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Email Etiquette: How to Present Your Business Through Email

EMAIL ETIQUETTE: HOW TO PRESENT YOUR BUSINESS THROUGH EMAIL
 January 10, 2023 |  Business Tips, Inspection Tips, Marketing |  client satisfaction, small business, time management, networking

By Stepha Vesper, NPI, Inc.'s Senior Communications Strategist

Running a successful small business is all about relationships. In the past, relationships could thrive solely over dinner and phone calls, but the way that professionals communicate is rapidly evolving. Today, business owners must learn how to communicate over email in order to grow and maintain relationships, but sometimes the way to do that isn’t clear.

Let’s review some of the latest standards of email etiquette, including how to conduct oneself to reinforce professionalism.

Dress Yourself Well
In person, it is important to maintain a professional appearance. In some industries that could mean a suit and tie, whereas in others that might mean wearing a well-groomed uniform. In the same way, business owners need to have a good email appearance that conveys that same sense of professionalism.

Especially when emailing a prospective client or an unfamiliar potential partner for the first time, the email address is the first impression. Use an address that contains your business name, and ideally one that does not use public-use domains. For example, every National Property Inspections franchisee receives their own npiinspect.com email. An email that conveys a direct association with a business rather than something too general or personal does a lot to build credibility.

Creating a professional signature is another strong way of presenting yourself well in an email. A strong signature includes the sender’s full name, business title, company name, and contact information. To go a step further, signatures that include a headshot and graphics with on-brand colors and logos shows that the sender is part of an well-established business. Strengthening these aspects makes an email pass the “first impression” test with flying colors.

Monitor Your Language
Moving past the superficial details and into the content of an email, there are a few key aspects that drive home a professional tone. In the past, standards for general language were very strict and narrow in emails. However, as email has increasingly become a part of daily life, casual language has gradually become more acceptable in the professional space.

Depending on the industry and your familiarity with the recipient, a flexible tone is more acceptable today, and sometimes can even be preferable. Still, conversations with new clients should always be as professional and respectful as possible.

Start with a standard greeting (Hello [name], Good Morning [name], etc.), and avoid things like “text speak” over too many exclamation points which can create a sense of over-eagerness. When looking to incorporate humor, remember that text-only communication lacks crucial tone and facial expression which comes along with face-to-face conversation. Sarcasm can easily be misconstrued as rudeness, and humor generally has a high chance of being misunderstood. Sometimes, it is just better to save jokes for other venues.

Respect Their Time
Develop good responsive habits over email to prove your interest. Oftentimes, the difference in where a client might choose to do business depends simply on whoever replies the quickest. A good rule of thumb is to respond to every email in no later than 24 hours. In situations where more time is required for a quality response, a shorter email communicating a timeframe will be much appreciated.

A good way to track your email conduct quality is to consider whether the “ball” is still in your court. In this analogy, whoever has the “ball” is with whoever needs to respond next in an email chain. Professionals should strive to reduce the time that a client is waiting for a response as much as humanly possible. Rather than leaving a conversation vague when additional research is required before a response, try replying with a quick, “Thanks for the message, I will follow up with you within [x-timeframe].”

Further, strive to respect your clients’ time as much as possible by recognizing their preferred working hours. In many industries, conversations can take a pause during the weekends. Waiting to send a response early the next Monday allows for the opportunity to disconnect for all parties involved. Though this may seem like a difficult balancing act, erring on the side of being overly-responsive is usually preferable to leaving a client hanging.

For more information on how to speak with a frustrated client, check out our recent blog on the topic. To join our network of expert home inspectors, check here for your next steps!

 

About the Author
Stepha Vesper, Senior Communications Strategist
Stepha has more than five years’ experience in marketing, content creation, SEO and copywriting. Her favorite part of her job is assisting franchisees with their digital marketing strategies so they reach their goals that much faster. When she isn’t at work, Stepha is going on adventures with her husband, Zach, perusing used bookstores, reading or writing.


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