E-Mail Etiquette

We’re going to share some thoughts about Electronic Mail, commonly known as E-mail.  It’s been around for a long time, in Internet terms, and it’s been the subject of controversy about it’s impact on the U.S. Postal Service and regulation of the Internet, among other topics.  Not long ago it was thought to be doomed and relegated to the scrap pile.

It’s still here!  Some thoughts on E-mail correspondence from the perspective of marketing your business and branding your products … along with some other thoughts.

Send E-mail button

Keep it short.  The nature of E-mail is the message should be brief.  Although wider bandwidth is now available to transfer larger files, the reader of your E-mail is expecting it to be a message that can be quickly read, digested, and responded to, if necessary.  If you have to elaborate, do it in the attachment and capsulize what is attached in a short message in the body of your E-mail.

If you find you’re exchanging E-mails back and forth with someone in a short period of time, pick up the phone and call them.  You can convey some emotion on the phone.

Identify the subject.  You undoubtedly have certain people – like family and friends – whose E-mails you open automatically, whatever the subject.  For everyone else, put the content of the E-mail in the Subject line.  Granted, it may mean they won’t open it if they believe it has no relevance but the odds increase if that subject line catches their attention.

Be proper.  All capitals indicate swearing or yelling in text and E-mail correspondence.  Take the time to use correct grammar and punctuation in your E-mails.  Think of it as though you were sending the recipient an actual printed letter mailed in an envelope – but also think of it as a reflection of your brand and your business.  Avoid run-on sentence structures.  Keep sentences short and readable.  Separate major points in paragraphs, so your E-mail is easy to read.  Recipients rarely read the entire E-mail.  Remember that.

It’s your image.  Create and use a signature for your E-mails that reflects the brand you want to create in people’s minds.  Provide contact information so they know how to reach you, including links to your websites and blogs and perhaps a phone number.  Add a disclaimer if you’re relaying confidential information, which means you may want more than one signature unless every E-mail you send contains confidential information.

If you’re upset and want to send a nasty reply to someone, we advise that you write your response but wait a day before you hit the “Send” button.  If you still feel the same way the next day and don’t need or want to re-write the E-mail, go ahead and hit “Send.”

Be careful.  E-mail correspondence may be used against you in a court of law, so caution is urged when using it in personnel issues, contracts, or other potentially legally damaging areas.  You should have an E-mail policy for your company and employees, and if you do, get it reviewed by your legal counsel or human relations consultant.  You can also use E-mail to market your products and/or services, and consultants can be engaged to help with this, too, but be wary of getting branded as a spammer.  Get permission first, if you can.

Keep in mind that hitting the “Send” button doesn’t always mean the recipient receives your E-mail.  Check your Spam filter every once in a while to see what we mean.

Brand Your Work – Work Your Brand