5 Basic Email Etiquette for Entrepreneurs – Can you stop using Gmail Please?

We receive a lot of emails from entrepreneur, either asking us for review of their product or general query on the industry. Given by the quality of some emails, I sometime pity VCs because of the possible email grind they end up going through!

Many entrepreneurs, especially first timers take email communication casually and in the process, hurt their own interest. Here are a few tips that will help them survive the email business.

1. Do not use Gmail/Yahoo for Official Purpose

If you are in a serious business, why not use your business id? If you want to be taken seriously, do yourself a favor by using your company domain id.

It hardly takes a few minutes to configure the same in Google apps.

2. Make the subject Line clear

What’s the most common subject line, if you ask me?

‘Hi’

Use your subject line as a pitch. You only have few seconds to gain a VC/customer/partner attention and I suggest you to use the subject line in the smartest manner.

Maybe you would like to use that as an introduction, or to talk about your service – but do ensure that you go beyond regular Hi.

3. Actionable Emails?

There are two kind of emails. One that converts into actionable point , and the other that goes nowhere.

Spot the difference.

“Please let me know when can we talk.”

vs

“How about a call, say 5 PM today?”

Which one will lead to better conversion? Which one puts a pressure on the receiver to respond?

Send emails that have a strong ‘call to action’ component. Force the other guy to act.

4. Read Receipt?

Do you really need one? Is that a professional thing to do? We receive many emails that expects read receipts. Apart from the fact that they are irritating (are you spying on me?), they look unprofessional and should be avoided.

Best place for such senders is the Junk folder. Period.

5. Use Gmail/Internet Email

Contradicting point #1, use Gmail/Internet email for all things personal.

Your official email is for official purpose and keep your personal email id for personal purpose. Always remember that your professional dealings can be used as an evidence in any legal case and last thing you would like to see is to officially say ‘Dumb F**ks’ about your users.

How to Handle Nasty Emails?

What do you do if you receive a nasty email from a customer/partner? Reply in full steam? Tell them how they suck badly and you don’t give a damn to who they are/what they do? That you don’t need them and they can eff anywhere?

Hang on. One of the most important lesson I have learnt over the last few years is to not reply to nasty emails immediately, especially if its from somebody who matters (business partner/potential customer).

Take a deep breath. Take a walk. Go for a smoke. Do whatever that helps you unwind a little bit. In some cases, simply calling up the other person is better than carrying the conversation over email.

Email is a great communication device and will continue to remain so (atleast for businesses), but do not take that as a discussion device. It’s a tool and serves as a means to achieve a much bigger goal.

Of course, I am not covering the basic professional etiquette here (i.e. no CAPS, avoid wrong spellings etc).

Entrepreneurs needs to understand that when they are sending an email to a VC/customer/partner, email is not just a communication medium but is more of a pitch.

So use that effectively.

What’s your opinion? Add your experience/insight.