E-Mail: The Most Important Online Communication Tool in Your Marketing Toolbox

By Terry Williams

In the online world, e-mail is the most important contact you have with
prospective clients, current customers and business associates! After
all, e-mail is all about communication, so CLARITY should be your
ultimate goal. Have you ever thought about what your recipient thinks
about YOU and YOUR BUSINESS, based upon the e-mail messages you send
them? You might be very surprised!

Rate Your E-mail Writing Ability

Take A Quick Little Self Test

I recommend trying this quick 5-step e-mail self test before you send
out your e-mail:

1. Write the e-mail and when you are finished, run it through a spell
checker.

2. Read the e-mail back, out loud. If it is a long e-mail, print it out
to make this task easier; if not, just read it from the screen.

3. Make any corrections that are needed, then take a 5 minute break and
do something else, then read it out loud again.

4. Make any additional changes and decide if it is the way you want it
to go out.

5. Send the e-mail.

It may seem like quite a bit to go through, especially if you are
sending out a lot of e-mails every day but I think you will find that
your outgoing mail will become more effective and it even could create a
few sales in the process. Once you get the hang of it, you can probably
remove step 4 and possibly step 3 to shorten the process.

Some Tips For Writing More Effective E-mail Messages

Before we get into the message of the e-mail itself, we need to discuss
the SUBJECT, TO and FROM sections of the e-mail first. These three items
have a major effect on the eventual outcome of your e-mail message.

1. E-mail Subject Line

When you are browsing through your incoming e-mail, how do you decide
which ones to look at first, or at all for that matter? By the SUBJECT!
Just as in ad headlines, the SUBJECT is the most important part of your
e-mail message. So how do you get your e-mail looked at first?

ï Always include a subject line in your e-mail.

ï Make the subject line meaningful to the recipient. This is where you
use keywords about the content of the message. Don’t use all capital
letters as it is commonly considered as SHOUTING. Use words that invoke
an emotion if possible.

ï If you are replying to a message but are changing the subject of the
conversation, change the subject too ó or better still, start a new
message altogether. The subject is usually the easiest way to follow the
thread of a conversation, so changing the conversation without changing
the subject can be confusing to the recipient and could cause your
e-mail to be deleted.

2. E-mail To & From Headings

Use personal names if possible. Most e-mail programs allow you to use a
textual string that is attached to your e-mail address. Look in the help
file of your e-mail software to find out where to place your name. A
personal name attached to your address identifies you much better than
your address will by itself.

ï Use a sensible personal name that identifies you to your recipients.
Once you build goodwill with this name it will be worth a fortune.

ï Use personal names of your recipients. If someone re sponds to you
using their own personal name, reply back to them with the same personal
name. This will create a more personal relationship with whom you are
communicating.

3. The E-mail Format

You want to format your message length and content based on the
conversation and the tenor of the communication. Your personal messages
will look and feel completely different than your business messages and
if you are only making a quick query, then keep it short and to the
point.

ï Keep the content on subject. If you need to change the subject in the
middle of the message or branch off onto a totally new and different
direction, then it’s often better to send a new message.

ï Use capitalization sparingly. Don’t type your message in all CAPITALS,
it’s extremely difficult to read and considered by many as SHOUTING.
However, you might want to use a short stretch of capitals to emphasize
a point.

ï Use correct grammar and spelling. Mes sages should be clear, concise
and to the point.

ï If your e-mail program supports fancy formatting (bold, italic, etc.),
be careful not to over kill. There are still quite a few e-mail programs
that cannot display these features and your e-mail looks terrible to the
recipient (they will also receive all the codes and no formatting).

4. E-mail Replies

How many times have you received an e-mail with the entire original
message in cluded in the reply? These e-mail messages take quite a bit
of time to download. Here is the appropriate way to reply to an e-mail:

ï Include just enough of the original message to refresh the recipient’s
memory. Also, you want to set off the original context with a marker.

ï Always check the TO & CC headings. I’m sure you have received an
e-mail with 50 or more e-mail addresses on it, usually spam, and someone
hits the reply button and doesn’t remove all of the addresses and
everyone gets back the same message. This is not only careless but
annoying.

ï Make sure before you reply, that a reply is really warranted.

5. E-mail Courtesy

E-mail is all about communication with other people and some basic
courtesy goes a long way.

ï Use please and thank you.

ï Make sure you send someone at least a quick “I received your request
and will get back with you by tomorrow” type message.

ï Use smiley faces to put body language and emotions in your e-mail
messages.

ï Praise someone in public and chastise in private.

6. E-mail Signatures

Most e-mail programs can automatically add a signature to the end of
your messages. Make sure your signature announces your USP, identifies
who you are and includes contact information (phone, fax, URL are
usual). Keep your signature short, four to seven lines maximum.

The Bottom Line

E-mail is one of the most important marketing tools any business
utilizes for writing and communicating. Always remember that you are
dealing with people and people come in all shapes, sizes and
personalities. Like any other tool, e-mail should be used with purpose
and care! If you apply the “quick little self-test” provided, you will
be well on your way to mastering e-mail. HBM

Terry Williams has been marketing online for over two years and his
articles have been published in numerous ezines and is a leading expert
in online marketing. He publishes a Free Bi-Weekly Online Newsletter
“Internet Marketing Issues”. For a free subscription, e-mail
subscribeimi@intersuccess.com, or visit
http://www.intersuccess.com/imi/. He has also written two books,
“Discover Online Marketing Success” and “Advertising On A Shoestring”.
You can review the details of these books and also some of Terry’s
Information Reports by visiting his web page at:
http://www.intersuccess.com/bkstore/newsindex.htm.

Originally Published at http://www.homebusinessmag.com/

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SMB Reviews
SMB Reviews 473 posts

SMBReviews is committed to providing small and mid-sized business owners with the information and resources they need to select the best service or product for their company.

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