The Five Rules of Email Etiquette
These five rules of email etiquette are useful not only to small business owners making critical communications over email, they are the general rules for all professional email communication. They are especially important for small business owners, however, because generating new business and forming relationships between professionals is critical to the success of a small business, as any marketing agency will tell you. Email marketing can also be an effective way of finding new customers and making them aware of the benefits of your products and services. Ad agencies can write marketing emails for you, but it’s a good idea to know the rules of email communication in the business world. Here are the five rules of proper email etiquette:
- Never write in all capitals. Any written message in all capital letters communicates a raised voice. You shouldn’t be yelling at anyone in your business relationships—your employees, ownership partners, and certainly not your vendors or any other outside partners. No one wants to be yelled at. Even if you use capital letters to emphasize a few words, you’re giving the impression that you’re yelling those words at recipients. If you must emphasize certain words in an email, underline, italicize, or bold them, and use those emphases sparingly. The wording of your email should imply where the emphasis goes.
- Use a mail merge or BCC recipients. This is especially important if you’re sending out many sales emails at once. Using a mail merge in a program like Microsoft Outlook or putting the long list of recipients in the BCC line avoids creating a massive list in the “To” line of the email form. Every marketing agency knows that you have to make your marketing message easy and painless to read. Clients get annoyed at having to scroll through a thousand email addresses to get to the message, especially if they’re using their smart phones to read the email.
- Never discuss confidential information via email. Emails are easy to copy, print, and forward. By putting someone’s confidential information in an email, you’re creating an unnecessary written copy of that information that can be hacked or stolen. Don’t risk unwanted parties reading sensitive information on your partners or clients.
- Use abbreviations and emoticons wisely. Emails are not text messages. Ad agencies use email marketing to sell your services and brand. Don’t appear unprofessional by sending a winking smiley face to a potential client or partner unless you have met with them face-to-face, know them well, and know that sending an LOL or a 😉 won’t damage your professional relationship with them.
- Don’t ask for delivery and read receipts. This will likely annoy your recipient before he or she even gets to the body of the email. Many email software programs don’t have a delivery and read receipt function. Many users block this function. If you need to know whether someone got your email, ask for confirmation in the body or the closing section.
These five rules will help you use the resources provided by your marketing agency more effectively and communicate that you know what you’re doing and that you mean business. In addition, we caution our clients against bombarding customers with sales emails. If you use email as an effective tool by following the above rules, you won’t have to send a multitude of marketing emails to get business.