Posted by: Jane Dominguez, CPA | December 10, 2009

Every Email is Advertisement

Every Email is Advertisement


Every time we send an email or an employee sends one, it is an advertisement about our company, our products or services, and us. Intentional or unintentional, every business email is PR, a distinguishing commercial. It is vital for us to portray the right image. Do our emails make us stand out against the competition? Do they inspire confidence in our expertise? Do they entice people to buy our products and services? Do they encourage customer loyalty?

Advertisement is defined as a form of communication used to influence individuals to purchase products, services, or ideas. Advertising and marketing professionals know the importance of style and format. A sloppy, poorly written ad does not entice us to buy their products and services. Advertisers also know the impact of words and choose carefully.

Sending countless email messages is a part of our daily routine, and  it is easy to treat them as a mindless task, forgetting the impression each one makes. Bottom line, bad business writing is bad for business. Every email is an opportunity to impress or discourage our customers. A poorly written email tells customers that they are not important enough to warrant our time and effort to write well. The ability to write well, in a structured, clear and correct manner continues to be a key method for organizations to differentiate their brand from that of their competitors. Attention to simple email basics contributes to an enterprise’s success and profitability. The opposite is true too.

Every business email we send is a commercial and they are FREE! The best argument for good business writing is simple logic: People won’t buy what doesn’t look good and what they don’t understand. Let’s make the write impression and get the right results.

Subject line. Advertisers know they must immediately get the buyer’s attention. The subject line of a business email is the one item our recipient is likely to read, and it is important to make it specific and useful to get our reader’s attention. An effective business email can be stated in a one-line synopsis, while a blank subject line tells the reader your message isn’t important enough for a title. Emails that are read and get results are the ones that tell the whole story in the subject line.

Grammar. I know this is not everyone’s favorite topic, but grammatical errors don’t sell. A few eight-grade English blunders and the reader discounts the entire message. If you can’t bother to use basic grammar and punctuation in business emails, your clients and customers wonder what else you can’t be bothered with, and will take their business elsewhere.

Format. If it looks good, it must be right. Readers assume that well-presented (good format) material is accurate. The better formatted your material is, the more you are perceived as knowledgeable and competent. A well-formatted email announces that we are someone that they want to do business with.

Courtesy and Tone. In our haste, it’s easy to let our tone slip from professional to terse. Avoid the sentence fragments that we use in daily conversations, they appear abrupt and harsh in business writing. Courtesy is the right tone in all situations. “Please” and “thank you” never go out of style, and speak loudly when absent. Address the sender by name, and make sure you spell their name correctly. Use plain English and positive words for the best results. Include thoughtful compliments on recipient’s product, services, or website for great results.  

Persuasive. The whole point of advertising is to influence people to buy products, services, ideas. The most persuasive messages focus on the benefits to the reader. Watch those roving I’s. Excessive use of “I” in your message takes the focus off the reader.  Present quantifiable evidence and support of what you are selling, even when selling your opinion or idea. Make good use of statistics and published results. Give your readers several good reasons why they should engage your services or buy your product

Less is More. Short emails get the right results. 75% of your readers will miss your point if the bottom line is not at the top of the message or article. While written information becomes more important to the success of businesses, people are less willing to read. Business readers are drawn to emails that are fastest to answer. Readers scan emails quickly while asking, “what’s in it for me,” and are quick to delete long and unclear business messages.

Proofread. If your business email is not worth the time to proofread, maybe it isn’t worth sending. When written business emails contain errors, the audience focuses on the errors and not the content. Unlike talking in person, we do not have the opportunity to correct or clarify our statements, so unclear or incorrect writing makes the reader doubt our expertise and we may lose a new or valued customer.


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