Midphase’s Guide To Business Email Success
Email is a powerful and flexible tool when used correctly, and equally well-suited to order acknowledgments or complex negotiations. It doesn’t have the PR problems currently being experienced by social media, and it’s far less intrusive than telephone calls. However, email isn’t an instant win. There are many aspects that must be considered before mastering the art of email communications.
In the modern age, there’s often very little to distinguish between competing organizations. Dropshipping has helped to slash operating costs and margins, anyone can create a stylish website that looks equally slick on desktop and mobile devices. Consequently, brand professionalism and reputation are some of the increasingly few ways to distinguish between good and great brands and an easy way to instantly display brand credibility is through email.
Become an email expert
Email is a critical aspect of any business and is typically the first interaction businesses have with customers. Whether you use email marketing to help find new customers or if email is only used for basic communication and support, every business needs a professional, reliable email address.
Despite the ongoing twin assaults from spam and social media platforms, email remains a crucial communication tool. Half the world’s population has email accounts, and 269 billion messages are sent every day, of which barely half are believed to be spam. A remarkable 86% of businesspeople prefer to communicate via email, due to its immediacy and the permanent record it creates of discussions or agreements. This is particularly important when conducting negotiations, or when dealing with small print.
To help you succeed, Midphase has created this helpful email guide containing everything you need to know about business email. Read on for our ten tips for email success. Let’s get started!
Email Tip #1. Match email addresses to website domains.
Imagine sitting down at your computer one morning and finding two emails in your inbox from rival companies. Both contain identical discounts for something you’ve wanted to buy. However, one email was sent specifically to you through a branded address. The other has blank To and CC fields and was sent from a Gmail account.
Now think: which company would you feel more enthusiastic about giving your business to?
If companyname.com has a matching @companyname.com email address, every email will instantly and automatically reinforce the brand. Incoming email will be considered legitimate when responding to new inquiries or first-time customers. Spam is a consistent threat and always at the forefront of our minds. Most potential customers will overlook an email sent from an unfamiliar Gmail or Hotmail account. Branded email addresses accentuate a brand’s professionalism more than third-party email ever could.
Reasons why customized email is important:
- It instantly identifies the origin of a message.
A customer who’s just placed an order might not associate a Gmail account with their purchase. However, email from email@example.com will immediately be connected to their order or account.
- It raises brand awareness.
Every time a consumer sees a brand name, it subliminally reinforces the brand. Email is great for this, particularly when sending out periodic messages about new products or incentives. Customers will gradually start to associate certain brands with particular industries or services.
- It’s less likely to fall foul of spam filters.
Any new email account has to build a reputation, and might initially arrive labeled as spam. However, recipient servers are more suspicious of messages from generic senders like Hotmail. A company-branded email establishes sender reputation quicker.
Make an instant impression
Email marketing campaigns are at the forefront of truly effective customer relations. An unsolicited email may be the first time a customer has heard of your brand, and first impressions count. Within a matter of seconds, the recipient will have subconsciously decided whether the sender is professional and friendly, or impersonal and anonymous. And if they decide the latter, this email won’t just be ignored. It may be flagged as spam, damaging the sender’s reputation, and reducing the chance of future messages reaching their intended targets.
One of the most important ways in which email marketing campaigns can avoid such negative connotations concerns branded email accounts. Here at Midphase, we include email addresses with every purchase of a website domain. As a result, Midphase customers are able to select specific email addresses (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, etc).
What’s in a name?
Choosing a suitable email prefix is another important consideration. It’s fine to have an info@ or sales@ address for general correspondence. However, is this the first impression you really want to create in an email marketing campaign?
It’s far better to send messages from a named individual, addressing the recipient directly. Individual emails suggest intimacy and exclusivity and build a connection to subconsciously encouraging people to read on.
It’s also advisable for the sender to be a point of contact throughout subsequent customer journeys. This ensures that clients don’t have to communicate with several email accounts in different divisions of the business. That gets old pretty quickly.
Email Tip #2: Consider brand reputation.
The other strand of this personalization process involves contacting named individuals one at a time. Having a named recipient in the ‘To’ field immediately creates a sense of identity. Each person won’t know how many other people received the same message, but they’ll know it’s no more specific to them than a billboard or radio advert. Although individual emails take longer to dispatch, they’ll achieve far higher response rates. And automated software tools take the strain out of mass mailings. They can distribute email in response to specific events or when a certain amount of time has elapsed.
Any email marketing campaign is a significant undertaking, consuming staff resources and requiring considerable planning. Sending messages targeted at individuals (and their unique needs or preferences) helps to ensure optimal response levels, justifying any initial investment. Meanwhile, the added professionalism of a branded email account helps to build trust – and establish a long-term client relationship…
Email Tip #3: Pick a dependable email hosting company.
You can’t afford for inboxes to be offline, or for a sender’s mail server to be associated with junk mail. A dependable email hosting service will offer webmail login and compatibility with software packages like Outlook. It’ll store inboxes and backup copies of sent messages on secure data servers, automatically duplicating mailboxes to prevent them from being lost or deleted.
Midphase offers a variety of email options from Personal to Professional. Get started for $1 or less per month!** Packages include email addresses that match your domain, 24-hour support, spam and virus protection, and our powerful webmail client. Our SLA ensures that your email is online and available around the clock or your money back!
