The number one activity online is email even with the growth of broadband internet and new Net tools such as podcasting. A Gallup poll found over 67% of Internet users send and receive email regularly and email outranks other online activities including shopping, downloading music, or reading blogs.
Email communication is nothing more than write and click ... or is it? Although email use has proliferated; proper and professional email use has not. It's easy to resist the need for email management and manners. Look at the telephone. It's assumed we never had to learn how to use that.
Actually, when Alexander Graham Bell first created the phone people were baffled on how to use it. The new technology presented challenges of how to answer the phone, what could be discussed, and what was the best use for the device. Even today after a century of using the phone, businesses continue to enhance their learning of better phone techniques.
Now in the Internet age, the email represents the new technology we must master. Take home these email management tips to effectively take control of your business email communications.
6 Simple Savvy Small Business Email Tips
Collect' Em: With the low cost of email communications, email trumps more costly marketing methods such as direct mail and telephone. A study by Jupiter Research found email campaigns targeted with web analytics can produce 18 times the profits of broad mailings. Relentlessly collect customer and lead email addresses all the time. Use a contact management program to handle your growing list.
Remove Barriers: Customers want fast and easy communication from companies they want to do business with. Your website contact page should have your email address. Asking web visitors to fill in a form to send a simple mail will stop many in their tracks. Gather more customer information once you have gained the initial contact. If you are worried about being spammed, invest in a good spam protection program.
Avoid Sensitive Issues: Never handle sensitive issues by email. The chance for miscommunication can make matters worse. There are times when you need to pick up the phone or set up a face-to-face contact instead of taking the easy way out with email. When you are full of emotions, stay clear of your email.
Handle at Once: Don't fall into the trap of reading emails and thinking I'll respond later. Later never arrives and soon your inbox is full of important and unimportant mail. Scott Allen, Co-Author of "The Virtual Handshake" recommends "Most people configure their email reader to interrupt them every time an email comes in. This means you are interrupted throughout the day. Instead, we suggest keep your email reader closed most of the day. Only check email once a day."
Use the 10 Second Rule: We all lead busy, time-pressed lives. Receiving a long-winded email with one big paragraph creates a response to file for later use. Readers have a tendency to skim and miss critical details. Before you send out your email message, edit down to short sentences, add bullet points, and be concise. When someone opens your email they should be able to know within 10 seconds or less what your message is about.
It's the Law: Know the rules of using email in the business world. Be aware of the laws and regulations in your business, industry, country, and state surrounding email usage. Our world is becoming increasingly transparent and customers expect your small business to handle their data in a private and confidential manner.
Incorporating these 6 simple business email tips will put you on the road to effective email management. Spend the time to master the essentials of email. Once the habit is established your small business will be email savvy.