Online Hosted Email: Your Small Business Email Solution

Congratulations, you’ve taken on the economy and have actually moved out of the small office and into bigger digs because you need to hire more people. But now that you have more than a handful of folks working with you, you need to seriously consider getting a good business email application, especially since your sales people are running appointments so often. But you don’t know the first thing about running an email server, and you’re not quite to the point where you want to hire IT staff.

But not to worry, the options are numerous as to the various business email applications you can use to provide the tools you need to be productive and succeed. The benefits are many, and for the up and coming business, more cost effective than getting an in house server. While it is beyond the scope of this article to list even most possible hosted email providers, guidelines and benefits will be explained.

First off, an online email hosting service requires no hardware to implement and launch; everything is done from a web based platform. The current desktop and laptop computers you’re currently using will be more than enough. This alone can translate into a money saver, as no capital has to be used to acquire an email server, and no one has to be paid or spend time maintaining a server.

Secondly, no email software is required, even though most business emails will still interface with them if you choose to use them. To take Outlook as an example, hosted email will interface with Outlook, and any info regarding emails, contacts, calendar, and tasks that is in Outlook will transfer over to the server, and vice versa. This way, if you forgot to put in that important business lunch in Outlook back at the office, but it was put into your email hosting service, you will still get the reminder.

Third, hosted email is fully web based, so you and all your employees can access your emails from anyplace there is online access. In the office, across town, across the country, or while on business in Europe, you will never be out of touch. But this access doesn’t stop with you or your employees; customers, contractors, and telecommuting workers can enjoy the same access. This can really score points with your customers, as they can view communications and documents related to their project as they are completed.

Now that all sounds fine and dandy for when your people are in front of a computer, but your sales force is out running appointments. They may still access all their appointments and emails via their mobile phones.

Look for hosted email with global servers, with full redundancy. This insures that users will enjoy 99.9%+ uptime, and should a natural or man-made incident knock one out of commission, there are still several all across the globe that can be accessed. Also make sure they provide some form of security, with constantly updated anti-virus and anti-spam software, and IT support is just a phone call away, no matter what time or day of the week is always a huge plus.

Going with email hosting services can certainly benefit the small or up and coming business owner with its ease of use and savings of money over having to maintain your own email server. Such advantages can even put the small guy on par with giant corporations in their ability to communicate with employees, suppliers, contractors, and clients. Ultimately the choice to go with having your own or having hosted email lies with the business principals and online business email can provide a solution either way. But hosted email does offer benefits that even having you own business email server can’t touch.

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Three Reasons To Set Up A Unique Business Email Address

So you bought a domain name, you’ve hired someone to build you a site and you’ve got a website for your business online and ready to go.

Your online business is now all set for the digital world right?

Wrong.

If you haven’t set your company up with at least one dedicated email address with the same details as your domain then you can expect most of the credibility you have for creating a website goes out the window.

The good news though is that setting up a business email doesn’t cost anything, only demands tools that you already have at your fingertips and is incredibly easy to do.

So why should you set up a business email to match your domain?

Here are three reasons why setting up a business email is not only important but it should be something that you do immediately now that your website is operational.

Reason One: it enhances your company reputation online

As I hinted at in the introduction having an email address from a free provider as your business email address can really hurt your reputation.

The reason, is phishing.

This is the practice of using an email address very similar to a reputable business’ to obtain people’s passwords, personal information and login details to bank accounts.

Phishers loved to use free accounts with variations on trusted user names (NZpaypal, westpacservice etc) a few years ago to get their hands on people’s personal details.

They haven’t done that for a while now, largely because it stopped working, which makes some pretty strong cases against you using the same type of email address for your business.

Reason Two: you can be more flexible with your internet service providers

Internet Service Providers are wonderful companies that reward long business relationships with better rates and service. Right?

Wrong, when it comes to screwing the average business/personal customer the average Internet Service Provider is only too happy to screw the long-standing sucker out of more of the services that they have already paid for and more of the money that the customer has gone a long way to try and earn.

But if your business email uses their email hosting service (like @aol @orange etc) then you will either have to contact all of your customers and hope that they don’t invariably use your old business email address or grin and bear the higher cost of doing business with your current ISP.

Reason Three: get different email addresses for different purposes

Each business have different parts.

You might sell products, consult people on how to use your products and train people in a particular line of work.

By getting an email network that matches your domain you can have a shop [at] yourbusiness consulting [at] yourbusiness and seminars [at] your business address in as little time as it takes to read this paragraph.

As you can see business emails are highly useful for any business.

And the best part of it all is that if you have already set up your site then setting up an email is free quick and easy.

