Recently, I was checking my email on my iPhone and saw an email from an email address I didn’t recognize with a subject line that simply said “portal instructions.”

Not only did I not recognize the email address, but the name was a very strange nickname.  Obviously, because I didn’t recognize it, I suspected it to be nothing more than a spam email — you know, from my “distant uncle” in a strange country who had just won the “lottery” and simply needed my “assistance.”

Needless to say, I deleted it. If all of this wasn’t enough, the message was asking for a return verification that I had received it. I was a bit insulted by this (sorry HR people… you all are the worst at using this stupid email feature, which most people find very annoying.  Pardon my vent!)

Everything about the email seemed to indicate it was spam. Even though I deleted it, I received another email from a different person asking if I had received it.  Turns out the original email came from one of my professional services providers, who I will not mention here because I do like them.  I will, though, hold this up as ineffective email techniques… dare I even say “stupid” email.

The reason it was stupid is it was coming from a person I didn’t recognize, with a very unprofessional name and a subject line that makes zero sense unless you know the background.  I’m sharing this for several reasons. We all need to be more conscientious in how we send out emails.

Here are a few tips:

  1. How does your name appear when you send out an email? Will people recognize it?
  2. Increasingly, people are accessing their email on their smart phones. This means only a few characters of text appear. People will typically make a decision as to whether they will read it or delete it based on the little bit of text they see.  Do the first few characters give the receiver enough information?
  3. Does the subject line make sense?  Will the person receiving it understand what it’s about?
  4. What is the purpose of sending out an email with a receipt verification request?   Are you the email police?
  5. Always put yourself in the shoes of who is receiving it.  The “shoes” I like to use is the person who is truly stretched for time and receives 100 plus emails a day.  Ask yourself if the email you’re sending is the right way to communicate with them.
  6. Emails sent on Friday afternoons or Monday mornings are the least likely to be read.

These are just a few tips.  What tips do you suggest for the best email communication?

Copyright 2011, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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