How to Reach Inbox Zero as a Busy Web Design Agency Founder
May 3, 2021

Today we’re gonna do something that feels unobtainable. I’m gonna show you, in real time, how we handle this and how we manage multiple businesses by creating a system and delegating that process to virtual assistants, as well as creating a repository and FAQ database they can always use to respond to emails.

So let’s go ahead and dive in, because I know a lot of you are spending hours each day in email, and I’m gonna show you some way to help mitigate that.

So, first things first, let me go ahead and dive in: Inbox zero is real! This is my inbox from today. As you can see, my primary tab is empty, a lot of this content is updated in folders, as well as jobs.

So I’m gonna jump in and show you what that means. It’s obtainable, you just need a system to get it done. So I’m gonna share my system, and it’s the process that works for my agency.

So let’s go ahead and dive in.

This is where I was at first: 200+ emails per day—it was insane—and daily inbox is now at zero.

Create an SOP Using Google Sheets

So I talked about this in one of my prior Youtube videos that you can check out right here. Check that out and you’ll get an understanding of how to create these SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) within your agency.

So there’s three primary things that you should do.

Use Unroll.me

One, you can use unroll.me to unsubscribe to a lot of the emails that you’re a part of. So unroll.me is a free platform, it lets you clean up your subscriptions really easily—literally at a click of a button. As you can see here in my personal email, I have unsubscribed from 3500 subscriptions—it’s pretty wild—and I’ve rolled up the remaining emails.

Now, what “rolled up” means is, it will take your daily emails that you might receive from some of your favorite subscribers, and roll them up into one daily email that you’ll receive. That way, you’ll get all your subscriptions embedded and combined into one email, and you don’t have to worry about it.

Now, I’ve subscribed from hundreds of emails, and this has helped me substantially in mitigating all those emails that I might get on a regular basis.

So let’s head back. Ultimately, you’ll want to create your SOP—which we’ll jump into and I’ll show you an example of—and then unroll your subscriptions, as well. Unrolling your subscriptions will get rid of all of the massive influx of subscriptions that you might have, that you probably hadn’t seen in years—and again you can use unroll.me to do that.

Next, you’re going to develop an FAQ for each email, which I’ll jump into and show you an example of, as well. And then, you’re going to be able to delegate this to a virtual assistant, because you’ll have your operating procedure ready to go and ready to access. And, lastly, you can create an email template repository.

So let me go ahead and open this up—I’m gonna open up this window a bit so y’all can see it. And I’m gonna walk you through these steps.

So one: Create Your SOP and Unroll Your Subs. We already unrolled a ton of emails here, so no worries there. Again, unroll.me is a platform—it is free, but they do add specific ads to some of the emails that you receive. But otherwise, it’s a pretty solid service that you can use to get rid of a whole bunch of subscriptions.

Create Your SOP

Next thing you’re going to do is create your SOP. So here’s an example—I’m gonna bring that up for you right here—'cause I wanna show you what this looks like in real time, for those that aren’t familiar. Again, you can check out the link here for my operating procedures for access to that.

So I usually have video training at the top which walks you through the process, a daily recap email—it’s just one of the templates that’s being used, and now I also put “Last Updated”. So SOPs are Standard Operating Procedures, and they’re systems that you can use to build out processes that you can then delegate to team members.

So these are the daily tasks completed by our account executive. We’re a small agency—about 10 people—so our agency team members do have multiple roles. Our account executive acts as more of a connection between the clients, so she’s answering emails, she’s responding, she’s sending updates to clients as well.

So we always have other team members clock in, so we can track hours and allocate, to time the specific things that they’re working on.

What I like to do is have “Review Emails,” so I have all my emails here that she reviews on a daily basis. And then, basically, she goes through and works through those emails each day. At the end of the day, she’ll send me a daily recap to share in our Slack channel—we have an #ae-tasks Slack channel, where any important messages that I might need to see or respond to will be tasked there.

Develop an FAQ for Each Email

Now, to show you the specific details of what we do, is we create an FAQ for each email. So I’ll go to Black Illustrations, which is one of my businesses that I currently own and run. And we basically just set up an FAQ, so anytime we get a question from a customer, we add to this FAQ on the website.

Now what this does is it creates a repository for:

  1. People visiting the site.
  2. Our team member, virtual assistant, or account executive can access this FAQ and respond to questions accordingly.

So yesterday, I got a question: “Hey, how do I access my membership?” And so we’ll say, “Oh, you can access it here.” So we’ll send them a direct email response, but then if it’s not in the FAQ, we’ll add it there, as well.

That way, we’ll create this long form repository of normal questions that people ask. That way, people that are visiting the site can get their questions answered without sending an email. And then it’s easy for a team member to go in and check out this FAQ and update it accordingly.

So, going back to our doc: We’ve created our SOP and we unrolled our subs, We’ve developed an FAQ for each email. So again, for every email that comes in, you’re gonna start building this FAQ doc over time. After a few months, you’re gonna have dozens of FAQs that are answering questions, and then you can easily delegate this to a virtual assistant or someone on your team to facilitate and get the job done.

Thirdly, you delegate to a virtual assistant. Now that you’ve got your SOP, you’ve unrolled your subscriptions, you’ve been developing your FAQs, now you can create an SOP like we did here and be able to delegate this to a team member.

Lastly, you can create an email template repository.

Create an Email Template Repository

What I also like to do is set up email templates—so again, you have your FAQs, which answer most normal questions, and you update that as you continue. But then, you can also have a doc like this:

This is our email templates doc. Basically everything that we do in the agency—from “Form Follow-Up”, to “Sending Proposals”, to “Ready to Start”, to “Welcome to 5four Digital”—we have a template for literally everything in the agency that we have. And we constantly update it, because what happens is, this makes the process just a lot easier to scale out.

I actually did a video on this on Asana—you can check it out here as well. But ultimately, this helps us create another knowledge base that our team member can access to be able to use as a template.

Recap

With that said, let me jump in and show you this quick recap once more.

And again: If you have questions, please leave comments below. It’s a great help when you leave comments. And you make sure that you hit that Like button, so that way we can grab those likes and get Youtube’s algorithm to show our content to more people.

So, to reiterate: Create SOPs, unroll your subscriptions, develop an FAQ for each email, delegate to a virtual assistant, and then create an email template repository. That will get you to the promised land of Inbox Zero. It’ll help you take back your time and help you mitigate all the issues that might arise from just not responding to emails back quickly.

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