Make the switch over to business emails today, you won’t regret it.

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Tips on Using Business Email Marketing to Grow Your Online Business

Introduction

Business email marketing is a form of advertising that involves the use of email to market products or services directly to your clients. With this form of advertising, it is possible to transfer your messages faster and cheaper than when using conventional methods of marketing. You can target your messages to specific types of consumers, build relationships with your customers and reach new customers through well targeted and relevant emails that interest your recipients. Business email marketing is an effective method of promoting your business to the world and the following are tips that will help you use it in the right way.

Use a list server

A list server is commonly referred to as an autoresponder. It is an efficient method of collecting email addresses into your database and following them up automatically. There are online scripts that make it possible for you to host an autoresponder on your website or server. The safest route to go is to use a third party autoresponder company because it allows you to safeguard yourself from accusations of sending spam.

Create an email lead capture page

This is a page that collects the name and email address of a visitor. It is essential to use direct response marketing principles when designing this page. It is important to make sure that your business email marketing offers your clients help and service. You can do this by offering something that is valuable on your landing page so that your customers will respond with their email addresses and names. For instance, you can offer your customers a CD, free report or even a DVD in order to get them to hand over their information.

Build a relationship

Building a good relationship with your clients is very important in business email marketing. You should find out what your customer needs and fill that void. A customer can identify you as a spammer if you just continue sending one sales letter after another. When using business email marketing, inquire if your customer has any inputs or suggestions. This is a great method of letting your customers have a voice and it will also assist you to find out more about them. Your email marketing will be more effective if you know more about their desires.

Develop relationships with new clients

Another important thing in business email marketing is developing relationships with new clients. It is common for online businesses which continue sending constant and repetitive emails to fail to receive a response. The reason for this is that they failed to take time developing a relationship with potential customers. They therefore end up regarding them as spammers instead of valid consumer options. If you fail to build a relationship, your business email marketing emails could end up in your clients’ spam folders and you will never receive a response. The best way to go in business email marketing is to come up with a double opt-in option that allows subscribers to opt in and then verify that they wish to receive emails from you. In this way, you will target the customers who want to read your emails. Instead of sending out standardized emails that your clients may find boring, you should take time to find out what your clients want and adjust your marketing strategies accordingly.

Conclusion

In order to succeed, you should put yourself in your customer’s shoes by considering the emails that can make you buy a product or service. Make sure that your clients realize why the product or service you are selling is awesome. Business email marketing can help you to significantly increase sales if you simply follow these simple principles.

Todd Martin owns and operates a local marketing firm. As well as blogging, he works weekly in ministries to the underprivileged, active hiker, biker and racquetball player to mention a few items.

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10 Tips On How To Write A Business Email

Use an Informative Subject Line

The subject line is the first thing that a recipient sees in an email. Most of the time, they see it before opening the email itself, as depending on the email client, the subject and recipient is shown before the entire message.

The subject should provide enough information about the email so the recipient knows what it is about it before opening. A subject such as “Review” or “Document” is very vague and doesn’t really help. However, a subject such as “Review Requirements Document” is more specific and gives the recipient more information about the email.

Greet The Recipient Appropriately

Start off your email by providing a greeting – don’t just launch into the email. There are a few occasions where you can simply reply to the email with a quick answer, but in almost all cases it’s better to have a greeting.

How should you use a greeting in an email? Well, this email is formal but not as formal as a business letter. Using “Dear John” is too formal. Something like “Hi,” or “Hello,” or “Hi John,” is usually acceptable. It would need to be adjusted if there is more than one recipient. I tend to include both names if there are two people, or the word “all” if there are more than two. For example, “Hi John, Peter,” if it’s two John and Peter, or “Hi all,” if it’s to John, Peter and someone else.

Keep It Short And Necessary

In this world of computers and technology, it’s tempting to turn the email into an essay and write anything and everything in there for your recipient. I’m not sure if you’ve ever gotten a long email before, but if you have, how did that make you feel? Did you feel interested in reading it, or did it turn you off and make it seem like it was a lot of work? I know how I feel when I receive a long email – it’s not a good thing.

In some cases, choosing the right communication method may mean you don’t even need to write the email. However, if you do, one of the hardest things to do when learning how to write a business email is to keep it short and concise. You need to be able to get your point across effectively, without getting into too much detail or unnecessary information. It takes some practice and experience, but try to think of yourself as the recipient when reading the email. A tip that I mention later on is on reviewing the email – while reviewing, you can see if it’s a good length.

