Category Archives: Netiquette

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.

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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“.

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!

 

Web Reputation – What to Do to Alleviate Bad Internet Baggage

The wild web is growing and getting wilder. And with that comes the fact that we cannot always control what is being said – good or bad – about our organizations, businesses and our personal brands.

Here at Web Marketing Therapy we sometimes have clients and friends ask us what they can do to help mitigate certain unwanted search results about them or their organization from popping up on the web. Unfortunately, you can’t control what others are posting, but you can make an effort to get your positive messaging to the top of the search rankings.

Googled

Step One: Google Yourself

Take survey of what the internet is saying about your personal brand or organization. Regardless of what you think, people are searching for you on the web, so you should take the time every once in a while to see what is circulating.

If you aren’t popping up on the top of list try to be more specific in your search:

  • To help narrow your search try using quotation marks around your name: “Aiden Anderson”. This technique makes Google search the exact words in your search and helps to keep irrelevant web content from popping up.
  • If you or your organization shares a name with someone or something you can narrow your search down further by eliminating those other possible search results. Example: “Aiden Anderson – author” will eliminate any use of the term author with my name.

Step Two: Practice Patience

If you do find negative web results, such as a crappy Yelp review, don’t panic. If you don’t find any results for your company, don’t panic. While we all want 5 stars and a perfect online reputation, you must keep in mind that the web is a constantly evolving entity. The key to getting positive internet news, reviews and search results up is to make sure they are being putting out there in the first place, this is where step three comes in.

(Note: If you do find negative search results, don’t click on them! This boosts a link’s search ratings!)

Step Three: Content Makeover

  • Check your organizations current content. If your only web presence is your personal, public Facebook profile of you doing a keg stand or someone else’s mean spirited review of your company then you need a) follow some social media netiquette and remove any web stuff that is off brand that you can control (ie. make your personal Facebook private, or remove inappropriate pictures from Twitter) and b) make an effort to increase your web presence in a positive way
  • Create On-Brand and On-Purpose Content. By creating on brand messaging on your company website, blog or social media accounts you are ensuring that content you control will be more likely to come up in searches. Always remember that content is key. The more quality content you put out there the more likely it is to pop up in searches and this can help to push negative content down in the search rankings.
  • Encourage Positive Reviews. If you have clients and customers that voice their love for your organization then take advantage of that by requesting they post a review on your Yelp or Google Places page or where ever your reviews are gathering. However, you must be sure to make it as easy as possible for them do so: Create an email template or print a card with step by step instructions and the exact url they can visit to post their positive review.

online reputation

And if it makes you feel better, don’t be discouraged by negative reviews. People who voluntarily post reviews tend to be extremists in their opinions of a service or organization, so it helps to encourage those who normally wouldn’t do a review to actually get posting.

Your online reputation is important, but a few negative search results don’t have to be the “be all, end all” of your company web presence. You can influence search results by getting content out there, getting higher in the rankings and pushing the negativity deep, down, below the good stuff.

Tuesday Top Blog Posts Breakdown

Today is Tuesday Top Blog Posts Breakdown and to kick it off – we will review the top blog posts for 2011. Enjoy. (In random order below.)

My Fave Pic for 2011

My Fave Pics for 2011

Honorable Blog Category Mentions:

If you have a favorite WMT blog post that we forget to mention, please let us know!

Marketing Therapy Savior Phrases

As I manage my client’s web marketing (as well as my own!), I tap the power of some super marketing therapy phrases that help maximize communications and results.  Marketing doesn’t manage itself – it takes control, leadership, momentum and partnership.  Feel free to steal these phrases below (it’s ok to be a web marketing kleptomaniac!) for your own arsenal of marketing support as you continue to learn, give, grow and love the business of making marketing (and marketing management) part of your business!

