While I often discuss your small business marketing strategies I want to focus on something you probably use everyday. I am not referring to using email to strategically market your products or services. My question is aimed at day-to-day communications with your customers, vendors or business associates. As a small business marketing consultant I am often amused or amazed at how small business owners or professionals present themselves in their email communications. In many cases their ignorance of how to effectively use email can cost them business, credibility and profits.
As I remind clients or Marketing Workshop attendees, “Everything is marketing”. Every time you send an email or reply to an email you are marketing. It is a reflection of you as a business owner or professional. Think of your business email as though it was on your business letterhead.
How Can You Improve Your Emails to Positively Impact Your Small Business Marketing?
Here are a few of the basics to creating effective emails in your day–to-day operations;
- Make sure your e-mail includes a courteous greeting and closing. Helps to make your e-mail not seem demanding or terse
- Address your contact with the appropriate level of formality and make sure you spelled their name correctly.
- Spell check – emails with typos are simply not taken as seriously. It could reflect your ability to be detail oriented or whether you care or not about what you send them.
- Be sure you are including all relevant details or information necessary to understand your request or point of view. Some people write like they are being charged for each letter and hope the reader can fill in the missing pieces.
- Are you using proper sentence structure? First word capitalized with appropriate punctuation? Multiple instances of !! or ?? are perceived as rude or condescending.
- Just because someone doesn’t ask for a response doesn’t mean you ignore them. Always acknowledge emails from those you know in a timely manner.
- Always end your emails with “Thank you,” “Sincerely,” “Best regards” – something!
- READ IT OUT LOUD BEFORE YOU SEND IT. Once it is gone, you can’t get it back.
- Use an email signature. It positions you as serious business owner or professional and it increases the odds of being contacted. Keep it to 4 – 5 lines maximum. Include name, position or name of business, phone number( fax when appropriate), website and tagline.
If the email is especially important then let someone you trust look it over first. I have worked with clients to rewrite an email so that the message is clear and leads to the desired outcome. For one client I turned an angry response email to one that retained the relationship and would lead to referrals. Another client struggled for two days on an email. She talked to me and thirty minutes later she had the perfect email to send to her entire database. If you need help ask for it.
How you communicate with email is important. Make email work for you.
Whether you are using email for your small business marketing or inside your organization, treat every email as if it is important. Because it is!