There’s little I love more than a good de-cluttering spree. We’ve just finished redecorating our bedroom and I was determined to put back fewer things than we took out. This personal mission has since had a knock-on effect on the rest of the house. Clothing, accessories, cupboards, stacks of magazines, bags full of bags (we all have them!), even the car boot has not escaped my de-cluttering operation. Now I have little piles of stuff to go on ebay, freegle, and to the recycling bank. So my next mission is to get all this sorted and out of the house!
The feeling you get when you accomplish a de-cluttering spree is fabulous. Personally I feel cleansed and more able to cope with everyday tasks because I can actually find what I’m looking for.
Having successfully de-cluttered two bedrooms, I decided to apply the same principles to my business. The tips that follow come from personal experience and every one will help to streamline and improve your communications. Please share your own successes in the comments below.
1. Map out your communications
How often do you send emails, promotions and newsletters to clients?
In January, my favourite furniture brand sent me at least one email every single day. This really tested my brand loyalty. I was SO close to unsubscribing because I was sick to the back teeth of hearing from them. I didn’t, but for organisations I’m not so loyal to, I wouldn’t hesitate to unsubscribe for being bombarded with too many messages.
The secret is in the planning (this is super-important if multiple people are involved in your communications). Taking care to map out what you’re sharing with your customers, and when, allows for breathing space between messages. Your clients and prospects will be much more receptive and happy to hear from you when you have a planned approach.
2. Consolidate your messages
Do you ever find yourself sending multiple one line emails to people?
If your message is not urgent, start a draft email and add questions or points to it throughout the day. When you’ve reached three items (see below) – send the email. The recipient then only has one message to respond to rather than three, and both your mailboxes will become lighter.
3. Stick to three key points
Do you try to say everything at once?
People are more receptive to learning things in threes. Rather than bombard your audience with several messages at once, try to summarise information using three key points.
Try the rule of three in your communications:
Highlight three key points in your presentation
Ask three questions in an email
Describe three services your business provides in your elevator pitch, on a leaflet or on your website
4. Avoid using jargon
Do you understand what a bounce rate or a long-tail keyword is?
These terms might be familiar to people in marketing but not so much to a non-specialist. It’s very easy to revert to using terms you’re comfortable with but your customers might not understand. I like clear and concise communications. If you cannot avoid using jargon, always explain it in full.
5. Sort, delete and file emails
How many messages are currently in your inbox?
I spent an hour and a half sorting out my inbox last week because I was struggling to find messages I’d received from, and sent to, clients. In doing this I’ve managed to reduce my inbox from 1500 emails to 100 and made it quicker and easier to find information I need to do my job.
I’ve filed emails into folders, created shortcuts for regular clients and colour coded to flag for action (geeky but satisfying!). I deleted messages I don’t need and unsubscribed from companies I don’t want to hear from. Unless you need to keep the email for legal or compliance reasons, don’t be afraid to hit delete – it feels great! To keep it under control I’ve committed to reviewing my inbox at least once a week.
Be honest, how many messages are currently in your inbox? Please share below!