Your Career: 10 Tips for Writing Better Business E-mails



Do you want to be a standout as a business e-mail writer? To enhance your career, it’s important to write effective e-mails and memos.

You don’t have to be an English major to write effectively.

This article is designed to cover the most salient points of better e-mail writing. You are encouraged to research any of the following topics if you need a further explanation.

cyber imagerymajestic www.freedigitalphotos.netUse these basic tips:

1. Review your goal. What do you want to accomplish? Your writing should be focused. If you want someone to act, you need a call for action.

2. Don’t leave the recipients guessing. Summarize your objective in the first paragraph. Include the topic in the subject line. In this way, busy persons will know instantly why you’re writing to them.

3. Use an economy of words. Most memos and e-mails will be read and more easily understood if you keep them short.  Don’t use unnecessary words. In most sentences you can avoid the use of the word “that.”

Ideal content is a maximum of three short paragraphs — no more than two or three sentences each. If it’s a complex subject, include an attachment.

An example to use an economy of words: Instead of writing “our appointment that we scheduled for January 2nd,” simply write “our January 2nd appointment.”

4. Limit your use of prepositions. Regarding point No. 3 on wordiness, know that prepositions aren’t always necessary. A preposition begins prepositional phrases. It links nouns, phrases and pronouns to other words in a sentence to introduce the preposition’s object.

Don’t insert prepositions following a verb, for example, “where did he go to?” It’s correct to write “where did he go?”

Also, never end a sentence with a preposition, such as “the car has been lost track of.” It’s correct to write “lost track of the car.” Again, prepositions are correctly used in prepositional phrases.

5. Be specific in your adjectives and descriptions. Avoid using vague words or phrases, such as “that is incredible.” Your reader might get the wrong impression.

For example, by using the phrase “that is incredible,” do you mean “that is outstanding” or “that is undesirable?”

6. When plausible, come across as dynamic as possible. Use active verbs. Try to avoid using past tense, such as “she believed” instead of “she believes.”

7. Be authentic in your writing. Avoid using the latest buzz phrases just to be ostentatious or hip.

Over the last several generations in business, succeeding generations have used different phrases as glittering generalities to describe the same concepts. That doesn’t mean, however, you should “dumb down” your writing. A good vocabulary is to be respected.

8. Show maturity by not using exclamation points. They should be rarely, if ever, used in business communications.

9. Be careful in your use of punctuation marks in quotations. For example, commas and periods should be inserted outside the quotation mark. (In case you’re wondering, this portal’s articles are written in journalistic style, which is why punctuations are inside the quotes.)

10. Review your writing before sending an e-mail. Read your content out loud to catch errors. Other than typos, the most frequent errors are missing words.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more writing tips:

25 Best Practices for Better Business Writing — If you want to accelerate your career or turbo-charge your business, one of your priorities should be good communication. Good writing is necessary in a myriad of ways, including letters, advertising copy and presentations. 

11 Best Practices to Profit from Writing a Business White Paper — When you’re writing a case study for a client or you’re commissioned to write a white paper – there are best practices — then, there are only attempts at shameless promotion of a biased idea.  

Rock in Your Marketing Messages with 5 Writing Tips — In this digital age of consumer overload, words are powerful – if they’re used strategically. The challenge is to help your prospective customers quickly understand your message.  

Secrets for Attracting, Keeping Readers on Your Blog — Content marketing is a valuable tool, but only if you observe best practices in substance and style – writing the most intriguing headlines and most relevant copy.  

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”

-Mark Twain

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Want to Start an E-mail Marketing Campaign? 6 Tips for Small Business



There’s a reason why many companies launch e-mail campaigns. They realize sufficient returns on their investments.

So, it’s a popular topic here at The Biz Coach. I’ve written about the latest trends in e-mail marketing, and why e-mail marketing goes better with social media.

If you’re just getting started, it’s best to keep it simple. In other words, take baby steps until you’re no longer a novice.

But to get off to a great start, here six pointers:

1. Pick the right vendor. The best e-mail vendors are efficient. They provide excellent support, backup, response time, and analytical results data. The support is especially critical if you’re just getting started.

You’ll need some hand-holding. So do your due diligence to make sure your vendor is qualified to meet your needs.

2. Use a targeted mailing list. For the best return on your investment, don’t use a shot gun approach. Use a list that best meets your demographic criteria for buying preferences and receptivity to your campaign.

3. Personalize your approach. That includes salutation and using a compelling subject line for your target audience. Timing is, of course, important to enhance your odds for success.

4. Use strategic creative or content. Unless you have a really creative copy writer, avoid the cutesy approach. Show the recipient true value. Don’t give any reason for the person to unsubscribe from your list.

5. Use best practices. Miscellaneous tips: Comply with the CAN Spam ActPeople are accustomed to blue links. Use them. Research your wording to avoid spam filters. Include your social media share buttons. And be sure your copy is crisp without any typos.

6. Use your campaign as a learning experience – recap the results. You’ll want to know how effective your campaign was. Key information will include the click-through rates, sharing rates, and conversion rates.

Then, determine your return on investment – divide your revenue by the number of people on your list. Don’t fail to follow up on your prospects.

