Email Etiquette – Is it hurting your brand?
It has happened to all of us. We get an email that looks like this:
THANKS SO MUCH FOR MEETING WITH ME YESTERDAY. I REALLY ENJOYED LEARNING ABOUT YOUR MARKETING AGENCY LOCATED HERE IN DENVER. DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE ANY INTEREST IN OUR SERVICE OR PRODUCT? IF SO, PLEASE LET ME KNOW. THANKS! SINCERELY, KEVIN
So what is my first (or second) impression of this person…… That they don’t know how to properly write an email! Why are they writing everything in all caps? Is this guy yelling at me?
Whether we like it or not, people are making assumptions and creating a perception about your business, your services and even you through every impression they receive from you. This is especially true in branded communications from your company.
Ad agencies such as ours typically work on creative projects for clients as well as branding, strategy and media management. But we don’t focus as much as we should on all those little pieces that contribute to whether your audience has a positive or negative image of your brand. All of these little things can range from the layout of invoices, the way the receptionist answers the phone or in the case above, how well your employees (or yourself) write emails.
Email is so commonplace in the business environment today that is has overtaken all other communication channels. Think about it: you spend more time sending emails than you do talking on the phone or actually meeting in person! So there should be an emphasis on proper email etiquette and protocol. We outline a few for you below (some more obvious than others!):
- Correct grammar and punctuation – This should be a no-brainer, but this is business email not a drunken text to your girlfriend.
- Be informal, but not messy – It’s ok to have a casual and relaxed conversation, but still write out complete words and sentences.
- Use case correctly – As stated above, using all caps looks like you are shouting. It also gives the impression you are a bit lazy and sloppy. What client wants to work with someone who is lazy and sloppy?
- Do not overuse the courtesy copy feature – Please! This is a personal pet peeve of mine! If there are a group of people that need to be included in an email string, by all means, include them. However, they typically do not need to be aware of every little joke and response to the string. This can clutter up a clients’ inbox which can frustrate them. I know it frustrates me.
- Tone doesn’t translate well in email – If you are trying to convey an emotion like sarcasm, it doesn’t always come across that well through email (I always say we need a sarcasm font). Any misunderstanding can lead to a significant problem with a client. Why risk it?
Any marketing agency will advise any business to ensure all your employees, contractors and staff are writing complete, cohesive and correct emails that your 8th grade English teacher would be proud of! It will make certain that your client and customers aren’t receiving an impression of your company that would in any way cause them to doubt your professionalism, quality and integrity! A small thing that can have a big impact.
Adam OLeary, President