Marketing Therapy Savior Phrase #1 – “That does not work for me.”
I use this phrase a lot as it leverages the power of choice.  We CAN choose who we work with and how we do business.  I can’t tell you how many times I have to coach clients out of unhealthy relationships (with lousy vendors or web services).  As The Marketing Therapist, I evangelize that breaking up is NOT hard to do when things don’t work!  If  you want success, you have to own it and that starts with cutting the crap!  In the web marketing world, there are a million ways to approach things – choose value (and cheap isn’t always value, it’s service, advisory and scalable investments).  There is so much noise out there with emails, tweets, Facebook updates, text messages and more.  With the many options of who we work with, what we pay and how to run our marketing, stop and ask – does this work for me/my client/my company? If the answer has any version of “no” in the equation, then stop, drop and roll out a better way.  Fix things that are not working – you cannot have marketing change unless you are willing to change!  Own that “this does not work for me” then communicate what you want and need with partners, colleagues and team members.  Marketing work requires management -choose to manage things that add value to the bottom line (education, services, products, analytics, creativity, work executed, etc).

…and I dare you to start using “This does not work for me” or “that does not work for me” in live language.  It stops people dead in their tracks.  It is a phrase that evokes power and really puts you in the drivers seat.  When I say this personally or professionally, it goes undisputed (and I feel like I go from my not-so-tall height of 5’3 to 6’3!).  Who can argue when you say something doesn’t work for you…it’s your perception, that is not very arguable!
Marketing Therapy Savior Phrase #2 – “Help me understand ______.”
This phrase is the biggest helper when you are trying to converse with another party (in business and in life) when you don’t agree, are upset, frazzled or trying to get to a resolution.  This web marketing savior phrase helps keep marketing management focused by omitting any defensiveness by the party you are trying to work with.

“Help me understand” use example:  Let’s say someone is doing something for you that makes you frustrated, upset or overwhelmed as it relates to your marketing.  We tend to judge and fear what we don’t understand.  Instead of saying something that is finger-pointing like “you are always late in getting me these reports” try “help me understand why these reports always come late?”.  It is human nature for people to get defensive – statements that are accusatory often turn into defensiveness, not constructive problem-solving talk …so don’t go down that road!

After you ask “help me understand____” say nothing else and let them reply (either verbally or via email).  The responsibility is on them to educate you —you never know, the “why?” may be something that is really understandable OR can be solvable…they key in marketing management is understanding, “help me understand ____” will get you there.

Marketing Therapy Savior Phrase #3 – “I need help”
Admitting you need help is the first step to marketing recovery.  When it comes to marketing, accepting that we need help can help us do what we do better and also educate us for future work.  This phrase is often the most difficult to put on paper or speak, but I tell you, when this phrase is used, it breaks down barriers (mentally and emotionally) that move you towards more meaningful marketing.

“I need help” use example: Let’s say you are hearing all about social media – you “should do this and you should do that” kind of stuff.  Asking an expert to help you with with an area that is not your unique ability shows the expert that you are ready for help AND makes you open to receive the help.  Do what you do best and pay others to do the rest.

Do you cut your own hair?  Do your own surgeries?  Practice your own law?  …I doubt it.  Ask marketing experts for help (many of us offer free consults) and get ready to get supported.

These phrases become useful only with practice.  Put them on a sticky note and tape them to your computer – practice makes marketing more perfect!

Netiquette Tip: Tweet Responsibly

A common marketing therapy session question is “how do I use Twitter to get more business?”

Since this is such a common question, I thought I’d answer it here to support more passionate professionals.

Web Marketing Therapy Advice:  Know netiquette and tweet responsibly!

Twitter Netiquette is simple:

-Tweet things that are of value to your target customer
-Be a web “gemologist” – gather great tips from web sources so people follow you as THE source
-Serve and support (don’t overtly sell – being overly salesy on Twitter is a turn off)
-Give to gain (retweet other people’s great tweets to show your presence and build a like-minded following)
-Communicate (that means two-way conversation) DON’T push propaganda!

Twitter, (like blogs and Facebook and email) is a way to share thoughts, interesting thoughts of others, website links and to COMMUNICATE AND COLLABORATE.  Twitter is not an advertising forum.  You use Twitter to share and care.  It takes an average of 7 touch points to make a sale.  Twitter can be a way to be more visible on the web, to build your credibility and to help be another place to build awareness, share information, connect, serve and (eventually) help support sales.

Post any “Ask the Marketing Therapist” questions on the blog or email us so we can keep supporting you.  And if you want to read up more on Twitter, we have a great (and free) “Twitorial” on our website – click here to read!

Virtual Marketing Hugs,

(aka The Marketing Therapist)