First off, let me offer a disclaimer: This article is NOT about those "sales letter" emails that a lot of us use to promote our businesses. Rather, I would like to discuss those OTHER emails....the ones that get ignored, overlooked, and even swept under rug. That's right, I want to discuss those plain, everyday, "correspondence" emails and effect they can have on your sales and marketing.
I work in a business where about 75 to 80 percent of our communication is done through email. That means I get to read a LOT of messages, and it is really surprising how many of them are either hard to understand or easy to misinterpret!
It is my opinion that, even though email is seen as being a "secondary" form of business communication, we should look at it as we would any other type of writing -- that is, as a permanent document that our customers and associates will use to judge our credibility.
The main problem, I think, is fact that email is so instantaneous and so easy to use. It's very easy to think of email as being something that doesn't really matter, so we just jot off an email without thinking about it, just as if we were chatting in a conversation. Unfortunately, this often leads to messages that are hastily thought out, hard to understand, or -- worst of all -- written in anger.
This shouldn't be case -- we should make sure that our e- correspondence is as well-thought-out as our sales letters or office memos, and that they show qualities that customers look for -- things such as a commitment to quality, friendliness, and service.
To help create this kind of image, here are a few simple suggestions. These are mostly common sense, but as I mentioned before, it's often easy to forget these things when you are in a rush to answer those 300 messages in your "In" box!
* Make sure e-mail is best way to communicate your message. In other words, know when NOT to send an email. For instance, sending an Email is almost instant, but that doesn't mean that email is quickest way to get in touch with a client. Most people will only read their email once or twice a day, which means that if you need to get in touch with a person right away, you probably will want to call them.
Confidential information is also best left off of email, for two reasons. First, Internet security is getting better and better, but there are still many ways that your sensitive email can be "hacked into" by unscrupulous individuals. The second problem, which I have heard about more often than I would like, is fact that with one simple mistake, you or your recipient could send a sensitive email to whole corporation!
* Be correct in your writing. It's amazing how many emails get sent without benefit of punctuation, capitalization, or even full sentences. Not only does this make it harder for reader to understand message, it gives reader impression that sender is either sloppy or incompetent -- or that they don't care enough to take time to send a proper message.