Questions about email etiquette always delight me because it indicates the sales professional wants to represent themself* and company in the very best light.
Here is a mid-2022 update to be at your best when emailing or texting:
#1. Use inclusive language.
As a former English teacher, including teaching English teachers how to teach English at Arizona State University (Fear the Fork!), it pretty much kills me to not use the correct pronoun. But, it hurts more to insult someone just because I want to grammar perfect. It’s time to stop using him/her and replace with their/them*. (This goes for Ladies and Gentlemen too, and “Guys”. Instead just delete the phrase, call people by name or say, everyone.)
#2. Use exclamation points.
An exclamation point has always been a proper punctuation mark equal to a comma, period or question mark. Yes, it shows enthusiasm and excitement and yes, that is an emotion you want to show. Go crazy? No! Use? Yes!
#3. Use emojis.
Emojis too. One emoji can take the place of two sentences and can easily define intent. Would I use this in a cold prospecting email to a C-level? Would I use this to show personality and intent? Absolutely. 🙂
#4. Stop email directionals.
See above. Below are. No.
#5. Highlighting words with BOLD, italics or colors.
Ask yourself why you’re highlighting. If it is to chastise them or for any negative reason, don’t highlight! (You can provide white space around the point to make it easier to see.) If you want to emphasize a positive word or have a particularly important sentence to pay attention to as they scroll, you can use any of these highlighting techniques. Again, don’t go crazy. It’s kind of like putting on make-up. Too much ruins the entire effect.
#6.Attach or link?
Attaching is so 1998! Seriously, if at all possible, provide the link. But not the URL! Hyperlink.
#7. Avoid all caps in a subject line. Avoid all lower case in a subject line. Yes, you can use an emoji in the subject line.
#8. Text for an action.
Almost every client appreciates knowing you just uploaded their proposal. You have the right to text them to let them know. Or when you have a special promotion as long as those don’t come 3X a week! Avoid being too familiar when texting or using Slack. It’s easy to go down a rabbit hole thinking your recipient gets you. Think again.
#9. Your thoughts?
Speaking of thinking, one of the worst phrases you can use is “Your thoughts?” Their thoughts about what? You can guide them to give you a more effective and efficient answer by asking a better question. Try this: “Do I have your approval to move forward on this or would you like to see a Plan B?”
#10. Working on the weekend.
Yes, you can send an email at any time unless you’re the leader. Leaders need to role model well-being and should keep from sending messages late at night or over holidays because direct reports will read that late night message as, “I’m still working and you should be too.” A better approach is to start your message with, “Please enjoy your weekend! I’ll look for your response Monday.”
This one should have been first! It is rude, unprofessional and business-losing to not offer a quick response to an inquiry. At a minimum, have an auto-response ready that says something like, “Thanks for your email. You can count on a thoughtful response by _________. Ahhhhh! Everyone takes a collective sigh of relief because you bought yourself time and I know when to expect an answer.
Before you go—
The whirlwind is behind us and the future is bright! With two-thirds of buyers preferring remote interactions – digital and virtual – polishing your email selling skills is key to dramatically improving sales.
It’s time to stop sending email after email only to be ignored! You can write quick, strategic, smart messages that get results and drive sales!