Email Etiquette for Small Businesses

Sending an email? By now you probably know that you’re in competition with everyone that’s trying to reach that coveted fashion editor, buyer, or vendor. That’s why when emailing someone, the small things matter. The tiniest thing can help set you apart from others.

Here are a few tips to make sure that your email gets the attention it deserves:

1. A clear subject

In business, it’s good to get straight to the point. The best way to do this is with an explicit email subject that grabs the reader’s attention. Some examples include: “For Your Review,” “My New Collection,” “Updated Line Sheet,” or “Referred By…” All of these are short subjects that state a clear message.

2. Using a business address

It’s important to have and use your business email address. While it may be tempting to use your Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail one, not sending from a business account may be deemed unprofessional by others.  To work around that, you can have your business email come from a more familiar provider. For example, if you like Gmail, you can create an alias to make your gmail account yourname@yourbusiness.com. These settings can be found in your account preferences.

3. Knowing how your name appears to the receiver

You should check and see how your name appears when someone receives it. If you’re using an address other than your name, such as a press or a general info account, you may want to add in your name so it seems personal and so the person will have a name to associate with the email.

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4. Using proper grammar and professional word choice

It’s important to be cognizant of your grammar and word choice. From signing your signature with an xoxo or using an emoticon, multiple smiley faces, and exclamation points, people have gotten extremely causal in how they communicate. At the end of the day, remember that you are trying to foster a business relationship and the words you choose reflects your professionalism.

6. A comprehensive signature

A detailed signature allows the recipient learn more about you, check out your website, and make a decision as to whether they want to reply and continue the relationship. Think of your email signature as click bait since most people will check additional sources to validate you.

7. Writing a succinct, yet clear message

In a world of limited attention spans and email overload, a simple and succinct email will suffice. Bullets also help content seem less overwhelming and having a specific call to action for the recipient is important. Whether you are asking them to review something, answer a question, or consider you for a story, it’s crucial that you state the reason upfront so, mentally, it makes it easier for them to know what you want and, therefore, how to respond.

8. Providing a frame of reference

Providing some context before you go into the body of your email usually helps. Whether you read an editor’s story, discovered a vendor via Google, or even grew up in the same city as the person you’re contacting, a frame of reference softens the message. It also makes your email personal and not seem like it was a mass or generic blast.

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9. Being authentic

At the end of the day, there’s a lot to be said for just being real. An authentic message that shows who you are, what you want, and that you respect the other person’s time, business, and profession. It also helps elicit a positive response.

Your ultimate goal is to make the recipient want to learn more. You want them to clearly understand what you are asking so they can respond and, of course, build a business relationship.

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