A reviewer commented that one of the most important chapters in the Second Edition of Power Sales Writing is the one about digital manners (aka email etiquette). He said that most sales people forget how easy it is to (mis) judge someone who doesn’t pay attention to the details. So here are the 3 things that annoy customers the most:
1. A high-priority flag. Unless the buyer asked you to flag your email to her as a high-priority message, don’t do it. It’s not only ego-centric (look at this important message, it’s from important me) but it’s rude, too. Why would your sales message be the most high-priority thing in her box? Marking your message urgent is annoying and dumb business.
2. A demanding subject line. Subject lines should be authentic and relevant. Like a headline on a newspaper article or blog post, they should be intriguing and truthful. If, for instance, your message tells your reader that you’ll call next Friday, one appropriate option for your subject line could be: Action request: Call Friday. It would not be appropriate, though, to say: URGENT! or even Urgent. Two other really annoying choices are:
And while we’re on subject lines, avoid the word: Reminder. You can almost be guaranteed that your reader won’t open your message when you use that word in the subject line. Why? It indicates you think the recipient forgot something important. Use “Follow-up” as a better choice.
3. Read receipts. The only reason to add a Read Receipt is if you think your customer will pretend he didn’t get your message. Yes, I know you have important contracts to send and you want to be sure the recipient got it. If you feel you must include the Read Receipt, tell your reader that you added it – and why you did. (If you can’t think of a reason better than because I don’t really trust you, you’re probably better off not adding the RR.) Or, pick up the phone and ask. The early bird may get the worm, but the sneaky one will go hungry.
What digital manners do you wish everyone applied? What should people stop doing to be less annoying?