How to keep from sabotaging your business through email

Most people I know have a love-hate relationship with email. They hate getting spam (who doesn’t?) but they can’t imagine communicating with clients, customers or family members any other way, except perhaps social media. Even in business, email is still king. Email is a primary mode of modern communication for business marketing for several reasons:

  • User-friendly and market saturation. With the billions of email addresses out there these days, and most folks have more than one – your potential for reaching people via email marketing is definitely there – even if you still need to do it well to get noticed. More on that later.
  • More intimate than direct-mail. When you invite someone to subscribe to your email list, they are asking you to be a part of something they check into almost everyday.
  • Just plain easy. If you have to get a quick note to your customers or clients about a special announcement or sale, email is quite possibly one of the easiest and fastest ways to make it happen.

How to do email marketing right (or at least, not shoot yourself in the foot).

Use a professional system to handle delivery and tracking for you. Systems like Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor can handle the proper collection, delivery and tracking of email addresses and messages. If you’re sending emails as a business to customers or prospects for marketing efforts, you should probably do this almost 100% of the time. It will help you keep an eye on how effective you’re being. We’ve used Mailchimp for years and it’s worked wonders for us.

If you feel like you must send a personal email to a mass group of people, use that BCC field! If you place a bulk of email addresses into the To: or CC: field, then everybody can see everybody else’s email address, and it opens them up to getting spam from someone else, all because you didn’t use proper email etiquette.

Do not write in All Caps. I’ve heard of folks doing this because they can’t see well, but if that’s the problem, adjust your display settings to handle that. To the person reading the email, you’re virtually yelling at them and that’s how they’re reading it in their mind. If you’re trying to sell something, it’s now coming across as pushy. The likelihood they will actually buy is now dropping dramatically.

Don’t overdo the colors. Much in the same way that using all caps creates tension, using multiple colors in an email creates a flurry of emotions. Psychologically speaking, red means anxiety or anger – blue is a cool, calming color (and is used for remembering key phrases) and green signifies success, nature and in some cases, wealth. It’s important to keep these in mind when deciding what colors to use for your email or newsletter. I recommend keeping it simple, with a single bold, vibrant color (possibly representative of your company or brand) for headlines and keep the body text something medium, such as a gray or tan color. If you’re using an image, consider using a color from that. Continuity helps greatly.

This is just a starting point, but adhering to these rules of professional email etiquette is pretty crucial to keeping your emails from ending up straight in the trash – or worse, having them unsubscribe! If you’re looking to power-up your email marketing efforts, I’d recommend reading these two posts from my friends over at