We’ve all been there.
“I can’t remember how to create a new page on my website.”
“How do I schedule my social media with Facebook?”
“How do I use the product I just bought from you again?”
Since most people don’t have a degree in technical writing, responding to emails that require lengthy answers isn’t always the easiest or most efficient use of your time. Obviously, picking up the phone and calling you would be the best method, but sometimes even that isn’t the right way to answer some questions.
So how do you truly respond to in-depth questions posed via email?
Save time writing lengthy email responses with this trick
The answer is actually pretty simple:
Record a video response.
Sometimes, it’s just easier for you to record a video response. You can go into more depth with your reply and, in some cases, you can even demonstrate your answer!
We use this method of email response quite frequently, and our clients and customers LOVE them! Often times, they can keep the video and refer to it later, especially when we explain systems or technical instructions.
What you can use to save time writing lengthy email responses…for free
Camera: Most computers today have built in cameras if you want to record yourself talking. That’s the easy part! But don’t forget your sound quality.
Audio: You most likely received a pair of headphones with built-in microphones with your mobile device…use them! Simply run a quick test before you record to make sure it sounds right playing back with your built-in computer audio. (You should ALWAYS run a test recording before every video…sometimes, settings change!)
Screen Recordings: It’s not always in the budget to purchase expensive screencasting software. Lucky for you, most Apple computers come with QuickTime already installed. Windows machines (except Windows 10) come with Movie Maker. If you have Windows 10, you can still download Windows Movie Maker from their website and it is fully functional. There are free options you can download, too, like Screencast-O-Matic. This does have a few limitations, but you can’t complain about free!
Editing: You will most likely need to edit your video just a bit (like the beginning and ending stuff where you’re turning on/off the screen casting software). Apple’s built-in iMovie works well for this, and Windows Movie Maker will do some simple editing, too. Don’t forget: YouTube has a movie creator and editor, too!
Storage: You’ll need somewhere to store video files (and the longer they are, the larger the file size!) since many email platforms don’t allow you to send files larger than 25MB. We suggest using Google Drive.
What we use
Camera: While we could use the camera on our iMac, we purchased a 1080p HD Logitech C920 Pro Webcam. The quality is nice, and it works with virtually any computer (whether PC or Apple). Cost: $79.99.
Audio: We purchased a Logitech Stereo Headset H390 several years ago and it still works like a charm. I will also use a Blue Yeti Microphone as well. Great quality with a lot of customizations…and a little more pricey.
- Logitech Stereo Headset H390 Cost: $39.95
- Blue Yeti Microphone Cost: $129.99
Screen Recordings: We actually use ScreenFlow by Telestream. The incredibly awesome part about this software is that you can actually record any device. Plug in your iPhone to record a tutorial on a mobile responsive website or show a client how to use Instagram…or whatever! The bonus is that it has editing software built right into it! We actually just recorded a video walk-through of a client’s new website using ScreenFlow only–check it out here! Cost: $99
Editing: When we do screen casting, we typically record and edit with ScreenFlow. If we need to do more intense editing, we’ll typically use Adobe Premier Pro. If you’re new to movie editing, though, this program might not be for you. 🙁 Cost: $19.99/month.
Storage: We use Google Drive! We have a G Suite account with unlimited storage, which runs $10/month. However, you can get 30GB storage for $5/month. This comes with the capability to use firstname.lastname@example.org within Gmail, and we think that’s the bee’s knees.
Final thoughts on how to save time writing lengthy email responses
Because of the nature of our business at Content a la mode, using video responses has saved us an incredible amount of time. Our clients rave about it, too, and we think that’s important for client retention. What kinds of techniques do you use to save time writing lengthy email responses to your clients and customers? Share it with us on social media!