April 14, 2017

The Ultimate Guide to Email Best Practices


We've written a lot on the importance of email, proper etiquette, and provided tips and tricks on how to perfect each one you send. However, we know that it's impossible to remember the best advice given so we're taking the best of Contactually's email tips and combining them into one!

Keep reading for different ways to improve your email usage and continue to perfect your communications with your network and contacts.

Read on for Contactually's email best practices...

Use Follow-Up Email Tools

We know that sending follow up emails can be a real pain. Even though they're one of the fundamental steps of relationship building, we often forget to follow-up and, when we finally remember, it's hard to find exactly what to say. Using email tools such as Contactually, Boomerang, and Newton can help you remember who to follow-up with and when, making your life less stressful. From scheduling reminders to having an "undo send" button to prevent embarrassing emails with typos from getting out, these tools can keep you stay on your game and make following-up incredibly painless.

Keep Your Audience in Mind

It's easy to lose sight of your audience when you're dropping a quick line. But, when you sit down to write an email, take a second before your fingers hit the keyboard. Think of who the email is going to and what you're trying to say. The tone that you would use when talking to your best friend is probably different than how you would talk to your boss or other co-workers, especially when communication digitally. If you're unsure of what tone to use, it's better to be safe rather than sorry and be professional - especially if it is someone you've never spoken to before.

Have an Effective Signature

"An email signature is like a virtual business card that you include in your email" says Contactually's Content Marketer, Kat Cavano. Having an effective signature can be the key to making sure your contacts are aware of who you are and what you do. Be sure to include your name, title, most reliable contact information, and even a link to keep your audience engaged.

It makes it possible for people to easily follow-up with you and provides another simple way for your customers to connect with you and your company.

Timing is Everything

Whoever said timing is everything was definitely onto something. When it comes to email, sometimes it's not always what you say, it's when you say it. The ultimate goal of sending an email is to get a response or increase engagement, so before hitting the send button it's important to check the time. It's no surprise that we pay more attention to our emails at certain times a day, so it's important to be aware of when your audience is online and active the most.

Don't know what time of day will help you get the responses you're looking for? No worries! Trial and error is key the determining what time of day will help you achieve maximum engagement.

**Real Estate Agent Bonus**

Have hot, warm, and cold leads? Don't know the best time to reach them? Check out our article, Increase Your Email IQ, to find the best time to send your email for maximum engagement based on lead type!

Have an Effective OOO Message

We've all received an "Out of Office" response. They're usually pretty bland and most of the time, if the subject line indicates that you're out of the office, they're not even opened. However, it doesn't need to be that way. OOOs can be funny and highly informative. They're a great way to indicate that you've stepped away for a while and provide your customer with further steps such as taking a look at and sharing your most recent article or re-sending their email at a later date. This is also a great time to provide an emergency contact just in case your customer needs to get in contact with someone right away.

Don't Commit These Annoying Email Offenses

1: Searching for an attachment that isn't there

2: Email doesn't pertain to you in the slightest

3: Rambling about nothing

What do these three things have in common? They are all typical email offenses that are annoying your customers and encouraging them to send your email directly to the trash.

Rather than frustrating your customers with these mistakes, take some extra time to ensure that what you're sending includes all necessary content, is going to the right people, and has a clear objective. Your customers will thank you for sending them purposeful emails with valuable content rather than spamming their inbox.

Don't Link Dump

Let's say you find what is, in your opinion, an awesome link on the internet that you immediately send it to your friends/co-workers/roommates etc in an email with a witty subject line. You provide no context as to its level of importance, what it is, or what to do with it. While you may think that you've done something important and useful, you've only link dumped - which is both unproductive and unhelpful. If you are looking to send a link, there is a proper way to do so. Check out these tips:

1: Specify which part of the link you want them to look at

2: Specify who you want to comment on the link

3: Make time to talk about it (especially if it pertains to the workplace)

The bottom line is that good communication takes effort, and in order to achieve your goal, whether it be a productive discussion or just a laugh, it's important to put in some time to direct the recipients on how to proceed.

Time to Put Them to the Test!

Although email is a quick and easy form of communication, it's still important to put in the effort to perfect your emails and abide by email etiquette. From follow-up tools to OOO messages, you now have all the necessary tips and tricks to improve your emails both personally and professionally. Time to put them to the test!

Have a favorite of the Contactually tips? Any tips of your own you want to share? Let us know below or tweet at us!