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9 Important Ways You Can Beat Bad Email Etiquette

You send and receive more than 115 business emails on any given day. But how many of those do you actually read? How many do you start with such high hopes, then see something so irritating that you can’t even read on?

What started out as a promising exchange shifted in the blink of an eye, leaving you annoyed and the email in the Trash.

Bad email etiquette happens all the time. And, sure, it drives you crazy. But what if maybe, just maybe, you’re guilty of some of these email faux pas? Here are a few ways to beat bad email etiquette and make your customers look forward to seeing your message pop into their inbox.

  1. Slice and dice your list for better segmentation

In today’s digital playground, our major players have already been trained to expect some kind of segmentation. People just expect to be categorized by demographics, so it’s really not revolutionary to see an email specific to their gender or age group anymore.

But with a plethora of technology available, there’s so much more you can do to break down your list. By using dynamic content or subscriber-selected topics of interest to hone in on messaging, you can figure out what really matters to your recipients. And, this segmentation will help you break down your groups even further to drive a more relevant message. Relevance ramps up revenue.

  1. Realize that one size does not fit all

With more than 100 billion emails sent and received every day, email is still the predominant form of communication in the business space, according to email researchers at The Radicati Group. But email isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing. Unfortunately, though, too many brands act like it is.

Sending out an e-blast to your list of subscribers is going to take more effort than the return will show. You can’t expect a single message to resonate with the multiple personalities you’re reaching out to, even if you think your buyer personas are mostly the same.

Worse yet, these efforts could actually hurt your relationship with your customers. A blast email shows your customer any prior communication with the company meant nothing – they’re just a number on a list rather than a real person your brand sees value in.

  1. Get to the point

A brief message can go a long way. Ever been in a conversation where the other person just kept talking (and talking, and talking) well after they made their point?

Getting a rambling email gives off the same vibe – no one wants to waste their time with the extra chatter. And, the digital format means they don’t have to – they can just dump you in their trash. Not really the reception you’re looking for.

Take only as long as you need to get your message across clearly. Ann Handley, the world’s first Chief Content Officer and author of Everybody Writes, said the idea is less about cutting words than it is cutting the extras.

“The notion of brevity has more to do with cutting fat, bloat and things that indulge the writer and don’t respect the reader’s time. Keep it tight.” -- Ann HandleyClick To Tweet
  1. Get personalized (but not personal)

“Hi <<first_name>>,” isn’t personalized. Just because you’ve added someone’s name, and maybe their title and company into the greeting doesn’t mean your email is suddenly transformed into personalized content.

We’re living in an era of low trust in society as a whole. Only 18 percent of consumers say they trust business leaders today. But at its core, business is human – even b2b sales.

No business actually sells to another business; we sell to the people who work in and for another company. People want to feel like they’re buying from their best friends, from someone who has been in their shoes, and has found the hidden key to success. They want to work with, and spend money on, companies that are honest, authentic and dependable.

  1. Add a call to action

There’s no point in sending out an email if it doesn’t prompt the reader to take an action, or at least lead a consumer down a path to an action in the future. Make sure every point of communication has a clear CTA so your customers aren’t left wondering why you even sent the email. Plus, having an understandable CTA leads to higher click-through and engagement rates.

  1. Check your numbers

Believe it or not, only 29 percent of marketers look at ROI metrics to gauge an email’s effectiveness. Forgetting about these metrics could mean that tweaks aren’t made to improve the performance of your email campaign, though.

Track your deliverability, open and click-through rates. Consider A/B testing subject lines, CTAs, sign-offs and dynamic variables to understand the messaging that best resonates with your contact.

  1. Proof, proof and proof again

Just thinking about the all the times I’ve had to send the dreaded “Oops, attachment actually included,” email makes me cringe. Double (and triple) checking your email before sending can save you from the little mistakes that add up over time, disengaging your customers. Little accidents like forgetting to include an attachment or including a broken link can have huge consequences for your campaign – and those still to come.

Pay attention to the little details, like the subject line. Make your brand approachable by choosing a clear, friendly sender name to differentiate your email from spam. Then, once they do open your email, make sure they don’t regret it by providing a clear message, free of typos.

  1. Optimize your send time

Timing can be a defining factor in the reception of your message. You probably already have their last purchase on record, and maybe their birthday. Or maybe you have intel into their shopping cart – and if it’s been abandoned with goods still stacked inside.

Use that information to optimize when you shoot out your next email, and what it’ll say. By sending your message at the right time, you can make sure it’s relevant and engaging for the receiver.

  1. Key in on key information

This one should be a no-brainer, but to avoid the trolls saying I skipped it – here it is. Include your contact information in your emails. Tell them who you are, why you’re emailing and how they can get in touch with you. Your email signature tells the recipient who the email is from, sure, but it’s also pretty useful in re-establishing your relationship with your customers and promoting your brand and messaging to your clients.

Adding up to three social media handles and blog links give readers a window into the latest company news and updates, making them feel more connected to your brand and, in turn, more likely to do business with you.

About the Author: Dan Hanrahan is the Founder & CEO of Sigstr, which makes it simple for marketers to take control of branding and marketing in the employee email signature. His experience spans across technology recruiting, ecommerce, and marketing technology. He’s played key roles at companies like Brooksource, iGoDigital, and ExactTarget.