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Traci Riley Tip of the Month: Issue 3
By Traci Riley

Last month we explored the concept of using a good email subject line. We now recognize that the first step is getting your audience to open their email. The second step is getting them to read it and respond.

There are many rules out there on proper email etiquette. Some are very simple and others take more thought. But with practice you can implement some or all of these suggestions on email etiquette and find that your emails are making a big impact. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to highlight a few of the more essential suggestions to get you started.

For The Sender

  • Stay focused. This is exactly what we’ve been saying about web content in general. So once the email is opened, make it powerful. Sending short, separate emails tends to elicit more response. But, if you do need to have a few points in one email, make sure they’re numbered. You want your recipients to respond to all points, not just the first one.
  • Make it readable. Spell check. I forget to do it all the time. Make sure you don’t! Keep it professional. Use standard writing methods, capitals and punctuation. DON’T TYPE IN ALL CAPS! It makes any message seem like it’s shouting.
  • Identify yourself clearly. Make sure there’s no question who you are or how to contact you.
  • Include your call to action. Put it in the subject line, the beginning of the message, and then repeat it before the close of your email.
  • Privacy is not guaranteed. This is a written representation of your word. Everything you write should be written with this in mind. Also, don’t forget that email is not secure. Inappropriate or heated emails may make their way toward administrators, management and other officials.
  • Blind copy. Don’t forget about that great little “BCC” line. It’s a great way to handle sensitive information. The blind copied recipients have names that are hidden.
  • Review, review, review. Make sure you triple-check your message. Don’t hesitate to ask a co-worker for feedback before sending those important messages. It could make a difference between embarrassment and success!

For The Recipient

  • You send a lot of emails but you receive just as many. You have a job as a recipient of emails as well.
  • Respond promptly. You don’t like to wait for responses to your own emails, so show the same courtesy and respect to the senders of your emails. Make sure you respond to all of the email, not just a portion of it. I’ve done this before and it’s embarrassing to admit that I wasn’t giving my full attention to the message.
  • Reply vs. Reply All. Show restraint when it comes to the reply button. Do you need to hit “reply all” or would it suffice to just hit reply? You can always add just the recipient names that are involved.
  • Stay neutral. Finally, don’t hesitate to ask for elaboration if you don’t know how to take the message. Tone is difficult to convey in email and is open to the interpretation of the reader. Make sure that you question anything in the most neutral way you can.
  • If all else fails, use your common sense.

Traci Riley has worked in marketing in the technology industry for 8 years. She spends her days with Katalyst Solutions researching and writing to be a “katalyst for your online success.”

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