Using E-mail Effectively... Part One

E-mail has become the preferred way to communicate with family, friends, and customers. But are you using e-mail to your best advantage? People receive a large number of e-mails every day and in order to be effective you must be sure they are opening yours.

Here are some basic rules to keep in mind when using E-mail to market your business.

Your E-mail Subject Line: This is what people use to determine if they are going to read your e-mail or just delete it. To be effective your subject line should:

Use the Blind Carbon Copy Feature (BCC): Have you ever received an e-mail where the first couple of pages were filled with the e-mail addresses of everyone the e-mail was sent to?  How did this make you feel?  I tend to have two reactions: 1) Anger that this person just gave all those people I don’t know my e-mail address and 2) that it is junk mail and nothing that I need. This is not a good way to introduce your business. Use the BCC feature whenever you send the same e-mail to several people. Or better yet, use a software application that allows you to send a personalized message to each recipient.

E-mail Formatting: E-mails should be short, sweet and to the point. If you have more than one topic to cover, announce this at the beginning of your e-mail. People tend to skim their e-mail first and then if they find it at all interesting they will then go back and read it more thoroughly.

E-mails should have proper spelling and grammar. Either use the spell checker that comes with your e-mail program, or write the e-mail in your data processing program and then cut and paste it into your e-mail. The proper use of upper and lowercase lettering and not using e-mail shorthand is also important.

E-mail correspondences are not as formal as business writing.  The tone of the e-mail is more like a conversation. In general, you should:

E-mail Reply Tips:When replying to an e-mail do not include the entire original message. Do include enough of the original message to refresh the recipient’s memory.

Use Your Signature Files: These files are attached to your e-mail and sent every time you send an e-mail. These files should include your name, business name, web address and phone number. 33% of all Web site "hits" come from following links in e-mail signature files.

Before You Click "Send": Before you send an important e-mail, you should send a test message to yourself or a colleague.  Check to be sure that the text is formatted properly and displays the way you want.  Also check for typos, errors, or omissions.

April 1, 2001

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