.

With just a few sentences or even a short video, you can set expectations for every file you send. At the start of each project, you should also set expectations for the project as a whole, including your workflow. Build in project milestones or key dates that include what you’ll provide as well as what you need from your clients. 

When your clients know what to expect in terms of how you’ll work together, they’ll be more likely to hold themselves accountable and move forward at each step.

Improve client communication with a better system

Reducing the number of emails you send is one piece of creating more effective and engaging client relationships. Delivering a seamless, professional clientflow also affects your customer satisfaction. 

With the right system in place, you can build processes to better communicate with clients, deliver branded, dynamic files, and manage your projects from end to end. HoneyBook lets you do it all with benefits for you and your clients. 

How to Develop Your 2023 Social Media Strategy (and Stick to it!)

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Social media doesn’t have to be tedious. Figure out a social media strategy that works for your independent business in the new year. Leads flow your way with optimized social, putting you one step closer to an efficient clientflow.

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Revamp your social strategy to get more exposure

Social media can skyrocket a small business’s growth, but it’s also a beast to plan, never mind the time it takes to post and engage. After all, you’re running a business and don’t have time to film and post a TikTok every day. What if there was a way you could hone your 2023 social media strategy? If content marketing took less time, you would have more impact on your business’s bottom line.

You can create more impactful content more quickly if you go into 2023 with an intentional plan. As a content strategist and micro-influencer, I’ve seen how the right strategy can not only cause a video or post to go viral but can drive community around your business and encourage life-long partnerships. 

If you’re ready to make 2023 your best year online (and offline) yet, pull out a notebook and brew some coffee. We’re about to walk through how to create your annual content strategy. And the best part? You can finish this entire process in one morning. 

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Perform a content audit

The first step to creating an annual plan for any part of your business—and the one that many of us often forget—is to reflect on last year’s performance. A content audit can morph your reflections into useful insight in your strategy moving forward.

When auditing, I usually consider the following areas:

  • Assumptions: Before diving into the analytics, what do you think is and isn’t going well?
  • Demographics: After you write down your assumptions, it’s time to dive into the data. Let’s start at a higher level. Who is—and isn’t—engaging with your social media accounts?
  • Quantitative analysis: Write down your 10–20 top-performing posts. What do they all have in common? If you’re a HoneyBook user, you can also figure out which social media platform was driving the most leads with their reports tool. 
  • Qualitative analysis: It’s time to dive into the comments and DMs. What are common themes in your fans’ feedback? What do they like about your brand?
  • Grading yourself: How does the data you gathered from your analysis compare to either your assumptions or goals at the beginning of the year?

For a more in-depth guided content audit, check out my free printable content audit. It prompts you to answer specific questions and provides even more insight.

Create a clear list of what’s working and what isn’t

Now that you’ve done your audit on last year’s content, it’s time to reflect on what is and isn’t working. Feel free to make two lists and label one “what is working” and the other “what isn’t working.” 

When you’re considering what’s working, look at what your audience likes and what you like. Often, content is the best when you’re having fun making it. If you hate making a daily TikTok, but it gets you views, posting a daily TikTok would go in the “isn’t working” category. 

You could then compromise what you love and what the audience loves by putting “creating threeTikToks a week” in the “what is working” category. 

When looking at your content, look at both the macro and micro. At the macro level, analyze what platforms are performing well. Assess which platforms are performing poorly. At the micro-level, consider what you’re making content about and the types of content you are making.

Pro Tip: Be sure your plan works for you. There are lots of great tips on the internet, but if you use a system you can’t stick to, it becomes a waste of time!

Figure out what to tweak and what to do more of

Once you have your list of what’s working, it’s time to determine what you should do more of and what to tweak in 2023. One element of a good content strategy is built around figuring out what is working and then doing more of it. 

Tweak your content until you find that secret sauce that your ideal clients and customers love. From there, keep making content with a healthy dose of that secret sauce. You can also try new things and tweak them as necessary. Still confused? Check out two examples of how to tweak your content and how to do more of what is working–without making extra work for yourself. 

