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Horrifying Email Etiquette

Horrifying Email Etiquette
Josh Donelson

With Halloween on the horizon, I thought we might share one of the most frightening stories. Gather around your screens boys and girls, and let me tell you a tale of Tim. Tim was just your average digital marketer. He woke up every day and brewed his cup of coffee before waiting for his PC to kick on. Despite your inclinations, Tim using a PC is not the scariest thing about this story. After his computer booted up, he sat down and began to click through the emails received from the night prior. “Ah, an email from the boss-lady,” Tim says to himself since he works remotely.

Tim,

Do you have the quarterly reports ready for the Johnson account?

Stevie Nickson
Boss Lady
Professional Email Signature

Reviewing the information, he begins to craft his reply. The window opens, and he starts to type. “I hope this email finds your doing well.” Several fluffy words later, he responds to Stevie letting her know that the report will be complete by the end of the business day.

Stevie, ready and awake for the day never thought she would encounter something so frightening on a seemingly innocuous day such as today. Receiving an alert that Tim has responded to her email, she clicks on the notification. Overcome with fear, Stevie averts her eyes searching her memory for something to distract her from the sheer terror of what she just saw.


Hello,
I hope this email finds your doing well. I will have the report for the johnson account over to your by the end of business. -Tim

Spelling, punctuation, format, oh my. Communication is key in any organization. Whether you are reaching out to clients or coworkers, using proper email etiquette can help you, and your recipient stay on message. The moral of this story is…

Using proper email formatting

By now, you would assume that everyone is privileged to the proper structure and format of the ever-popular email. However, in our experience, we have found that this is something that people tend to overlook. When you draft your email, you should start with

A salutation,

Followed by important information spaced accordingly. Once you finish your email, close it out with an

Email signature.

Keeping this structure will draw the readers eye to critical information that you need them to know. Speaking of email signatures, lets elaborate.

Use a professional email signature

Depending on the purpose, your email may be part of your digital marketing mix whether you see it that way or not. That is why it is important to maintain a professional brand identity with a proper email signature. Nowadays, email signatures have exceeded the traditional name, job title, and maybe a URL. More often, people now include promotional links to social media channels, scheduling tools, premium content, and review tools.

Tim Thomas
Terrible Emailer
Learn how to create terrible emails here!

Think of your email signature as a more versatile business card. Maybe you just met a great contact at a networking event or struck up a conversation with a potential lead in passing. Your initial touch-point is crucial, so make sure they know who you are, what you do, and how to extend their connections with you. Speaking of initial touch-point, make sure it is warranted.

Leave the spam in the can

I have three different emails. One for work, one for personal, and one for the never-ending string of promotional emails that somehow continue well after you unsubscribe. Point being, spam is something that no one likes (unless you are this guy). If you are reaching out to a cold lead or making the initial point of contact, it is important to make sure you look professional and deliver a clear message.

I recently filed for a trademark on a brand. After many automated email updates on my account, an employee contacts me from USPTO office. This was entirely out of the norm, no professional email subject or signature, and a message that threw legal jargon with prices and no explanation. Thinking this was spam, I deleted the email. It wasn’t until I received a phone call asking why I have yet to respond. Fast forward three months to an email received from “Apple.”

Seems legit right? I was immediately contacting Apple Support to ensure this was incorrect. Who is Beverly and why did I get this email? Just the simple use of a more professional layout prompted me to pay attention. Minutes of my life I will never regain thanks to the spam. Lesson learned? They got my attention with a maintained branding and thought out email template. So, why is that important?

Use custom email templates

Unless our team is communicating in a conversational way, we always use email templates. You likely landed here after viewing one of our custom-designed email templates. When working with our clients to better set them up for success, we always suggest using an email template that organizes key information in a logical manner and creates a strong brand identity.

Branded email templates are just one of the many building blocks in a strong marketing mix. Sure, you can use the canned templates provided by your email marketing platform, but why look like anyone when you can stand out and capture the attention of your audience? Think of this as a long-term investment. A single, well-designed template can be replicated for every campaign unless the content or purpose differs from the previous mission. Once the design is in place, now it’s time to make sure your message is on point.

Less guff, less fluff

Right now you are likely being hit with advertisements, likes, comments, shares, data, emails, should I keep doing? In a constant state of feedback and information, time is important. Time = Money (money = power, power = pizza, for the Parks and Rec fans out there). When crafting your message, it is important to drive a strong message that is direct and informative. Don’t waste your readers time with fluff lead-ins and off-message banter.

Things to avoid:

  1. Soft lead-ins like “I hope this email finds you doing well.”
  2. Small-talk about unrelated topics
  3. Using vague, nondescript language like “ASAP, soon, etc.”
  4. Too many ! and unnecessary emojis
  5. Overly informal language
  6. Over-explain your personal stories

Things to include:

  1. Strong opening statement related to email subject
  2. Include timelines and dates
  3. Strong next steps to cut down on their need to gain clarification in a follow-up email
  4. Highlight key info with headings, character formatting, or list (like you are reading now)
  5. Language tailored to your audience
  6. Relevant graphics, links, or attachment

When you reader can easily understand and digest your email, you will find that you have optimized both of your times. Now, I am not saying you can’t be informal and have a bit of small talk about topics that have been referenced before but think about what is important. Do they need to know you are leaving early today to take your kids to the museum or that you are out of the office for X medical reason? No. Keep the message in the confines of your working relationship.

If you exercise these simple steps, you will find your email decorum will improve, time will be optimized, and your response rates may increase. Remember, take small steps to improve and do not rush to the finish line. If you need help designing email signatures, building custom email templates, or simply want to find your brand voice, click here and drop us a line.

Josh Donelson
Josh Donelson
Marketing Strategist
Oct 18th, 2018 • Marketing, Trends

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