We all use email every day. And while social media gets most of the buzz, it’s really email (social media’s less sexy roommate) that gets the work done, day in and day out.
All this means that if you own and operate a small business, you need to be sure that you’re taking full advantage of this wonderful tool. Step one is paying attention to how you come across when you send emails to other people.
Here are some thoughts about two commonly made mistakes:
A generic or hard-to-understand “from” line
Most of us pay a lot of attention to the “subject” line of our emails. It’s the headline and the thing that makes people open our emails in the first place.
But the “from” line is even more important because that tells the recipient who is sending the email. If it’s a friend, relative or company I do business with, I’m likely to open it regardless of the subject line. If I don’t recognize the sender, I probably assume it’s spam and click delete.
The other day I got an email message from “Theresa,” with a blank subject line. Well, even though I do know Theresa, she wouldn’t usually send me an email. I was therefore one neatly manicured finger away from deleting it until, at the last second, I remembered a Theresa I had contact with regarding some editing work a while ago.
Sure enough, she was sending me some important information, but it made me wonder: How many of her emails are regularly deleted?
Another similar faux pas is when the “from” line is simply an email address. That’s okay if your full name is part of your address, but not so good if your email address is something like firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s the solution? Try something like this: First and Last Name | Company. My first and last name, followed by my company name, either of which might help you realize who I am. You’ll find the vertical separator line that I use – “|” – by typing [Shift+\] or [Alt+124].
Not using a custom domain for email
You may not know this, but if you own a domain (e.g., www.marionmetz.com), you have the ability to create email addresses (email@example.com) that use that domain name (and sometimes at no additional cost).
However, I often see emails from small businesses and solo professionals who use Gmail, Yahoo! and other providers to act as their domain.
An example is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not only does this approach paint you as a hobbyist as opposed to someone who’s really in business, but it also represents a missed opportunity to help people find your website. When you create an email address that uses your custom domain, you are constantly advertising your company, as well as where it can be found on the web.
Like any tool, email is only as good as the way in which it’s used. Polish up your approach and start getting the full benefit from this important aspect of your business!
If you don't know where to start, contact me, I can help you.
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