Business Email Guidelines
Email Guidelines and Etiquette
If you truly want the internet public to view your online company
as a legitimate professional business, you must portray the image
of a professional business, in everything you do. One part of this
process, involves handling email in the manner that the public expects
from a professional company.
Could your email practices be sabotaging your efforts at building
trust and confidence in your business? Your approach to email correspondence
can be vital to developing credibility in your online business.
Although I certainly recognize there are various definitions of
professionalism, standard business email guidelines and etiquette
are applicable for any company conducting business on the internet.
A Professional Signature
At the foot of every email, in addition to your name, include
your business name, website address and contact information.
Your email signature should be short and simple, a maximum of
A Relevant Subject Header
Take the time to determine the primary topic of your email
and use it in the subject area of the header. Many busy professionals
determine if they need to open an email based entirely on the
A large percentage of internet users have their email configured
to send and receive only plain text emails. If you use HTML formatting,
it may not have the appearance you planned on when they read it.
Most major companies use plain text formatting for email correspondence.
Unexpected Images and Attachments
Today's internet users are rapidly becoming more educated about
safe computer usage. They will often look at unexpected email
attachments with mistrust and as an unwelcome arrival in their
inbox. You also need to consider that nearly 50% of internet users
access the internet through dial-up modems. If unexpected images
and attachment lock up access to their email for 45 minutes, they
are not likely to have a positive viewpoint on your correspondence
This really comes down to projecting a professional appearance.
Most companies use plain white backgrounds for correspondence.
Again, you also need to look at drastically increasing the download
time of your emails for dial-up users by using stationery backgrounds.
Read Receipt Requested
Your business contacts and customers will not appreciate your
email settings being configured to request a "read receipt" for
every contact. Some may view it as simply an irritating inconvenience,
while others feel it infringes on their privacy. Read receipts
should be requested on a very limited basis, and ONLY when confirmation
is truly necessary.
Spam Blocking Programs
What happens to the credibility of your company when a customer
who has just made a purchase through your website, receives the
following message when they tried to contact you for delivery date
"550 5.7.1 This system is configured to reject
mail from [email server] (Host blacklisted - Found on Realtime Black
List server ['bl.spamcop.net' or 'sbl-xbl.spamhaus.org'])"
imagine the irritation of a potential client receiving a message
similar to the one above, when they sent your company an email,
requesting more information.
Do you really believe that they will try other means of contacting
Talk to your email service provider. Make sure that you have
complete control of how spam is handled in your account. You should
NEVER choose a program that prevents email from reaching you. If
you feel it necessary to filter your email, choose filters that
mark suspected spam rather than deleting it automatically.
Challenge Response Spam Prevention Programs
Do not even consider using a program that uses challenge response
technology, (such as Spam Arrest) to help limit spam. This is major
pet peeve for many people.
I'm protecting myself from receiving junk
mail. Just this once, click the link below so I can receive your
emails. You won't have to do this again. You are receiving this
message in response to your email to ____, a Spam Arrest customer.
Spam Arrest requests that senders verify themselves before their
email is delivered. When you click the above link, you will be taken
to a page with a graphic on it. Simply read the word in the graphic,
type it into the form, and you're verified. You only need to do
this once per Spam Arrest customer.
Please think about this for a moment.
This method comes across that you are implying that you feel that
your time is far more valuable than my time is. Since you do not
have the time to properly take care of spam issues, you prefer that
I take my time to do it instead.
Control spam by using good prevention measures before the
spam ever begins.
Use effective methods of preventing the spammers from using
your email address to begin with. If you already have a spam problem
because you have not previously done this, do not expect your potential
customers to take the time for you. A large percentage will simply
move on to your competition.
Automatic Address Book Update Programs
Do not use automatic address book update programs, such as
Plaxo. First of all, it APPEARS that you have shared my email
address with a third party without asking my permission. You are
telling me that YOU will not share my email information, but if
I click on that link, it is not YOUR site that I am entering my
"I'm updating my address book. Please take
a moment to update your latest contact information. Your information
is stored in my personal address book and will not be shared with
anyone else. Plaxo is free, if you'd like to try it."
concerning not sharing my email address. All of the assurances in
the world are not very helpful, because it sure LOOKS LIKE you have
already given this company my information, since the form pops up
pre-populated. This is simply not a professional business
Again, it comes across that you are inferring that your time is
far more valuable than mine. Since you do not have the time to keep
your address book updated, you prefer that I take my time to do
it for you.
Email Guidelines for Small Business Owners
One of the challenges you face, as a small business owner conducting
business on the internet is building trust and confidence in your
company. Taking special care with all the little things can and
does make a tremendous difference in your success!
I WILL DEFINITELY SEE YOU AT THE TOP!
Texas Web Designer and SEO Training Specialist
Owner GNC Web Creations and Online Photography Magazine
Link to Business Email Guidelines
What Role Does Email Play in Business Credibility?
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Link to Business Email Guidelines
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