Category Archives: Email Advice

Anne Orfila
Email Etiquette: Reply Required

Do you have a friend, colleague or client who never responds to your emails? 

In this web world, I believe that everyone knows someone like that. (Insert eye roll here.)

Email Etiquette: Reply RequiredWhen this happens to me, I begin to wonder: Did they get my email? Are they giving me a passive okay to proceed? Did my email get stuck in their spam folder? Maybe it’s a passive no? And so on. As you can see, it would’ve just been better if they had answered my email!

Working virtually in the web marketing world for many years, I have learned that responding to an email as soon as you can is really the right thing to do. The trouble is there is no Emily Post book of etiquette for web behavior so if someone doesn’t respond, it’s not “wrong” or “rude” but in my book of etiquette it’s just annoying! But I digress . . .

With 99% of my business dealings done online, I know that the way I respond to an email, and the timeliness in which I do so, is a reflection of me. My clients don’t get to see my salon-styled hair, my punctuality to a meeting, or my chic shoes so what they basically have to judge, for lack of a better word, me on is my interaction with them over email. So I better show them my best side, so to speak.

I have one rule – feel free to adopt it – when it comes to client emails:

Respond to the email whether or not I have the reply they need.

That means that even if I don’t have an answer to a client’s question, or if I haven’t completed their project, I will still reply to their email with something as simple as “Hi XXXX, Confirming receipt. This is in my work queue.” I do this so often that now my clients expect a response and in a few rare occurrences when a client’s email did not make it into my inbox – and therefore I did not respond – they have contacted me via phone to follow up. (Insert applause here.)

So, my fellow readers, if you take anything away from this post, I hope that you realize “silence is golden” in some circumstances… but not when it comes to replying to emails.

– – – – –

Now, if someone is cold emailing you (like to sell something) then do not feel obligated to reply, this netiquette is focused on people you know!

For more web etiquette, see my past blog post about “Old School Rules in the New Web World“.

Anne Orfila
Old School Rules Still Apply in The New Web World

I have been in the wild web world longer than many of you who are reading this. I’m a Gen X, not a Millennial. Most likely, the biggest differentiating factor between me and a Millennial who is doing the same type of web marketing work as I currently am, is that I worked in an office. Sure, sure, you’re saying that so have you. But my first job was in a serious mega corporation that wasn’t full of young people aspiring to hit it big with IPOs and stock options. My employer was already on the stock market and I had the bigwigs from New York breathing down my neck for sales revenue reports, forecasts, and whatever else they needed. This also happened to be my first job out of college. I was young, but eager to be a team player, and a fast learner. What I learned in those 3 years of corporate life was something I have taken with me to every job since. Old school office etiquette works wonders. Even in this current fast-paced web world.

Mind your manners in the wild web world. What is old school etiquette in the office? Basically, it’s using proper manners in the workplace. Etiquette applies to “netiquette” too! Show respect to your coworkers and their privacy, speak (or email or call) politely, mind your (political, religious, controversial) opinions, use “please” and “thank you” whenever appropriate, keep your voice down, ask to borrow other people’s office supplies, keep team members in the loop, show up to meetings on time, stay at home when you are sick (unless you are already home, then just be thankful for your work-from-home job!)

I’ve been working at home for more than a decade, but I never let my etiquette slip. Since my clients, and Web Marketing Therapy coworkers are all over the U.S., all of my work and most of my correspondence is done electronically so my office manners have been transposed a bit to fit the web world, but the gist is still the same.

Follow These Old-School Rules in Today’s New-School Web World:

  • Keep your emails clear, polite, to the point, and prompt. If there is something you need, be clear to ask for it…nicely!
  • Emails should not be one word or in all lowercase. I don’t care if you reply from your phone! You don’t talk in one word sentences (and even if you do), your emails should not just be one word sentences.
  • Address the recipient with a pleasant greeting such as “Dear xxx”, “Good Morning, xxx”. Not “Hey”
  • Confirm receipt of work emails from clients, even if you haven’t completed it. Occasionally something doesn’t get delivered and if your client is used to a confirmation, than they’ll know if you haven’t received their email.
  • Use “please” and “thank you” whenever necessary.
  • Your email subject needs to reflect what your email is about.
  • Don’t forward anything personal (jokes, political statements, funny cartoons, chain letters, etc.,) to clients, even if you are on “friendly” terms.
  • Stick to a basic font (Arial, Helvetica), in a “regular” size, and use black.
  • Do not use ALL CAPS, EVER.
  • No profanity belongs in any client email.
  • Temper the exclamation points, the bolded words, and underlining.
  • Avoid shortcuts for words: “u” for “you”, “bc” for “because”, “gr8” for “great” and so forth.
  • Use emoticons sparingly.
  • If there are multiple people on a message you receive, decipher whether it is appropriate to “reply all” or to just reply to the sender.
  • Keep your client or coworkers in the loop. You may be half way through a project, but it’s always nice to send them a brief status email update so they know that you are working on it.
  • Sign off your emails with a pleasantry such as “Sincerely”, “Warm Regards”, “Kind Regards” and include a signature with your contact information.
  • Notify clients and coworkers of vacations or times when you are away from your office.
  • Use your out-of-office assistant when taking extended time away from work.

