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!