Reviews & Profiles
A Fancy Way To Lose Business: Having poor email etiquette
Posted Tuesday, February 12 2013 at 00:00
We recently got a newbie entrepreneur client. Engorged with excitement at having a website that actually worked, the client asked us to set up e-mail complete with the company signature and logo because he wanted to get “started quickly on e-mail marketing”.
However, within a few hours I received a frantic call from him because he had received a message informing him that he had exceeded the sending quota.
Called in to investigate what seemed like an anomaly, I realised he had used a harvested list to indiscriminately send hundreds of e-mail to already harried business people, who probably marked them as spam.
I advised the client to open a Gmail account, which would provide more flexibility and leeway with e-mail, nevertheless with a caveat that Gmail too, had limits on bulk mail sending.
Satisfied that the client had mastered the art of how not to do e-mail marketing, I was astonished when they called me a day later to inform me that their Gmail address had been blocked.
There is a fine line between spamming and spreading the gospel of a great service.
The ease of e-mail use has, unfortunately, come with a laissez-faire attitude. Grammatical errors, uncapitalised names, misspellings, incomplete sentences, unsigned e-mails and spam, among a host of not-to-dos.
Because e-mail has become the first point of contact between you and potential clients, how you write will be the first impression you create. Hiring companies, customers, partners and prospects will judge your abilities, background, personality and professionalism by how your e-mails read.
The following are some factors to keep in mind for a good e-mail etiquette:
Mind your grammar and punctuation. All e-mail programmes now come equipped with spell-checkers. When in doubt, use Google by prefixing the word ‘define’ before the word you are checking. Poor grammar reflects poor education.
Use Bcc: (Blind carbon copy) when you have to send out bulk emails to unrelated persons, thus protecting other recipients e-mail addresses
Acknowledge receipt. Always acknowledge receipt of company e-mails with a simple ‘received’ or a promise to follow up.
Read carefully. When you receive automated e-mails indicating someone is on leave or vacation, read the instructions carefully of who to re-send the e-mail to. In one case, a niece of a Managing Director received an automated reply indicating that important e-mails should be forwarded to her boss in the U.S.
Whether it was temporary insanity or inability to read, the niece promptly articulated a very personal matter in an e-mail and sent it to the U.S.
Cross-check the recipients. I recall once accidentally sending my children’s pictures to a business contact, fortunately they were simply sharing a bunker, widely grinning. Correct your error by sending a polite apology.