Keeping up a professional appearance is a must in business. First impressions really make a difference when negotiating with a new client and can make the difference between a deal being won or lost. Even if you are simply dealing with the day to day running of your business, maintaining a professional appearance is paramount. In these modern days of social media, Twitter and Snapchat – the main method of communication business to business is still of course email. So what is the best way to present yourself via email?
Your Own Email Domain
First and foremost the most important thing to remember is that using your own domain name is key. Your domain (the part of your website address before the .co.uk bit) is the first clue people get when receiving your email as to what it is you do and what sort of business you run – so make sure it counts. Using a generic email provider (like firstname.lastname@example.org for instance) can give the impression that you are not a committed business person, or that you are not organised well enough to use your company email address. Almost every domain bought within the UK will have the capability of providing one or more email addresses, so make sure the email address you use matches your company website. If you are looking at getting a new website try our domain checker to see if your desired domain is available.
Formatting Your Name
The manner in which you format your name (the bit before the @ sign) is largely up to you and may well follow a company style. Best practice for formal businesses is to use your full first name, followed by full surname with a full stop in-between to separate the two. For example: email@example.com. The downside to this formal approach is it can look a little bit stiff-collared, plus the longer an email address is the more likely it is to get mis-spelt which could potentially lead to lost emails. A less formal approach for small businesses might be to use a contracted name – for example: firstname.lastname@example.org. Not only does this look much less formal, it is also a lot easier to type.
Writing Your Email
Keep it brief! Time is a precious resource to everybody within the business community, so make sure you get your point across quickly and accurately. Beyond this remember to be polite (without going over the top) – say ‘hello’ at the start, and ‘thanks’ at the end. A conversational style is usually employed in a less formal manner than you might find on a printed letter. Remember to include a short subject line that sums up what your email is about. An effective technique here can be to also include a suggestion of your desired reaction – for example: ‘re: Joe’s holiday. Please add to diary’.
Signing off from your email should be a consistent affair, ensuring that you leave each of your communications with relevant contact details for further information if required. All modern email programs have support for a predefined signature, so make sure you take advantage of this function. Including a small logo within your signature is definitely the way to go (branding as ever is very important here). Some other things you might want to consider including are:
- Privacy notice (in case of undesired recipient)
- Social Media contact details
- Evidence of recent accolades
- Trust signals (logos from governing bodies, professional groups etc.)
If you are looking to set up an email signature with Outlook check this link for advice.
The wrap up
Hopefully this post will give you some ideas of how to improve your own email practice. If you are looking for some more advice why not drop a comment below? Or you can always write me an email – email@example.com.
There are many factors that will get you a sale or make you a new contact online. All of these factors however boil down to just one thing – improving trust between your customer and you. You see it turns out people don’t like to buy things from people they don’t trust. Here is a brief rundown of the trust factors people are looking for when they visit your website, whether they realise it or not.
1. Professional Design
This one is a real give away that the company who’s website you are visiting is unprofessional, or not worthy of your trust. Any broken features, bad design or dodgy images will instantly stick out to your potential customers and make them think again about purchasing or trusting in you. Have you ever gone online to check out a potential supplier, only to find their website is broken or just weird? Did you still buy from them? If your site looks unprofessional, then the impression could be that you are too.
2. Customer Testimonials
We really push our clients to obtain testimonials when they are starting on a new website. Why? Well they work. The best example of this will resonate with every restaurant in the UK. www.tripadvisor.com has become the de facto standard when it comes to reviews and testimonials for their industry, and many businesses live and die by the reviews left there. Beware any restaurant that is unaware of the feedback they have been receiving from their customers! So reviews and testimonials are important on third party sites and it turns out they are easy to get. Just ask your customers what they thought of your business after you have helped them out and mostly they will be happy to help.
3. Brand Recognition
If you are looking to sell a product that people already recognise, then using their well know brand on your site can really gain you kudos with new visitors to your site. All you need do is ask your supplier if it is OK to use their logos on your site and 9 times out of 10 they will agree – as it is of course good for their brand recognition and search engine optimisation too. There are usually a few guidelines to follow, but after that you’re golden.
4. The Human Touch
We always recommend that our customers use a nice friendly picture of themselves and a short bio on their site – usually right on the front page. The human touch can really create a great element of trust between you and your potential customers, as they recognise that you are not just another faceless company, but a real team who are ready to help them out on a 1 to 1 level. Team that up with links to your own social media (probably Linked-In) and people can place you in the real world even better.
5. Give Away Information
Nobody likes the hard sell. Through years of people trading online it has become clear that there is one proven effective way to be successful – be informative. It turns out people just love to learn and if you can teach them something new about a product or service then you will definitely be on the way to gaining their trust. A brilliant way of doing this is with blogging and another is by the use of video tutorials. Just remember to mention where people could buy your product at the end!
So that’s the end of today’s lecture. If you’ve got any questions, leave me a comment and we’ll work them out.
Anyone that has a business website knows why they need it. Firstly it lets potential customers know you exist and…Read More
What On Earth Is Google Analytics? Google Analytics is a set of free tools from Google which, when paired with your…Read More