used with permission from Microsoft Office Blogs
Every day, inboxes are packed with more than one billion emails. For small businesses, the challenge to set yourself apart and establish what your business represents in a single email can feel daunting, but it’s easier than you think.
Follow these five simple—yet highly effective—strategies to convert the customer, close the sale, build your brand and continue to build your small business through effective use of business email.
- Create a custom email address for your business—Show you mean business, and get taken seriously with aproperly formatted email address. If you use your personal email, you’re not communicating all the potential your business has to offer. Instead, format your email as [email protected]
- Use the To, CC, and BCC lines strategically—Eliminate the risk of unnecessary replies or over-filling inboxes. Ask yourself a few questions to determine if a BCC or CC line is the right choice. Do the contacts know each other (or need to)? Does every recipient need to read every response? Respect recipients’ privacy by placing contacts in the BCC line and add people in the BCC field to eliminate the opportunity for “reply all” blunders. While you’re at it, consider waiting to fill all To, CC, and BCC lines once you’ve drafted and proofread your email. This eliminates the risk of an email “misfire” and gives you a chance to think about what you’ve written before pressing send.
- Write smart subject lines—A catchy or motivating subject line enhances the chance your email will be read. Create a subject line that’s focused, personal and shows the value or urgency of reading. To create click-worthy subject lines, combine a few action-based and topical subject line elements with an added value to readers.
- Include a clear next step—Include clear calls to action with precise next steps. Whether you want readers to follow a link, call a number, reply to your email or something else, state it clearly and make it easy for them to follow through. Need a question answered? Don’t dance around it. Ask the question in the beginning of your email, and prompt your recipients to answer toward the end.
- Proofread—Spellcheck will only get you so far. Don’t just proofread for spelling and grammar; check that your tone is appropriate to the subject matter. Be careful of jokes and sarcasm, as humor can easily be mistaken and misunderstood. And check for one of the most common email errors: referring to an attachment but forgetting to include one.
It’s amazing how impactful simple email strategies are, and you will see the results as you implement them into your small business email communication plan. Once you’ve implemented these strategies (and proofread one more time, for good measure), you’re ready to send.