Email Tip #4: Choose address prefixes and subject lines carefully.
Many recipients decide whether to read or delete an email based on just two factors: the sender’s name and the subject. Rather than adopting a sales@ or noreply@ address, firstname.lastname@example.org could increase open and click-through rates by up to 35%. It also builds a vital sense of personality, often lacking in online ventures where there’s no human interaction.
The other part of the open/delete equation concerns a message’s title. Words like ‘free’ and ‘bargain’ arouse suspicion among inbox spam filters, meaning messages may not reach their intended recipients. Equally, lengthy subject lines rarely display properly and look unnecessarily messy. Research suggests a 65-character title is optimal, ideally making a clear statement or a compelling offer.
Consider testing out a variety of address prefixes and subject lines to see which work best for your target audience. Simple A/B testing can teach you a lot about how your customer base reacts to email marketing.
Email Tip #5. Design for mobile.
In today’s culture, messages are mostly viewed on smartphones and tablets. A variety of screen sizes can make optimization troublesome. However, it’s essential to ensure emails display equally well on a anysized device.
To optimize your email, use compressed graphics to reduce download times and placeholder captions in case an image doesn’t display. Beta-test messages on as many devices as possible to maximize legibility on all of them, and rely on universally recognized fonts like Arial. Just a few additional steps can help you maximize open rates.
Email Tip #6. Send messages at optimal times.
Did you know that email sent between 8 pm and midnight have the highest open rates? Additionally, Tuesdays achieve better read rates than other days of the week.
Selecting the perfect time to send can help you reach more people and encourage open and read rates. However, you don’t need to sit at your desk hitting ‘send’ at a precise moment to ensure emails go at the right time. Use automated software packages to distribute emails at pre-selected times, as well as monitoring engagement levels for fine-tuning future campaigns.
Email Tip #7. Always proofread emails several times before sending.
Spelling and grammatical errors suggest a lack of professionalism, so avoid them at all costs. People are increasingly wary of typos and other forms of miscommunication and will instantly categorize an email as spam when grammatical errors are present.
Whenever possible, review draft messages the day after writing them and ask a colleague to read the text out loud. Remember that it is always more difficult to edit our own writing, so a fresh perspective can identify inconsistencies or other issues. This is also helpful for clarifying ambiguities in a sales or marketing message.
Consider downloading a grammar checker like Grammarly for an additional layer of proofreading protection. And when it comes to tone of voice, remember that consistency is key. Bonus tip: If you always write as yourself, your tone will always match.
Email Tip #8. Email sparingly.
Finally, a note of caution. Over three-quarters of consumers unsubscribe from mailing lists if their inboxes are overflowing with communications. Send emails in response to customer actions or inquiries, or to promote genuinely noteworthy events like half price sales and new product launches. One or two emails per week should be the maximum any firm distributes to individual clients.
Always ask yourself, “Would I like to receive this email?” If the answer is not an overwhelming yes, then you may want to reconsider your offering or perhaps save the news to combine with a future, more crucial, email.
Email Tip #9. Follow CAN-SPAM Rules
Are you familiar with the CAN-SPAM laws in the US? If not, you could be penalized thousands of dollars.
In 2003, the US Government and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) outlined a specific set of rules for email marketers to follow called the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003, more commonly referred to as CAN-SPAM. This set of rules specifically outlines what is considered to be spam and what is not.
The act lists requirements for email senders to comply with in response to the massive amount of spam that had began to circulate in the early 2000s. Contained in the CAN-SPAM laws are a set of guidelines including unsubscribe options, content restrictions and sending behavior compliances. For example, you must include a physical address in your email marketing plans, along with an opt-out button.
Failure to comply with CAN-SPAM in email communications can result in penalties of up to $16,000 per spam email and loss of services from their web host. If you or your business include direct emails as a part of your marketing strategy, we recommend reading the full description of CAN-SPAM rules from the FTC.
CAN-SPAM Crash Course
Below is a CAN-SPAM crash course full of helpful tips to ensure that you are following the laws and avoiding any loss of money or services:
- Always include your business address on any email that is sent from your accounts. It can be a PO Box or a street address, as long as it is accurate.
- Only email people once you have their permission – just having their email address is not enough.
- Include a simple opt-out or unsubscribe method for email recipients who no longer wish to receive emails from your company – the option must be simple, free and easy to follow.
- Don’t sell or share email addresses. Ever. It is your job to keep the information on your email list safe and secure.
- Be sure that all “To”, “From”, and “Reply to” fields are accurate and easy to understand.
- If an email recipient opts out, make sure that the individual is removed within ten days, if not sooner. Email service providers will most likely do this automatically.
- Closely monitor anyone or any service who sends emails with your name attached. It is your responsibility to ensure that any emails with your name included are adhering to CAN-SPAM rules.
Email Tip #10. Always carefully consider your email strategy.
You only have one chance to send great email. There’s no editing or deleting a sent message. Far too many businesses make critical email mistakes and drastically damage their business and sender reputation.
If you cannot enthusiastically agree to each of the bullet points above (specifically regarding spam) you may want to spend some time readdressing your email. It is best to be very cautious when emailing anyone for business purposes, so basically if it seems even a little risky just don’t do it.