At a glance:

  • Benefits of using email to contact customers

  • Using a quote or invoice template

  • Best practice when emailing customers

 

There are two key ways that using email can improve your business. One is sending quotes to potential customers; the other is sending invoices to satisfied customers. Here, we’ll look at how to start sprucing up your business with both.

WARNING! This is a beginner’s guide. We’ll be getting into the nitty-gritty stuff later on. If you’re happy to start with the basics, then keep reading.

A beginner’s guide to email

 

Why use email for your business?

In simplest terms, email is quicker and easier than putting something in the post, and it’s free. No stamps, no delay, no problem! When you send a quote or an invoice by email, you know exactly when it was sent and that your customer has received it. You can even add a setting that lets you know when your customer has actually read what you’ve sent them!

Your common or garden customer is also probably used to doing more and more online. If you send a quote or invoice to your customer’s inbox that means it’s on their smartphone and in their pocket/ handbag/ briefcase. As a result you should get more jobs and get paid sooner than if you sent it in the post. Not only that, but by emailing you’ve given your new customer a fast and friendly way of getting in touch with you. Now you’re showing them you’re up to speed and available. What could be better?

 

Quoting and invoicing over email

If you’re not used to creating quotes and invoices electronically, it’s as simple as can be. Microsoft Word and Apple Words both have standard templates that you can use for creating new documents, whether it’s estimates/ quotes or invoices. On Microsoft Word, you’ll find it under File ->New. You should see a template called “Invoices”. If you’ve got some time, be sure to have a look around the templates. Who knows, you might find a few more that could be useful for customer communication. Create the new document, insert your own details, add the details of the job and hit ‘Save’. Use a memorable and sensible file-name: this could include the date, customer name and/or job type.

Once the document is complete, it’s best to save it as an Adobe PDF file (under File -> Save As), as this file format means it’s more easily opened on PCs, Tablets and Smartphones. So regardless of where they open the email, they’ll see what you need them to see.

Now that you have an example saved, you can use it as a template each time you want to send a new quote or invoice without having to start from scratch. Simply open up the most recent file, change all of the details (and that means ALL of them, can’t stress this enough) and File ->Save As under a new file name.

 

Writing emails to customers

The next step is sending your customer the email with their quote or invoice. Whether you know the person or they’re a new customer, it doesn’t need to be anything too fancy. Just a quick note to say, ‘Dear (NAME), please find attached your quote (or invoice) regarding the work we discussed,’ or something similar.
When it comes to signing off the email, have a think about how well you and your customer know one another. “Yours sincerely” may seem formal, but it means business and shouldn’t let you down. “Regards” or “Best regards” can be used for people you know a bit better.

Attach your newly created document using the paperclip icon, double-check the document details match the customer you’re emailing, and hit ‘Send’. You might also want to make a note to follow up if you don’t hear back from them. Leave a consistent amount of time with each customer before getting back in touch.

Look at that, you’re using email to improve the productivity of your business! You may have just taken a big step to getting out in front of your competition.

 

Top Tips

  • Use Microsoft Word/ Apple Words templates to create quotes/invoices
  • Save quotes/invoices as PDF’s so they can be read on phones and computers alike
  • Use appropriate language and sign-offs depending on how well you know your customer
  • Make a note to follow up if you don’t hear back

 

Of course, there are always things you can do to get even more benefits from email. We’ll cover how to do this, emailing groups and more besides in our next email marketing article.

Find out more about Trade Direct and Public Liability Insurance.

 

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