So we've talked about emails you can send in no time at all. Now let's up the ante and talk about five ways you can save time and get ANY email out the door faster.
1. Kill your images.
If you have images, that's wonderful. Who doesn't love a pretty, pretty picture? But if you're struggling to get your email out, and pictures are a part of your personal torture, kill the image. Nobody cares.
When I have given this advice in the past, I've heard two types of reply. One, an incredulous “I can DO that?!?!” with an accompanying sigh of relief. Two, “But people say they really love my images!”
If you are in the latter camp, that's great. Bring the image back next time. But just because people love an element of what you do doesn't mean they'll leave in a rage if you stop. It's your picture, you can kill it if you want to.
2. Kill the template.
For the better part of 10 years I sent email in text-only. Every now and again I lusted after somebody's gorgeous email template, but I realized that as a small business owner, I had better things to do.
It's difficult for me to imagine somebody saying, “Well, I would read IttyBiz, but there's no fancy formatting in the newsletter, you know?”
If you've got a great template that's easy to use and takes virtually no time to format, fantastic. Keep it. But if the template is part of the problem, kill it, even only for today. When people see that it's different, they'll assume something went wrong with the formatting and they'll just read the text.
3. Steal a subject line.
The subject line for my last email came from the cover of this month's InStyle magazine. It was originally “Style Your Hair In Half The Time.” I changed it to “Email Your List In Half The Time” and as such, put all of three seconds of thought into the entire affair.
This also works if you don't know what to write about. Go look at a magazine. Find a headline you like well enough. Change it to something that works for your list or blog. Now write the piece.
Be ready for the gym in half the time?
Make your bed in half the time?
Clean your desk in half the time?
Calm down in half the time?
Choose your dress in half the time?
No, they're not going to win the Pulitzer, but they'll keep your list warm and get you a bit of traffic. To quote Colin Firth from Love, Actually, “This isn't bloody Shakespeare.”
4. Ditch the intro.
If you have ever said to yourself, “I don't know where to start”, this one's for you. The amount of time people spend on their introductions is often greater than the rest of the email combined. It's shocking. If you don't know where or how to start… don't.
Truly, there is nothing wrong with starting your email with a reworded version of your title.
Go read the intro for this piece. See what I did there? Took eight seconds.
5. Kill unnecessary formatting.
Most formatting in emails does not need to be there, and making sure it looks “right” takes forever.
If you're writing a short piece (less than 750 words?) you really don't need much formatting at all.
Formatting exists to add emphasis and give the reader's eyes a chance to rest in the midst of big blocks of text. So…
If you want to emphasize something, put it in all-caps. And give the eye a rest by breaking up your paragraphs – one or two sentences max. Bam. Formatting's done.
(Incidentally, in a world where everybody's reading on their phone, you want to break up your paragraphs anyway. Something that qualified as a perfectly reasonable paragraph when you were in college takes up more than a whole screen on an iPhone 5. Start getting used to shorter sections of text – your readers will thank you for it.)
(That last paragraph? A little too long for mobile. The ones right before it? A lot easier to read on a phone.)
So that's it!
Five ways to eliminate the unnecessary and save precious time that you COULD be using to interact with me on Facebook. I'm just saying.