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It’s 8:30AM, you’ve just spent the morning running around getting everyone else out the door…

So now—coffee in hand—it’s finally time to sit down and smash out some serious work in your business. ☕️

But before tackling your to-do’s for the day, you figure it probably wouldn’t hurt to peek in your inbox justtttt to make sure some super-dreamy new inquiry isn’t left waiting on a response.

Then 2 hours later you look up and realize once again, you’ve spent half your morning responding to 57 emails, none which will actually lead to you landing more clients. ‍♀️

Ready to stop feeling married to your inbox, and get back to making progress on the work you had planned?

In today’s video, I’m sharing all my favorite tips for cutting wayy down on the number of back-and-forth emails you deal with as a designer, so you can get back to doing what you love!

how to cut down on the time you spend in your inbox as a web designer

Tip #1

List your prices & what’s included on your website

Clients enjoy emailing you to ask your prices about as much as you enjoy having to repeat yourself 50 times a week in your inbox.

So best practice is to save everyone the trouble and list your prices proudly and publicly for all to see.

Say their budget is a hard and fast $500 bucks but your most basic package starts at $5,000…

Shrouding your prices in mystery only to be revealed after you’ve emailed back and forth about the value you can provide isn’t going to magically change that.

The numbers are what they are, and the right clients with the right budgets will appreciate how simple it was for them to find the answers they needed to book in right away.

Even if you need to get more project specifics before giving a quote, listing your ‘starting at’ rate is going to save you an awful lot of time spent playing email tag with clients who may not turn out to be a qualified lead anyway.

Tip #2

Use a CRM

If you are currently having to email clients back and forth to sort out things like:

  • how to pay you

  • where and how to sign your client contract

  • collecting client homework

  • collecting client feedback and edit requests

Then you could be spending a lot of unnecessary time tied to your inbox…and A CRM (or Client Relationship Management) software is how you automate pretty much all of this.

You can set up pre-built workflows and emails that trigger based on which stage a project is in.

So if someone decides to book you, they don’t have to email asking for your Paypal, Venmo, or Bank Transfer deets. They just click the handy little “pay now” button at the bottom of the super-professional looking proposal or booking invoice you sent immediately after you hopped off that consult call.

It was all ready to go inside your CRM and all you had to do was tweak one or two things to customize it to that specific client, and then hit ‘send.’

Got a client that’s overdue on a payment? Your CRM can send you a little notification letting you know it’s past due, and asking you if you want to send them an automated reminder (which you’ve already lovingly drafted and put your brand’s spin on).

So no more having to hunker down in your inbox to hassle that client for payment.

My favorite CRM to use to automate my client communication and handling, and seriously cut down on back and forth email in the process is Honeybook. (Yup! That’s an affiliate link! 20% off your first year!)

I have a series on how to use Honeybook to streamline your business as a web designer which you can check out here:

Tip #3

Use an online scheduling tool

Probably the worst culprit for unnecessary emails is just getting them on a call in the first place.

So say a potential client inquires using your ‘contact me’ form. You follow up saying how much you’d love to hop on a free consult call with them to discuss their project.

You offer them 3 dates and times and hit send.

The only problem is, they took 5 business days to get back to you, and those dates you offered have either passed, don’t work, or another client already snatched them up.

So you offer 3 more times. And you play this little game of email tag again and again until you can finally nail down a date.

Orrrrr, you could just send them a link to your calendar to schedule a call in the first place!

The first few times don’t work? Cool, you’ve got 10 more in there already ready to go for them to choose from.

Someone else snagged a call time? No problem. Your calendar will automatically update so there’s no chance of double booking.

My favorite way to automate the booking of consult calls is through Acuity Scheduling, now owned by Squarespace and available built right into your Squarespace site.

To learn more, or to get started with Squarespace Scheduling, you can head here! (Yep, also a proud affiliate!)

Tip #4

Create an FAQ section on your services page

My favorite way to provide thorough answers while also protecting my sanity is to create a fancy little FAQ section at the bottom of every sales or service page.

It’s a great way to plug some of the perks you might not have been able to fully cover in your website copy, but it’s also the perfect place to make sure your client has everything they need to know in order to make a buying decision TODAY, and without having to first contact you and then wait 1-2 business days for a response.

Your clients and your inbox will thank you!

Getting repeat questions that aren’t on your list?

Update your FAQ section as often as necessary to give your clients all the answers and assurance they need to help them off the fence.

Tip #5

Create the ultimate welcome package

Your client just dropped a significant chunk of change and they are trusting you to work wonders on their website. You owe it to them to give them the warmest welcome possible!

But this doesn’t mean you have to drop what you are doing and draft another custom email!

Give your new client the VIP treatment and a virtual tour of your process by sending them a super thoughtful and informative welcome package.

Prepare this in advance, and you can make each new client feel like you are personally holding their hand every step of the way, without having to do much actual hand holding, which usually goes on in the inbox.

Suggested Reading:

Tip #6

Make use of questionnaires

I love using questionnaires for client onboarding and project planning.

By having them templated and ready to go, you are less likely to forget important things you need to ask clients in order to get started.

And by using questionnaires, which are best sent and stored using your CRM, you’ll have all the information you need to work on their project all gathered up in one easy-to-remember place…

…instead of having to spend 30 minutes riffling through your inbox trying to find that list of branded HTML color codes they sent you, or to track down the spelling of their preferred domain name again.

Plus, it sets the tone that you are taking the lead on the project, rather than your client feeling they need to email you bits of info here and there as they think of them.

Tip #7

Set an expectation of what comes next at every new stage of the project

So obviously a few of these things take a little bit of prep time to get set up and running smoothly.

But there’s one thing you can start doing today to seriously cut down on back-and-forth emails that will take you hardly any time at all…

…and that is to wrap up every client communication or email you send with what to expect next!

So if you’re getting ready to send an email asking them for payment, be sure to include what will happen immediately after they do!

Knowing what comes next will make it easier for your client to immediately take the acting you’re requesting.

You’ll spend less time hassling clients for what you need via email, and less time responding to random questions about what comes next.

Tip #8

Create a shared folder for client homework

You don’t want to be sifting through 50 different emails to download 50 different images one by one. Or constantly retracing your steps in that giant email thread to find that one line of copy they wanted added to their ‘about’ page.

Before you do anything else with a client, set them up with their own client homework folder in something like Dropbox or Google Drive.

(And make sure to set the sharing settings so that your client can access it!)

This way, all the images, copy, branding elements, and edit requests can all be contained to one easy-to-access place, rather than slowly taking over your poor inbox.

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