Good luck!

From the Coach’s Corner, for related tips see:

8 Tips for Cold Calling By E-mail and Telephone — Since the advent of the digital age, cold calling went out of vogue. But in the lingering downturn – whether you’re in advertising or staffing services – cold calling has become the logical tool to use to generate clients or business customers. 

5 Free Tools to Operate, Market Your BusinessAre you on a really tight budget, but need to run and market your business?  Ordinarily, I’m big on appearances – creating professional first impressions. But some free tools can suffice well. 

The Lost Art – How and Why to Use Cold-Calling for Higher Sales — Are you lacking in sales? Do you get enough face time with the right prospects? Here’s how and why in-person cold calls will help you make sales.

Want More Revenue? Avoid the 7 Deadly Sins of Selling — Whether you are an established company or a startup, what you probably need most in this economic climate is a positive revenue stream. It’s possible with a higher-performing sales staff.

Invigorate Sales with 11 Customer Retention, Referral Strategies — How to attract and keep brand evangelists with customer service and word-of-mouth advertising.

“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”

-Peter Drucker


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.






8 Tips for Cold Calling By E-mail and Telephone



Since the advent of the digital age, cold calling is out of vogue for many people.

For most businesspeople, cold calling isn’t the easiest route although it’s a proven way of getting clients and customers.

But in the tepid economic recovery — no matter what your industry is – whether it’s advertising or staffing services – cold calling has become the logical tool to use to generate clients or business customers.

It gets easier and more fun with practice – using your value propositions. Once you get some results, it will actually create a domino effect because it’s very energizing.

A little bit of footwork leads to some business, which leads to even more business.

ID-10034827 photostockSo it’s all about attitude – an attitude of gratitude and providing a valuable service for your prospects. And be sure you’re up-to-date with the CAN Spam Act.

Here are eight cold-calling tips:

1. Make certain all online references about you – social media, Web site and press releases – are professional.

Once a prospect is interested in you, the person will search your name on the Internet. So do the footwork now.

2. Remember you’ll only get a brief moment to pique the person’s interest in a phone call. Develop a tantalizing phrase for your subject line, if you’re e-mailing.

Know your elevator pitch before you start the sales process – benefits that differentiate you.

Your initial goal is just to get face time to lay the foundation for a possible relationship. Don’t try to sell your products or services. Go for a single instead of a home run.

3. After you’ve identified the right prospects, also target centers of influence – people and organizations that can direct business your way. That means a business association, chamber of commerce or the news media using press releases.

4. The best time to make contact via e-mail or telephone is early in the morning. Before e-mailing, make sure you use a list of opt-in recipients or people who have signed up on your Web site. Include the standard opt-out option.

In calling, if you get the person’s assistant or receptionist, indicate you’d like to call back. Try to learn the best time to try again. But try never to allow an employee to forward a message to the person for you.

It gets easier and more fun with practice – using your value propositions.

5. Engage the prospect by setting up a dialogue by asking open-ended questions. The best salespeople listen 90 percent in such conversations.

6. Demonstrate that you care about the person and her/his business, and that you listen. Follow up with a handwritten thank you note – or an e-mail, if you must.

Include a restatement of the prospect’s concerns, an appropriate value proposition with additional information, and a statement to prevent buyer’s remorse.

7. Unless you are able to schedule an appointment in the initial contact, allow five business days before you follow up. Remember your image — you want to earn the business, but you don’t “need” it.

8. Be patient and persevering. Only a small percentage of the contacts will turn into prospects or sales. It often takes five positive contacts before a person buys.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related tips:

Want More Revenue? Avoid the 7 Deadly Sins of Selling — Whether you are an established company or a startup, what you probably need most in this economic climate is a positive revenue stream. It’s possible with a higher-performing sales staff. So you might wish to consider the latest strategies of a globally known sales trainer, Roy Chitwood, who is based in Seattle.

The 7 steps to higher sales — Secrets for sales success – seven steps to higher sales, five value perceptions that motivate customers to buy, and the three-step process for overcoming sales objections.

The Lost Art – How and Why to Use Cold-Calling for Higher Sales — Are you lacking in sales revenue? Do you get enough face time with the right prospects? If your referral sources — centers of influence — have dried up and your lead pipeline needs to be filled, the fastest way to more revenue is cold-calling.

6 Rules to Keep Your Pipeline Full for Continuous Sales — It doesn’t matter what type of business you have. Even if your sales are great today, there will come a time when sales will crawl to a halt unless you take precautionary measures to keep your sales pipeline full.

Sales Management: Motivate Your Staff in 10 Seconds — All too-often when sales managers are busy, they’re task-oriented. Not to be critical, but they’re focused only on what’s at the end of their noses. For effective management and revenue, the trick is to guard against it.

If you don’t take a chance, you won’t have one.


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy photostock at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Management Lessons from Epsilon’s Email-Breach Scandal



Noteworthy management lessons have evolved from the alleged data-management program at Epsilon. Obviously, Epsilon’s data management was an oxymoron. It wasn’t managed properly.

