This post has been migrated and imported into different systems over the years, I have not had a chance to format this post manually so it may be hard to read but I have left it here as a reference.
The importance of email correspondence can’t be underestimated, as it is one of the main business communication means today. While the paper form of communication is always formal and official, email correspondence leaves you a lot of space to vary your style, structure and the level of formality. This is especially important in direct sales, where individual approach to every client is crucial. In this article, I’d like to outline some important aspects to make email correspondence work the right way.
Subject line. The first thing to consider is the magnetic subject line. The idea is to make your reader interested in your letter by any means, so make it catchy and involving. Try to make the subject line in a similar style with the email body if possible, though it is not necessary. It should not be too long as well - try to make it totally clear in just a few words.
Style. The document body should not necessarily be strictly-structured, but it has to contain some important parts. They should include: links to your website’s main and product pages, contact details and some special links, so-called “call to action”. Those are extremely important to make prospective clients interested, since they are created specifically for them. These “call to action” links may point to press-releases, presentations, guides, etc. Try to create something of a value even if it isn’t that significant. The great way to understand what meets your target audience better is to read statistical reports or even order a targeted survey. These will help you determine what style of an email suits your client expectations more. The next important thing to consider, if you add something more than just a plain text, test your email on the smartphones and tablets. Many of your clients will read your email on the go, so it has to look attractive and readable there.
Size. In most cases, the shorter email is, the better chances are that it will be read in full. Always check if all the information is useful, and remove anything that may mislead a client. If there is no way to keep it short (you have too many offers, for instance) in one email, don’t send several emails in a short period of time – either send them with at least 3-4 hours break, or leave it as just a single email. If you choose the last option, try to make it look really nice and personalized. Highlight the most important parts with bold or italic and use the eye-friendly colors. To save size and prevent your emails to be marked as “spam”, try not to include attachments – links work better and are much more effective.
Timing. Sending emails too early or too late will make your business suffer. Sales emails, for example, need to be sent not more than a week and not less than three days before the actual sales start. The letter with technical questions has to be answered as soon as possible - if there is no solution found you have to send a work-in-progress email no later than several hours after you’ve got the client’s request. Follow-up emails and reminders are very important as well. Not only they have to be sent in time (few days after the first email), but always remember to make them personalized – the client has to be sure that he/she is the only recipient. You can use follow-up software (like the one by Tickletrain.com for example) to handle this task for you.
Email correspondence plays a crucial role in your overall business success. Always remember who your target audience is and create your emails keeping this information in mind. It is important to create professional image – so try to respond instantly. And don’t forget to keep your email history – it will save plenty of your precious time in future. Did I miss something? Feel free to share your comments below.
Alan Donton is a community and marketing manager at TickleTrain, a developer of an easy-to-use, yet multifunctional email reminder / email follow-up solution for daily business use.