Shaping up your business emails to boost your bottom line
Business success, sales growth and customer loyalty aren’t so much about product and price as they are a popularity contest.
Despite what we believe about our clever, logical decision making, research tells us that buyers make emotional choices and rationalise them afterwards. Sales expert, speaker and author, Anthony Iannarino insists that emotional connections put businesses ahead of their competitors and “in front of the buying process”.
So how can your emails help you develop solid customer relationships?
Business emails 101
Good business emails should successfully hit three sweet spots; Tone, Structure and Purpose. Tone represents your first handshake and the sort of lasting impression you’ll make on your customers.
Setting the tone for growing popularity
Professor Albert Mahrabian, an expert on communication from UCLA, tells us, successful communication is dependent on the words you choose, your tone of voice and your body language.
Without body language, the tone you use is your best tool for creating a great first impression, positively expressing your company values, and start to win that popularity contest.
Smart casual emails
Think of your emails as meeting face to face with your customers. Be yourself and don’t over dress for the occasion. Beginning with ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello’, is more natural than ‘Dear’ unless you’re writing a postcard your Grandmother or breaking up with someone.
Trying too hard to sound professional can come across as overly formal, artificial, even bossy. Rather than creating a bond, it creates distance between you and your customers.
Write like you speak
You can be respectful and professional without sounding like a robot. An easy way to do this is by using contractions. Using ‘we’re’ instead of ‘we are’, ‘it’s’ rather than ‘it is, will give your emails the structure and rhythm of natural speech. Your customers will ‘hear’ your email as a conversation.
Mind your language
User experience testing tells us over and again that customers don’t like negative language especially words like; ‘must’, ‘urgent’ and ‘expires’. They’re not keen on ‘You’ either as it can feel like an electronic version of finger pointing.
Leave showing off your eloquence to playing Scrabble, you don’t get high scores for big words in emails. In our multicultural, multi-lingual society it’s safe to assume English isn’t everyone’s native language, so keep yours clear and simple. No one should have to use Google to wade through your emails. The same goes for using jargon and acronyms, spell things out, don’t make assumptions about your customers’ level of knowledge. It’s not polite, helpful or good business.
The bottom line
In short, always be upbeat, helpful, resourceful and friendly. If you write the same way you speak to a respected friend or colleague; your writing sounds more engaging, you sound approachable, likeable and trustworthy. And that’s the key to building brand loyalty.
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