Communication etiquette and strategy for email
E-mail is rapidly becoming a tool of choice in the communicator’s inbox, and over the past few years, the number of mails have proliferated.
However some of it is an abuse of my inbox, and my time, as it takes effort to look at the subject line and delete it.
Most of the e-mail I get is ‘safe’ and ‘decent’.Several layers of spam protection and security protect me from the rest of the junk. But some things still slip through. Let’s start here…
The days when teachers asked me if I did my homework or my mother asked me if I brushed my teeth are long gone. Why then, do people insist on sending mails that ask me if I have read them?
I will read an e-mail if I want or need to read it, and respond to it when time permits. If it is spam, I won’t give it the time of day, let alone respond that I have read it.
E-mails that ask for proof that I have read them are an insult to me.
And if the sender is not sure that the e-mail is important enough to be read, then it shouldn’t be sent in the first place.
Next… I don’t do cute, or self-improvement or anything like that. The last time I had a theological discussion with anyone, it ended with a mob carrying pitchforks and flaming brands congregating on my street. Keep puppies, kittens, religion, moralising and all of that junk that crowds the signature section of the mail away from me.
You are welcome to send me e-mails with links to really fascinating takes on business. I
Next… I don’t believe that Microsoft is going to give me money for referrals, or anyone else.
I know this for a fact, because I checked it up on one of a huge number of sites about web hoaxes. Don’t send them to me.
And while we are on that topic, make closed mailing lists. I don’t want everyone having my e-mail address. Or just remove me from the list.
Here’s the next thing. Graphics should only be put into e-mails by people who are competent to do so.
Huge background graphics and logos are not welcome.
Find out about optimising graphics and make them small enough to send. Here’s a hint… if your e-mail is larger than about 400 kb, you need to go back to the drawing board.
Now here’s the most important point. Just because you are Namibian, and just because you have heard that you can send me an e-mail with your special offers for the day, doesn’t mean you should.
In fact, you definitely should not because I may be kind once or twice, and I may give you a warning, but I am actually very likely to report you as a spammer, which means you will spend several painful and embarrassing hours trying to get your e-mail reinstated.
E-mail is personal space that is shared with others. Treat it with respect.
The main piece of advice is to use e-mail according to a narrowly defined strategy based firstly on the recipient’s relationship to the brand, and the relevance of the mail itself.
The initial point about e-mail was that it could reach the right people. In the case of the marketer or business communicator, the address list must be almost solely driven by those who have an interest in the product or service.
The address list must be developed on the basis of actual consumers, rather than hit-and-miss assembly of all the e-mail addresses available.
To illustrate this point, I still, occasionally, receive special offer mails from a company that sells women’s clothing.
The second point is that the mails must be relevant. I do not want to spend time with other people’s ideas of entertainment. If I open the mail, I want immediately useful information and advice, and possibly then, a bit of entertainment, but related to the brand.
This engages me within the parameters of my interests and makes the brand valuable to me.
E-mail is actually a very quick study, and surprisingly easy to produce in the marketing mix.
The better you are able to produce it, the better the effect and results.