Business Email for Webmasters
To keep in touch with prospects, customers, suppliers and business partners, most businesses rely on business email. So why is it that most small firms do not have an email policy?....
Why Email Policies and Procedures Matter
Business email is now the most common form of business communication. Email is instant, low cost, and has replaced much postal direct mail. In fact, business email is such a flexible communication medium, that almost anyone with a smart phones or Internet connected device can communicate, from anywhere on the planet. So as a small business owner, you should think about how well you and your staff currently exploit business email, and the risks of not adopting a businesslike approach to email management. Spend time planning the practical, legal and commercial issues, when implementing business email in your workplace.
How To Create a Formal Email Policy
Having a formal written company email policy, helps to minimise liabilities and risks. It encourages staff adhere to the rules and establish good practice tips. In this litigious business age, any inappropriate or offensive emails (sent accidentally or intentionally), may result in legal action by a third-party. Likewise, many commercial disputes, are often resolved by evidence from server logs, detailing 'who said what to who and when'. The policy should describe in detail, the dos and don'ts of how workers use email. To make sure employees fully understand it, you should publish it on your company website, and hand out up-to-date paper copies. The following areas are typically included within an email policy:-
Types of Business E-mail Services
If you have a company website, is likely your business hosting provider can also provide you with POP3 email access. This means you can use a generic email client, (such as Outlook), to send and receive messages usually. This type of client allows the creation of an appropriate email address, (such as firstname.lastname@example.org). For small firms without websites, many choose to use an online free business email service, (such as Gmail or Hotmail). This eliminates thinking about anything technical. The disadvantage though, is that it looks rather amateurish (as the email address is not clearly associated with your company name). POP3 mail (Post Office mail), also allows staff in the field, to login from anywhere, using a browser or device to pick up your business email.
Using Email Marketing Wisely
Everybody hates receiving spam email. However, many of us do enjoy receiving quality business email from trusted senders. By creating an opt in newsletter, you can stay in touch with your customers on a regular basis. This can be done at very little cost and with minimal technical expertise. Business email marketing is also a fantastic medium for product announcements. Yet many companies fail to operate a newsletter service at all. Always ask permission to collect email lists of visitors to your website, prospective clients requesting in brochures, and from suppliers and investors.
Lastly, put business email into context... Think about how your staff actually deal with your customers and whether it is more effective to speak with then on the phone, rather than through faceless and impersonal email. In particular, never use email to discuss or resolve sensitive topics, that may involve a persons worries or concerns. Faceless messages can easily be misinterpreted. People might get the wrong end of the stick. Email may be quick, but it should never replace our basic need to speak each other.
Good luck implementing your new business email policy!