I get a lot of emails . . . and I mean A LOT. Some are mailing lists I have signed up for, others are emails with product updates from online merchants I have purchased from, and of course there is always the ubiquitous spam.
However, one type of email that I always pay particular attention to are those from local small businesses. For one, I like knowing when merchants I shop with on a regular basis are having sales or special events going on. Second, I am always interested in watching how the independent business owner is actively marketing and the tools that they use.
What Not to Do in Business Emails and Newsletter
- Don’t send emails from your desktop application. I get emails like this frequently from local businesses. They create a distribution list in Outlook, create their email, and then send to their list directly from Outlook.There are two problems with this. First, many times the recipient’s emails aren’t event listed as a blind carbon copy (BCC), and they are displayed to the entire list. Second, most internet service providers restrict the number of emails you can send to in one email. So if you have an email going to 100 recipients, maybe only ten or twenty will actually be sent. Also, that is the quickest way to get your email and/or IP address blacklisted as a spammer.
- Don’t send attachments in Word. I also get a lot of flyers sent as an attachment in Microsoft Word. While the ideal is to create an email ad that includes the promotion, if you absolutely must send an attachment, send it as a PDF.There are several reasons for this. Some people don’t accept email attachments. Some people don’t have Microsoft Word, and if they do have Word, older versions won’t open the latest Word format. Also, a file may look one way on your computer and totally different when opened by someone else due to fonts and formatting.Adobe Acrobat Professional is the program most businesses use to create and edit PDF files. However, if you don’t have the program, CutePDF is a free PDF driver available for download that will create a PDF out of any file. Simply download and install the driver, open the file you would like to convert to a PDF, and go to print and select CutePDF instead of your standard printer. A save dialog box will appear allowing you to name the PDF file.
- Don’t design your emails in Microsoft Word. Another common mistake is designing the email in Word. Microsoft Word is not an HTML program. Microsoft Publisher is not an HTML program. I’m not even that fond of FrontPage. Anything that has Microsoft in the product title, in my opinion, should not be used to publish on the internet (although I do like Live Writer.)Why all this animosity towards Microsoft? Anything Microsoft puts out is a big bloated mess. Have you ever copied an article you wrote in Word and published it on the web? Have you ever looked at the code? It is a huge mess. Lines and lines of pseudo code which only serves to slow down file transfers.When you create an email in Word, what you are sending is a message that is proprietarily coded by Microsoft. Yes, it will display as you want in Outlook, because Outlook is a Microsoft program; however, that is all you can count on it displaying correctly in.