This guest posts is by Yael Grauer of http://yaelwrites.com.
One sure sign that your blog is getting more successful arises when you find yourself barraged with email from readers. The down-side to this attention is that it can take a very long time to answer individual requests for help.
Bogged down in too much email? Here are some suggestions for helping you find your way to a clear inbox sooner rather than later.
1. It’s all about the FAQ.
If you get asked the same questions over and over again, it’s a good idea to include it—along with any other common queries—in a comprehensive, well-written FAQ page. You can direct people to the FAQ in your contact page, cut and paste from your own FAQ as needed or, if you use Gmail, use your FAQ to take advantage of the tool’s canned responses feature.
2. Keep it short and sweet.
Who says a good email response has to be a novel? Seth Godin, who I’m sure gets more email than most of us could ever imagine, does a great job of responding to everyone who writes to him—often in a sentence or two. Charlie Gilkey of Productive Flourishing fame took this a step further. “If this message is brief, it’s because I care,” his sig file reads, along with a link to a blog post explaining just that. Timely and concise emails may be just the trick you need to plow through that inbox.
3. Give answers for the masses.
Find a way to answer common questions publicly. Whether you schedule a free introductory conference call, have regular “open office” hours or twitterchats, answer questions in a podcast or video, or use reader questions as blogging or newsletter fodder, use techniques that allow you to spend time crafting an answer that reaches more of your audience. Others may well have the same question.
4. I have an ebook about that.
Develop or promote a product that will help answer your readers’ questions. This could be an ebook, paid consultation offer, or any of a number of products that will allow your readers to explore their questions in depth—and get the help they need. Don’t hesitate to mention the product if you think it would be helpful.
5. Make a referral.
If you’re too slammed to do consulting, you’re getting asked questions outside of your area of expertise, or you otherwise don’t have the type of product or service available that would really help your readers, be sure to pass them along to someone else who can help them. Your reader—and the person you refer them to—will likely be grateful for your recommendation.
What email management techniques have worked best for you and your blog?
Yael Grauer is a freelance writer and blogger who was thrust into the world of independent media when she started self-publishing at the age of 12. Find her at http://yaelwrites.com.