This week, I’m taking a look at business email.
As a business, you really shouldn’t be using a personal email address. As a client, which email address would you see as most professional?
It’s about perception and following through with your brand. If your website is built on the domain claresflowers.co.uk , then that should be part of your email address to. It’s more professional, a “real” business.
Your email address – The next decision is to look at the first part of your email address. This is most commonly info, but, it’s one of the worst you can choose. Why? Well, it’s the first one spam email will try (remember I said it was the most common). It’s also not very personal. The best choice, in my opinion, would be your first name i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org. But it doesn’t have to be it can be all sorts of things such as: mail, contact, enquiries, sales, help or expert, the list goes on…
When is the best time to reply to emails? ASAP after you receive it. Think about it… if a client sends you an email enquiry, it is at that moment that they’re thinking about the product or service you offer. If you can get back to them straight away, even if it is to say, “hi, I got your email, let me take a look at your enquiry and I’ll get back to you with a proper reply a little later”, it’s going to boost their impression of you.
You could have a little autoresponder that does this for you, but a personal reply is always best.
Experiment with your email replies. Over the years, I’ve found that a template reply that works well for months, but can deteriorate re how well it works over time. Change things about, experiment with short, longer and detailed replies. Monitor what you do and the effect it has.
Set up an auto signature for your email. You know, one of those like you see at the bottom of emails from big companies with a scroll signature, a little photo of the person and their contact details. It makes you more “real” in that people like to deal with people. This also has the effect of putting a face to a name as well as making sure your details are always handy for the client if they read the email and then want to give you a quick call.
Let’s look at the way email works. It used to be that almost all email accounts were what’s known as POP (Post Office Protocol if you were wondering). But that’s been superseded by IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol (catchy name!). The big difference is that IMAP leaves your messages on a server and you access them from there. This is great as most people now have multiple devices on which they access their email. The old POP system used to download the messages to the device, meaning if you checked your email on your desktop, laptop and phone, you’d have to open/move/delete on each. With IMAP, because the email sits on the server, all devices show what you’ve done with the email.
The drawback to this is people don’t download their email to their device and so can rapidly fill their email quota on the server and their email will stop working. Also check your settings on your devices as quite often the junk and trash mailboxes are set to never, or after a month to delete messages in those folders.
Hopefully, your email account provider has also given you direct access to where your email is located on the server. It’s worthwhile logging in once in a while jsut to check that you aren’t missing any messages as sometimes devices don’t show all of your messages.
I find the best solution is to have my email accounts split down to various folders. I have one for enquiries and then one for each client (as I’m working with them) and other for work completed in a given year. Email account search facilities are very good and can usually find the email your looking for if you type in the name of the person or even a keyword or two from the email content.
This also means the email is stored on your desktop/laptop (which off course you back up) so securing your emails.
Email is an often overlooked part of the way we do business, but is a critical part in how we are perceived by clients. Get it right – go and have a look at what you are sending to your clients now!
Well, that’s it until next week.
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