Put Your Main Point In The Opening Sentence

As well as trying to keep the email short and to the point, there is something else you can do to help the recipient and get a response from the email. You can put the main point of the email in the opening sentence. This point could be a request (such as “I’d like your approval on the following action” or “Could we meet to discuss the plans for the new employee?”) or even just some information (such as “Please find below the details on the server outage on the weekend”).

This will help the recipient read the email and improve the way the email is used. Further detail in the email can go below, to support this point.

Be Aware Of The Recipient’s Knowledge

A big part of how to write a business email in the IT industry is the difference in knowledge between employees. There is obviously a lot of technical information in different areas of IT – and not everyone knows what it all means. This is something to consider when writing emails to other users.

It might be OK when writing within your own team or when you know the person is aware of the subject of the email. However, when writing to others, it’s important to be aware of the recipient’s knowledge. This knowledge can be in two areas – knowledge of the technology, and knowledge of the business context.

Knowledge of the technology involves all the IT stuff we know and love – servers, networking, programming, databases, configuration – all that stuff. These kinds of things other IT people would most likely understand, but not always. Just because someone knows about how switches and routers are set up for the network, doesn’t mean they know about database configurations. You may need to explain the point of your email to them in non-technical terms.

Knowledge of the business context involves software systems, business processes and teamwork that isn’t relevant to the technical part of your email. The recipient may understand why you want to change a configuration on your server to accept a new application, but they may not know what the application is or why it needs to be accepted. This is just an example where explaining the issue or request in context may help the recipient.

Don’t Use All Caps or Text Speak

Using all caps in an email makes you LOOK LIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING. Sure, you may have it on accidentally, but make sure you review the email to check. The only exception to all caps is for acronyms or initials – which should be used sparingly. Keep your emails to sentence case – as though you’re writing a sentence.

Also, don’t use “text speak” in an email. Acronyms and words that might be acceptable in text messages, such as LOL or PLZ, should not be included in the email. If you feel you need to use them, you’re not writing an effective business email. Keep it to full words as needed.

Use Correct Spelling and Grammar

Spelling and grammar is important in an email – it’s expected that it is correct. Some people may not notice incorrect spelling and grammar, but for a lot of people, bad spelling and grammar stands out. It can actually ruin the impact of your email and makes you look less professional.

Make sure you are using the correct spelling and grammar for an email you’re writing. Your email client should do a reasonable job of correcting the spelling and grammar, but you shouldn’t rely on it. Especially working in a technical environment, it may try to translate or “correct” things that shouldn’t be corrected. If you’re in doubt, ask a colleague to look over it to check that it is correct.

Say Please and Thank You

If you’re asking someone to do something, it’s a good idea to use the words “please” and “thank you”. It’s something that we learnt in early school days, and from our parents – using please and thank you is polite and people will respect you for it. It isn’t something that is implied in an email, so if you specifically mention “please” and “thank you” it will be appreciated.

Include an Appropriate Signature

Adding a signature at the bottom of your email is arguably the most important thing you can do when looking for how to write a business email. It’s right up there with an email subject as an essential part of an email. This is important for a few reasons:

It provides contact details for you, so the recipient knows how to contact you.
It makes you look professional. Having just your name at the end of the email is one thing, having a signature with all of your details is a step above.
It allows others to contact you if they see the email in the future, or if it’s on a chain of emails.

There are a few things you should include in a signature – your full name, your position, your department, and your phone number. You don’t need to include your email address, as the recipient can just press Reply. Try to avoid quotes or images in your signature – there’s no need to include any of this and it just fills up the signature.

Also, make sure you send it out with every email you send. Many email clients have a function to automatically include an email signature, and I would suggest you use it. It means you don’t forget to add it and it’s one less thing to think about.

Review and Edit Before Sending

The final step before sending the business email is to review it. You should review the email for a few reasons:

Ensure the spelling and grammar is correct.
Check that the point of the email is being delivered.
Ensure the email is not too long.

It can be tempting to just write the email and send it. If you spend a minute re-reading and reviewing the email, you might find things that you didn’t before, and it should result in a better quality email. It also helps to improve your quality of work – if others think your emails are always correct then they should have a high opinion of your actual work.

Bonus Tip on How To Write A Business Email

Yes, I’m adding a bonus tip – tip number eleven.

This bonus tip is to only send the email to only send the email to those who need it. It can be tempting, and quite easy these days, to add a large number of contacts into the To and CC field of the email. However, you need to be careful with this. It’s the number one cause of emails clogging up people’s inboxes – being sent emails that they don’t need to see.

You should only send the email to the people who need to see it. Depending on the email and the contents, and the team you work in, this could be any number of people – but the less people the better.

I hope these tips on how to write a business email are helpful for you and improve the way you write emails.

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