Classic hand-written business communication is in decline. According to The Telegraph, the 13.8 billion printed letters sent in Great Britain in 2013 will decrease by 40% by 2023. Statistic Brain Research Institute reports that standard letter correspondence in the USA dropped by 21% even before 2013.
However, this in no way implies that we communicate less. Only the medium for transmitting messages is different. Digital. 158 billion standard letters sent per year in the USA seems huge. But, if we consider 4 billion Facebook messages and around 250 billion e-mails sent every day in 2010, the answer about which channels dominate communication is clear. This also applies to business communication.
But etiquette for business correspondence has obviously got stuck in the era of classic mail. For decades, and even today, it is difficult to find a company that does not have well-though-out printed correspondence paper harmoniously designed with corporate design, with an elegant header and footer. The structure of the letter on paper is clear: greeting, introduction, body, closing and signature. Logical and irrefutable. What about an e-mail correspondence letter if we may call it that?
All too often, e-mail messages seem to have completely lost control over the relevant level of business presence and respectful addressing of the interlocutor. Although they are usually short, deficient grammar, lack of coherence and in particular, inappropriate visual appearance of the document have no place in business communication. The presentation of each and every employee is a reflection of the company’s culture. The first impression, most commonly a visual one, is the one (potential) clients remember you by, come back and recognise you on the following occasion, recommend you and become loyal. Or not.
Therefore, the consistent design of an e-mail message, in particular the e-mail signature as a digital identity of the sender, is today considered a minimum requirement of written business communication. It is not something that a company could arrange after everything else has been done. Such inconsistency may cause significant damage to the company, i.e. at the level of inadequate market positioning, sales (in)effectiveness and long-term distrust in a brand. Don’t make that mistake.
So how can one raise digital e-mail signatures to the level of professional business communication?
1. A deliberate, clear and direct description of the subject (Subject line) provides a credible opening to e-mail communication.
2. The e-mail address simultaneously reflects the sender and the company. Domains of e-mail account providers, such as Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook, etc. lean towards a less professional and more personal level of communication. Humorous or even provocative e-mail addresses do not belong in the business world.
3. The initial and final greeting shall be pleasant and respectful. They also outline the power of the communication tone in short e-mail messages.
4. The content should be grammatically flawless, including the correct spelling of the name and any title of the interlocutor’s function or education.
5. Have you ever considered that the style of writing in different parts of the world is different? This also applies to the etiquette of behaviour. In the East (Japanese, Arabs, Chinese), it is usual to exchange some information of a more personal nature before conducting a deal. On the other hand, Western cultures (Germans, Americans, Scandinavians) quickly, efficiently and succinctly get to the point of business correspondence.
6. You should make modest use of exclamation marks, coloured text highlights, humorous remarks and words written in CAPITALS.
7. Answers should be well-thought-out. Not just in terms of content. You should always consider whether the answer is intended only for the sender or all the participants involved (Reply all). Respect the privacy rules and use the Bcc option if necessary.
8. A well-arranged and uniform e-mail signatures of all employees, designed in line with the corporate identity ensures that each send, forward and reply shows the company as an organised and trustworthy business partner. At the same time, it simplifies the search for contact information of the company or sender, which, at the decisive point in the purchase process, may lead to a successful conversion, before the customer (again) changes his/her mind.
9. Add an attractive ad banner to each e-mail. This will not only add a little excitement to black and white correspondence, but it will also communicate even more positive, current information about the company in a spontaneous, non-intrusive way.
AdSigner helps you with a flawlessly arranged e-mail signature which promptly gives you exceptional selling and advertising power. Professionally designed templates enable all employees to create and implement their signatures in a quick and simple way. By using advertising banners that can be set before or after the signature, you can convey to your e-mail interlocutors interesting and current information about the company at any time.
See for yourselves and use a 14-day free trial of AdSigner.