Examine the etiquette of your e-mails

Dec 01, 2006

A study by Doubleclick showed that 57 per cent of email recipients considered a message to be ‘spam’ if it was irrelevant to their needs or their business, even if it came from a company they knew well.

The digital age has opened many different ways of contacting individuals. In Europe, nearly everyone has a mobile phone: PDAs and Blackberries are proliferating, practically every white collar worker has a PC on their desk and more than 50pc of homes in the UK have a computer.

This revolution has presented businesses with untold opportunities for low-cost contact and the volumes are so great that, for some industries, even low hit rates can provide incredible results.

However, many companies forget the basics of attracting attention, and you cannot build a relationship if you don’t make contact. You only have one chance to make a good impression and if one examines the classic e-mail shot, it nearly always comes from an anonymous address.

Of course it is sent to an email address but it rarely says ‘Dear Fred’ at the start, or ‘Yours sincerely’ at the end. The content is generic and rarely mentions your company’s name – it is bland, unattractive, irrelevant and impersonal; an immediate candidate for the ‘spam’ box.
So what can be
done to improve the effectiveness of digital communications? The cost of delivery is cheap compared to direct mail or telemarketing, so invest some of the saving to make your digital equivalent more effective. The following was compiled by sales improvement specialists Koru Consulting:

DO send your communication from a real person, do not be afraid to show their address and phone number. This shows openness and a willingness to talk to customers;

DO address the communication to your target (it is simple but very effective). End the mail with ‘Yours sincerely’. You would do that if you wrote a letter;

DO NOT send emails to impersonal boxes. These are unlikely to reach your target;

DO make the subject of the email relevant to the recipient’s business;

DO use the target company name in the email content;

DO be brief and to the point. You have less than 20 seconds to capture the attention of decision-makers;

DO ensure there is a benefit for the reader;

DO try a call to action;

Do think long and hard about any message you send. It will make it more effective;

Enquiries must be followed up. If it’s your name on the bottom of the mail, DO NOT delegate the follow-up;

DO use an email system or provider that can track what happens to the emails you send.

Such a system will let you know who shows sustained interest, or otherwise in your propositions.

For more information, visit www.jardine-michelson.com

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