Something’s been on my mind lately…it’s business email etiquette. Now, there are quite a few resources on email etiquette, and most are fairly simple:
- Be professional and courteous in business emails,
- Don’t send or forward inappropriate content,
- Make sure your subject line summarizes the content without being overly cute,
But there are a few more tips about email and business email etiquette that you could probably use a refresher on. So first, here are a few tips about email etiquette that you probably don’t know:
You Might Be Breaking the Law
Hey, did you know that if you’re sending mass emails from your email address instead of from an email newsletter management tool, you just might be breaking the law? The CAN-SPAM law sets certain parameters that any business that sends out commercial emails must follow. And if you’re not following those laws, you’re breaking them. Worse, if you’re in Canada, you have even stricter laws than in the U.S. businesses must follow. Pay attention: each violation can cost $16,000.
[bctt tweet=”Got $16K per email? If you’re sending emails from your email account, you might be breaking the law. “]
Side note: STOP Adding People to Your List Without Their Permission!!
I get emails all the time from people who have met me once, asked for my card, and then added me to their mailing list to start sending me junk emails. It makes me so mad! If I just met you, I would certainly welcome a personal email from you, saying how nice it was to meet, but if I get a canned, automatic “Welcome to my list” email? You’ve just lost any chance of me hiring you to do anything (You should consider hiring me, however, to teach you how to use email properly to generate business for you).
[bctt tweet=”If I just met you, a personal email is nice. Your email newsletter is not.”]
Your Signature Might Get Your Email Rejected
If you have a long or complex signature, your emails might be getting sent to junk mail. Specifically, when you include web addresses in your signature file, some companies will just automatically send you to the spam folder. In fact, I’ve had companies actually return my emails as “undeliverable” simply because I included my LinkedIn profile URL in the signature line. So. Frustrating. But it happens.
[bctt tweet=”If you have a long or complex signature, your emails might be getting sent to junk mail. “]
You Should Respond as Promptly as Possible
In this day and age, people seem to think that replying to emails promptly (if at all) is optional. Problem is, each time you don’t reply promptly to an email (and I’m talking about within the same day or two), you’re showing your clients and prospective clients that they aren’t important to you.
[bctt tweet=”Each time you don’t reply promptly to an email you’re showing the recipient how unimportant they are.”]
And remember – if you’re frustrated when people don’t respond to your marketing emails, think about how people feel when you don’t respond to theirs. Even a, “Thank you for reaching out, but we’re not looking for this right now,” email is appreciated when someone has put their time into contacting you (but note that this tip doesn’t apply to marketing emails that contain the “unsubscribe” button at the bottom – that’s a sign that they haven’t contacted you personally and you can delete and ignore without hurting anyone’s feelings).
You Have an Autoresponder – Use It Wisely
Autoresponders: everybody has them, so few people use them the right way. I know there are some people who recommend that you use an autoresponder all the time, for productivity reasons, to tell people when you’ll be checking email, how to contact you in an emergency, and whatnot.
Remember, though, that you do business with people and autoresponders remove a significant part of the remaining human element from the exchange. What do you think it feels like to a prospective client to contact you and receive an autoresponder that essentially tells them how unreachable you are? Does it make you look impressive, somehow, or does it give them the impression that you’ll be hard to reach (which, just in case you didn’t know, doesn’t make you overly appealing to people who are going to want to do business with you).
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