Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Small Business Tips: Formatting Your Emails So They Get Read

Tweeting, text messaging, and blogging are all the rage when it comes to small business communications with customers and other businesses. And yet, emails remain as popular as ever because of their advantages. They're easy to compose and require only an Internet connection to send. Recipients receive your message instantly but can take their time reading it and responding. To get the maximum benefit from using emails, follow these guidelines.

·         Keep it short. Emails are not the place to show off the essay-writing skills you learned in English class. Your recipients are busy people who want to digest your message quickly. Make sure your emails talk only about one subject and average about five to ten sentences long. If you must discuss something more extensively, put the discussion in a PDF or document, and upload it with the email.
·         Use descriptive headers. If you want recipients to read your emails right away, tell them exactly what it's about in the header. Avoid pithy titles like “My Reply” or “Need Your Okay.” Instead, use complete sentences that describe the content, such as “I Need Your Approval on This Budget Proposal by Thursday.”
·         Break it up. To make your message easier to scan, avoid writing it with one solid block of text. Break it up into multiple short paragraphs. If you must describe three or more items, break the enumeration into lists. Use bullets if the items have the same importance or numbers to show importance or a sequence.
·         Include pictures. Pictures can show rather than tell, thereby eliminating dozens or hundred of words. However, be sure to explain briefly in text what the picture is about. Use images that are 100K or less for quicker transmission and downloading. If you need to rely on larger graphics, store the image on a picture site and then post a link to it.

If you want more information on improving your small business communications, please contact us.

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