As we learned in April of 2011, the email marketing firm allowed hackers to access the names and email addresses of countless millions of businesses and consumers. All of us needed to brace for the inevitable threats of spam and scam.

But this wasn’t just a crisis-management issue.

If the email breach isn’t problematic-enough, what’s also troubling is the apparent culture at Epsilon and its parent company, Alliance Data. Their Web sites said little about their privacy concerns. But more on that later.

The only evidence of an Epsilon apology came about a week later on April 6 in a press release:

“We are extremely regretful that this incident has impacted a portion of Epsilon’s clients and their customers.  We take consumer privacy very seriously and work diligently to protect customer information,” said Bryan J. Kennedy, president of Epsilon.  “We apologize for the inconvenience that this matter has caused consumers and for the potential unsolicited emails that may occur as a result of this incident.  We are taking immediate action to develop corrective measures intended to restore client confidence in our business and in turn regain their customers’ confidence.”

The press release also stated Epsilon has launched a forensics investigation in cooperation with federal authorities.

Positive step

Granted, the press release is a positive step. But it’s troubling that Epsilon took so long to issue a statement, and it’s symptomatic of what’s contributing to the worsening image of big business.

After reading and commenting on the security scandal, a leadership blog with a video caught my eye — Harvard’s Michael Porter on How Business Can Recapture Its Reputation. (As an author of 18 books, Dr. Porter is known for his thought-leadership in management and competitiveness.)

An excerpt from his comments:

“…I think that business have tended to look at themselves as self-contained and I don’t think they have really understood the way in which they touch the community and that they touch so many social issues. The external standards, of course, have risen in terms of what is expected of a business and the standards, for things like environmental impact, is much higher now than before. So businesses get caught by surprise, they are slow to raise their own internal standards, and I think their reputation suffers.”

Ostensibly, Epsilon, Alliance Data and some corporations consider themselves self-contained and they need to raise their standards.

Here are other management lessons to consider:

In a previous column (Epsilon’s Security Flaw Threatens Millions of Businesses, Consumers) one of my concerns was one of appearances. It still is. Epsilon’s Web site touted its email marketing abilities. But nowhere was enough evidence to indicate it was concerned about privacy; nor was there adequate contrition. Appearances are important.

Further, culture starts at the top. Aside from a tardy apology and inadequate contrition, what about Epsilon’s empathy for its customers and their millions of customers? What steps are being taken to prevent future breaches? Not only is Epsilon lacking in appearances, so is its parent company, Alliance Data. Alliance has earned an infinitesimal amount of money profiting from consumers’ data.

However, its Web also site fails to create a positive impression about privacy. I’d definitely include a value proposition about privacy protection. Instead, it merely appeals to corporate desires for profits. Note its branding slogan, “Solutions That Drive Sales, Create Brand Loyalty ” The home page headline reads: “Getting results starts with knowing your customers.” Certainly, the cyber criminals have a better chance of knowing millions of businesspeople and consumers.

Business reputations

The lack of due diligence provides another management lesson. One would think that Epsilon’s 2,500 corporate customers would hesitate to turn over the email addresses of their millions of customers. What about their business reputations?

A certified project manager in Baltimore provides another management lesson.

“Perhaps the solution is to de-couple data warehouses and the Internet,” says David G. Peterson.

“Having been in IT for over 30 years, I know that networks can be cracked,” he adds. “I was never keen on data warehousing outside an organization, and this incident only confirms my worst fears.”

In other examples of best management practices, some customers of Epsilon have done an outstanding job of warning their customers. Others haven’t bothered, according to at least one professional, Gail Wallace, who responded to my initial column with her management lesson.

“Before the breach was public knowledge my first warning came from, of all companies, Kroger,” says Ms. Wallace, president of Bellwind Consultants in Dallas. “Next came U.S. Bank a few hours later. After the news carried the story of the breach, I received a warning from Best Buy. A friend of mine received a warning from Robert Half International as he is job hunting.”

So, thanks and congratulations are in order for Kroger, U.S. Bank, Best Buy and Robert Half.

However, Ms. Wallace provides another management lesson. She says two major banks failed to keep her informed – Citigroup and Capitol One – which prompts her to ask pointed questions:

“Does this mean they don’t care about their customers? They don’t want to spend the money to warn their customers? They were too embarrassed to admit the breach? Did they simply rely on news reports to get the word out?”

Her prediction:

“Many other companies may have been proactive with whom I have no affiliation, but those that didn’t warn their customers may find that their customers are less than happy and might even lose customers over the neglect.”

Agreed. They’re hurting themselves by exacerbating the Epsilon faux pas.

My sense is that it’s worth noting that Citigroup and Capitol One received taxpayer bailouts. One has to wonder about their corporate sense of entitlement and lack of contrition. Certainly, they haven’t learned lessons in management. This doesn’t help the nation, the economy or their customers.

Let’s hope all such corporations watch Professor Moore’s interview and utilize another best-practice in management listening to people such as Mr. Peterson and Ms. Wallace. Further, I’d launch a quality human resources training program – from top to bottom – to change their cultures and business approaches.

But will they make the right investment?

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related articles:

“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”

-Abraham Lincoln


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.