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    7 Ways Email Can End Your Business Relationships Before They Start

     

    Too often, people forget they're anonymous in the internet world. Your friends and colleagues might know you as being a tireless worker, a great friend and loving parent, but I don't know that. To me, you're just a font. You're a font in an email, or in a forum post. If you give me access to your website, then you're whatever impression the website creates. But largely, you're anonymous. So if you want to establish trust in your internet business dealings, make it your goal to paint a professional image via email.

    I'm a copywriter, so I'm constantly combing the web for possible clients and cohorts. Recently I've encountered some internet personalities who have left me scratching my head in puzzlement. Might we have had a fruitful business relationship? I'll never know, because within days of crossing paths, they managed to display one of the "Scary Seven" - that is, the seven quickest ways to scare people away by email. Let's review them now.

    Scare Tactic 1. Send an email from a cryptic address. There's nothing that says 'unprofessional' like an email inquiry from "Binky24" or "Shanaynay_7". Email addresses like this strike me as being one of two things: 1. someone young and foolish, or 2. a spammer. I understand if you don't have a website up and running yet; after all, as a writer, many people contact me to help them get their businesses started. But at the very least, reveal your first and last name. Provide contact information, and a brief background. If no one knows who you are, it's not likely they'll do business with you.

    Scare Tactic 2. Send an email that contains virtually no information. Yesterday I responded to a post on Craigslist that requested an editor. In my email, I gave my name, contact info, a little background information and directed the potential client to my website. I asked a few questions about their needs. In response, I got one line, and a very uninformative one at that. Do you see why I don't plan to contact this person again?

    Scare Tactic 3. Send too many emails! Want to make people think you have absolutely zero going on? Then send someone a barrage of email after having just met. I recently got an onslaught of emails from a potential client - NINE in total, over the course of a day. YIKES! This is a busy world. People don't have time to pore through your information. Organize your thoughts, and send in ONE email - maybe two, max.

    Scare Tactic 4. Send emails of a personal nature. Never, EVER send email jokes or personal anecdotes to someone you plan on doing business with over the internet. I don't care how promising the initial phone conversation was or how "friendly" they seem. This behavior screams unprofessional, and can even be a bit disturbing. Many marketers swap information, and this is fine. But it should be done in moderation. There's a fine line between helpful information exchange and email harassment. Don't cross it.

    Scare Tactic 5. Send out a group email, and forget to blind copy. I recently signed on to work for a company that contracts out writers. I liked the spirit in which business was being conducted and the site owner's honest approach. But there is such a thing as too much honesty. The first project came through via email - and I could see the name of EVERY writer who was competing with me for work! Not only does this have trouble written all over it, but no one wants their email address shared. A Privacy Policy is the hallmark of a real business. Implement one, and assure people their information is safe with your company.

    Scare Tactic 6. Send an email that you haven't proofread. We're all in a hurry, it's true. But haste makes waste! If you request information on "barbecue girls," you might just get some unexpected feedback! Double-checking your message can ensure that the recipient can respond properly. Ultimately, you'll get an answer to the question you asked - and not one you didn't.

    Scare Tactic 7. Send an email that's either too enthusiastic, or too austere. People are people - and I've encountered personalities from both ends of the spectrum. Those who are "SO EXCITED to make your acquaintance that they CAN'T STOP SHOUTING!!!!!!" and those who apparently are so wrapped up in themselves that they can't spare a courteous hello. My advice: take the middle ground. Keep it friendly yet professional, and don't go to extremes in your correspondence.

    Copyright 2005 Dina Giolitto. All rights reserved.

     


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