Example: What to tweak

Jamie owns an e-commerce brand that sells candles. She regularly posts photos of her products on Pinterest, but her pins get less than 100 views each. After looking at some of her top competitor’s pins, Jamie realizes pins that show how people are using the candles perform better than ones that just show the product. She decides to create these kinds of pins moving forward.

Example: What to do more of

Jamie also has a blog where she writes articles about seasonal decor, often placing her candles as one of the products for each seasonal post. She realizes her blogs are performing well since implementing a new SEO strategy last July. 

Jamie decides to write more SEO-optimized blogs. To find the time to do this, she scales back on posting TikToks and Reels, which aren’t gaining views or converting into as many sales as her blog posts. 

The secret to following your 2023 social media strategy

Once you have your list of what you want to tweak and do more of, you’re ready to go! You’ve created a social media strategy without knowing it. If you want to solidify that strategy with numbers, you can write down how much content you want to create–and how often. 

This could look like:

  • Four pins a week
  • One blog a week
  • One email newsletter a week
  • One new email opt-in freebie every quarter

Another example could be:

  • Seven reels and TikToks a week
  • One new email opt-in in January and July
  • Two email series for each new product campaign

But the power of a strategy doesn’t come from writing down your goals: it comes from actually implementing the steps you write down. Don’t wait for random bursts of energy or inspiration to create content. Instead, create a system that allows you to create consistent content. 

If you have a team member who helps manage your social media, a system is even more important to keep everyone on track. With a system, team members can do their jobs faster and with less confusion–aka better results and fewer questions for you to answer. 

Creating a solid content creation system

But how exactly do you create a system? There are most likely multiple ways to do this, but for me, creating a social media system is all about assigning due dates and dividing content actions into bite-sized steps. 

Three actions I take to create my yearly social media system include:

  • Writing every action into my social media Google calendar–with a due date. I then integrate that calendar with my HoneyBook one so I can see all due dates, events, and meetings in one place.
  • Making every action as fun as possible with coffee, Taylor Swift jam sessions, and ice cream rewards.
  • Divide each main action down to the most basic steps. So if one goal was to post a TikTok once a day, I could have three action items: record the TikTok, edit, add a caption, and post.

Divide tasks by time of year

I also think about tasks I need to do each quarter, month, and week so there’s enough content to post against my two brands (one for my business and one for my side hustle as a book reviewer). My tasks are the following:

Quarterly tasks usually consist of reflecting on what is and isn’t working, creating a new email opt-in, and looking at big-picture opportunities to advance my brands (such as guest-blogging opportunities, services I want to market, or collaborations with other creators).

Monthly tasks usually consist of brainstorming content ideas, filming at least 15 short-form videos for each month, and scheduling out pins.

Weekly tasks usually consist of posting the content, engaging on social, and writing a weekly email newsletter.

Again, add the due dates for all your annual, quarterly, monthly, and weekly tasks to your calendar. A fulfilled dream is often a series of smaller tasks with specific due dates.

How to keep track of your system

Ok, so you understand the idea of setting up a system, but where exactly should you keep all those tasks, due dates, and publishing dates? My favorite place is HoneyBook.

While designed to keep track of client projects and invoices, HoneyBook offers business owners the ability to track internal projects too. Once you create a social media internal project, you can add small to-dos for this internal project and due dates so you don’t forget to implement your strategy. By storing your social media project in HoneyBook, you can also create automations to collect leads on social media and funnel them through your sales process. 

And for all those social media managers out there, HoneyBook is a great place to manage ideas, tasks, and deadlines for your clients’ 2023 projects. You can share their 2023 social media HoneyBook project folder with them directly. Once added, they’ll see real-time updates and can add photos and information you need faster than through a back-and-forth email chain.

What about project deadlines?

Another way (and my preferred way) to keep track of due dates is to create a separate Google calendar with all social media due dates and publishing dates. With HoneyBook’s calendar tool, I can integrate my Google Calendar so I can see social media and meetings in one place.

Now that you have reflected on your content, found what you need to tweak, and do more of and created your social media system, you’re ready to go! Watch how consistent, strategic content can help you reach your 2023 business goals.