Tips for Getting Businesses to Reply to You
Hi friends! I know I don't share much about the business side of things here, but I feel like this information will be extremely helpful for consumers. Please know that I am writing this from a place of love, and I want consumers to be able to see the perspective from which brands/businesses read + receive messages. An overflowing inbox can be paralyzing and overwhelming for a business owner so just keep that in mind before you hit SEND!
Most of y'all know that I own 2 online businesses. I create and sell my speech lesson plans and I create and sell digital planning tools. Running online business (especially at the beginning phases) is H A R D work. It takes a lot of time. I'll also make it known that right now, I am a one woman show. So I am the one creating all of my products + content, answering emails + messages (this includes customer service - not just Instagram DMs, lol), running all of my socials, and doing all of my marketing + promoting.
As an entrepreneur, I get a lot of messages from supporters and customers. And I used to feel like I had to answer EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. but now I realize that just isn't feasible. Not only is there not enough time in the day, but my sanity is more important than clearing out every inbox every day.
NOW THIS IS NOT TO SAY THAT I DON'T APPRECIATE THOUGHTFUL MESSAGES. I always, always, always make it a priority to respond to emails + DMs from people who are reaching out to share their story or thank me for inspiring them 💛
I'm more so talking about messages that I find kind of rude/disrespectful.
What do I mean by rude/disrespectful? When people send me a message that is just straight up asking for something for free, asking something without having looked at ANY of the content that I provided for free on my social channels, or asking for very specific details on how I run my businesses.
Asking for free stuff:
This is just rude. Always. Don't do it. Entrepreneurs typically spend a LOT of time creating for their audiences. Some of that content is free and some of it is for sale. The worst thing is when you get a message from someone asking for one of your paid products for free. You would never do that at a store so don't do it to an online business. It's truly disrespectful and straight up rude.
Asking something without having looked at any of the business’ content
I try really hard to offer a lot of good quality FREE content for my audiences. I create YouTube videos, write blog posts, write Instagram captions, and share Instagram stories with the intent of serving. It's really time consuming to create content. I don't expect my online supporters to read and watch every bit of content that I put out. I'm not naive. Y'all are busy! But a consumer can spend a few minutes poking around a website/YouTube channel and see if the info they are requesting has already been provided.
Asking for specific details on how I run my business
Okay this one might get touchy.
I think it is so rude when people ask me questions like how much money I make and what I use for xyz because they want to start a business like mine. First of all, when do you ever go up to a stranger in real life and ask them how much money they make? OH THAT'S RIGHT YOU DON'T, lol.
And as far as sharing what tools and business models I use, I've put a lot of time and effort into researching and learning how to run a businesses that I am proud of. I've read books, watched videos, listened to podcasts, etc. I would NEVER reach out to another entrepreneur and ask them for a copy of their exact business model/plan because I know #1 that every business is different and #2 they spent a lot of time and energy putting that together and the last thing I want to do is rip it off.
It's one thing if a business willingly creates content that shares this info, but approaching a business to ask them these kinds of things does not demonstrate tact.
Here are some examples of messages that I personally don't answer anymore as well as ways to rephrase them in order to increase your chances of getting a response. These tips are applicable to any brand/business!
Instead of: "I really like the products that you create, but I can't afford them. Can you send me *insert product name here* for free?"
Again, this really denotes all of the hard work that the creator put into his or her product. Just don't do it.
Try: "Hello! I really like the products that you create! Do you have an email list that I can sign up for so I can stay up to date with new products and sales?"
*Before you send this check to see if they have a CLEAR LINK to sign up for their email list somewhere on their website/Instagram page. Most businesses do!*
Instead of: "I don't know how to get started with digital planning. Tips?"
Before asking a business or brand owner for "tips" on something - do a quick scan of their website and social channels. It will literally take you 3 minutes. Just type in the search bar on the website/YouTube channel what you are looking for or scroll through their Instagram highlights to see if this is one of the topics they cover. If you search and still can't find anything...
Try: "Hi! I'm really interested in everything that you share about digital planning. I visited your blog and YouTube channel but couldn't seem to find anything on how to get started. Would you consider writing a post or filming a video that helps beginners get started with digital planning?"
Instead of: "Hey can I pick your brain? I want to do what you're doing but I don't know where to start. Can you send me a list of all of the tools and programs that you use to run your business?"
Try: "Hey, I really admire the hard work and effort that you put into running a successful business. It's my goal to get my online business running and I've done a lot of research, but it's really overwhelming. If you could do a blog post or YouTube video sharing resources that helped you get started I would really appreciate it!"
I feel like a lot of people forget that there are actual people answering these messages - not robots 😂Kindness + tact go a very long way in getting a response from a brand or business. Even just adding a greeting makes a world of a difference!
I also want to note that I always make it a priority to answer all messages/emails that come from customers. If someone is supporting me by purchasing one of my products and they reach out with a question or issue, they will 10/10 always get a response.