Get Your Emails In Order

Your emails are an instant, and lasting method to communicate with your customers, suppliers, stakeholders and staff members.  They are mission critical to virtually every business now, and yet we see many, many people using this service in a way that is really not making the most of it.

Here are several easy steps to take to get your emails in order:

1. Get an email address @yourdomain

You wouldn't run your business using a public phone booth's phone number...right?  So why do so many businesses use free email accounts, that are simply promoting someone elses business and demoting their own level of professionalism?

Using an email address is not only unprofessional, but you're actually missing out on an easy, free way to market your website, and maintain your brand presence.

The only pre-requisite to having an email address @yourdomain is to register a domain - we give you an email address for free when you do this, and it only costs you $40 + GST per 2 years, why on earth would you not do this?


2. Get set up an email signature, and use it - every time.

Cheers, {yourname} might suffice if you're emailing your mate down the road, but when you're dealing with customers, suppliers, and partners, your level of professionalism might well be what separates you from the rest of the people that your contacts are dealing with.

A good signature is something along the lines of the below:

Kind Regards

{Your Name}
{Your Title} - {Your Company}

Phone: {Your Phone}
Mobile: {Your Mobile}

Email: {Your Email}
Website: {Your Website}

{Your logo}

You should set up your signature on your computer, webmail, and on your mobile devices, so your level of professionalism in your emails carries across every time you hit reply, or compose a new message, even on the run.


3. Get your spelling, punctuation, capitalisation and grammar write right correct

There's a common theme on this list - professionalism.  Any there's a really easy way to look unprofessional via written communication, and that's to use the wrong grammar or spelling, or DOING SOMETHING LIKE WRITING IN ALL CAPS!

A few simple things to watch

  • Capitalisation - Start each sentence with a capital, Not Each Word.
  • When addressing the person you're replying, make sure you get the spelling of their name correct, I'm sure Jon doesn't appreciate being called John, and Aaron certainly doesn't like being called Arron.
  • Try not to end every line with an exclamation mark! (It's kind of like making ALL text on a page bold, it loses the impact).
  • Watch your "their, there and they're" and your "your and you're"
  • Avoid TXTLISH - people you're communicating with don't want to have to decipher what you're trying to say, so avoid BTW, BRB, LYK,KEWL, and other horrid abbreviations invented by teenagers or SMS communications.


4. Address your user politely and courteously

Did you know that the way you open your email has an impact on how the recipient will interpret everything else you say in that email?

Here's some clarification of what different opening lines convey to the user:

  • Hi {First Name} - Is a friendly way to open an email to virutally anyone you're emailing, and will generally put the user in a receptive mode for the rest of your email.
  • {First Name} - Indicates that you are being short, or grumpy, and is likely to make the recipient think you don't really want to be emailing them.
  • No intro - just launching into unless it's a person you're emailing back and forth in a conversation, or someone you deal with very regularly is likely to come across as if you don't think the person is important enough to address by name.
  • Dear {First Name} or Dear Mr/Mrs {Surname} - Is to be used more formally, e.g emailing the head of a large company, your boss, or someone a few levels higher than you on the organisational chain, or simply politely addressing someone you're emailing for the first time.

If you open your email with the right tone, you'll find that your recipients are more likely to read your email, and more likely to take the time to consider what you're saying in your email positively.


5. Reply in a timely manner!

Even today, there are actually people out there running businesses who check their emails once a week, once a day or similar.  This is fine if it's just your personal emails, but if they're business related emails, as soon as you possibly can is best.  Considering the majority of the population carries a smart phone, this is just not acceptable these days in business.

I've got a few simple guidelines to follow when it comes to replying:

  • Reply as soon as possible.  I try to reply to every email within the hour it arrives in if I'm in the office, or within that business day if I'm out and about.  If I have something that needs me to collect some information, or is dependent on someone else before I can reply, I'll always send a holding reply stating exactly what it is that I'm doing, e.g "Hi {Firstname} thanks for your email, I'm waiting on {person x} to provide me with the information I need to be able to {complete your request/provide you with the information you've requested}, and I'll get back to you as soon as possibly.  {Signature}.
  • Don't write your answers in the body of the previous email if you can help it.  Only if there's absolutely no other way to present the information should you do this.
  • Address ALL of the queries raised in the email, there's nothing worse than asking 8 questions and getting 2 answered.

Remember that when people are enquiring via email, they're probably enquiring at all of your competitors as well, you may well find that the first to reply will get their business, so don't let it go.  

Also, don't believe anyone who professes the absolute nonsense that you shouldn't reply too quickly to emails because it makes you look like you're not busy - it's complete rubbish, if you reply quickly, you're efficient, and show that you value the person's enquiry, and people like to deal with people who are efficient, and value them.

That's our 5 steps to getting your emails in order, contact us if you have any questions or would like some assistance with your emails.

If you have something to add - please use the comments below!  Or feel free to share this article.

Last Updated: Thu Jun 18 08:19:13 2015

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