Whether you are Gen X or a Millennial, don’t be afraid to throw in some old school office etiquette in the new wild web world. After all, courtesy, respect, and professionalism never go out of style.

Lorrie Thomas
Writing Effective Emails in the Workplace

Manners are not only important offline, but online as well. In today’s web and social media-driven world, etiquette now includes “netiquette”. Email communications are a major netiquette factor. Communicating effectively via email is an important aspect in today’s business (and marketing) world. Here are some strategies to shine on email so your email messages (direct and mass-marketing) matter.

#1. No Fluff.

Cut the clutter. Before you hit send, go back and take all the extra babble out.  We have the attention of goldfish online.  Get to the point.  Burdening someone with extra noise is rude. I get emails with long lead-ins and I also see a lot of passive talk.  What do you want to say?  Ok…own it. No fluff. An effective email should provide value in a succinct and clear manner and shouldn’t be long. Web users scan. Stick to the point. Bold words in sentences to help get your ideas across and ask for what you need in the email.

Not all emails are going to be fun to send. When you have to email a tough message, try the sandwich method. It’s a psychological approach that helps get the tough message delivered in a not-so abrasive way. This means starting the email nicely (this is the bread part). This part of the email calls for something positive. Then comes the “meat” of the sandwich where you give the must-deliver message. In this section, you address the issue. Remember, you still have to be respectful, professional and communicate clearly to get your email to sink in! Lastly, end with something nice. Sign it with an appropriate email closing. Thank you, Warm Regards…something that fits the relationship to the recipient.  One of our teammies at WMT jokes that she has wanted to respond to some emails with “Lukewarm Regards” – ha!

#2 Use An Effective Subject Line.

An effective subject headline is like an appetizer for the email (or shall I say eMEAL?). Make it count. This isn’t just for marketing emails, it is for ones direct-to-peers too. It explains what the email will be about. Key phrases help the email stay organized and accessible. Many of us get 100’s of emails a day. We search our emails for documents or old messages. If your subject line is vague, consider it lost. Words in an email subject line matter for attention and accessibility.

Research suggests that email subject lines should be about 28-39 characters.

#3.  Read Out Loud Before Sending!

Yep, you heard me. It may sound silly, but it works. Once you write the whole email out, read the message to yourself OUT LOUD before clicking the send button. And always, I do mean always, use spell check.

#4. Follow Up.

Email is a PASSIVE communication medium. Don’t ASSume that once you hit send, your message will be read or received. If you do, then I diagnose you as a passive aggressive email user. If you don’t hear back, follow up. If you attached files, make sure you re-attach the documents that were in the original document. It is your job to follow up and get the reply you need. If someone is not replying to your message, re-write the message in a more succinct manner or pick up the phone if needed. I often change the email subject to help get attention.

Online netiquette is part of the marketing umbrella. You won’t be taken seriously if you don’t communicate seriously, so don’t rush when it comes to writing. Think as email etiquette as part of your brand. Happy emailing!

Virtual Marketing Hugs!


Mixing Emails and Emotions Can Be Deadly

Email and emotions can me a deadly mix when it comes to brand or professional management.  This advice applies to you individually as you email with customers and potential customers. My advice today is also is something you will want to share with your employees so they also are mindfully helping your organization with reputation management.

Professional marketing Rx: If you emotionally charged, don’t shoot off emails.  Stop. Step away from the computer.

Pause.  Breathe.

Remember you don’t have to reply that very second OR use email as a way to communicate (this may be a shock, but there are other methods of communication!!).  If you have to throw your smart phone away to resist an emotional reply, then do it!!

Email is a passive communication medium and medically, email and emotions don’t mix well.  They can be death to customer service, brand management and sales.

If it helps, type your thoughts to get them out of your head…but do it in a word document (or something less likely to be sent).

Emails (and texts) can be forwarded, misinterpreted and after they are sent, they usually cannot be taken back.

Marketing is all about productive communications – remember that our brand is not just dictated by a logo, but in all areas of how we conduct ourselves!

Virtual Marketing Hugs,
The Marketing Therapist 🙂

Healthy Marketing Reminder – Email Netiquette

I read a great post today by Paul Foster, The Business Therapist on Email Etiquette Reminders.

Marketing isn’t just about advertising –  how you communicate can dictate your credibility and sellability.

Today’s Marketing RX is to read these Email Etiquette Tips for a healthy marketing reminder to present yourself in a way that is on-brand and on-purpose.

Thanks Paul for the great tips!  Here are my favorites:

-Create a concise and to the point subject line
-Do not over-use the ‘mark as important’ function
-To reply all, or not to reply all – be aware that ‘replying to all’ involves all the recipients in the entire email string.
-Say thank you, again – if someone completes a task, responds quickly, or simply ‘does their job’, a nice friendly thank-you email can go a long way for employee happy-tude.

Read the full Email Etiquette Reminders article!