How your business can benefit from the Internet: Using email for business

Assured Angel By Assured Angel, 13th Jun 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Business>IT & Ecommerce

The Internet and email has revolutionised the way that people and businesses communicate. Doors have been opened, opportunities exploited and transactions progressed due to the advances in technology. Email has played a key role in this process and continues to gather pace in its role in business.

Email and its use and impact on business

In addition to the Internet, email has become a vital part of business strategy. It is not only used to communicate within the company but used to attract and build relationships outside of it. Its use as a marketing tool continues to expand and is an important part of a business’s e-marketing strategy. To maximise its use, it is important to know how it works. Overzealous entrepreneurs who overuse this area will find their efforts go to waste - almost literally as their marketing emails find their way to people's junk mail rather than their consciences. So balance as well as professionalism and creativity are the keys when utilising this.

The advantages and disadvantages of email

As well as being one of the speediest ways to communicate information, email has other benefits:

* It is an excellent way of keeping a permanent record of messages, data and information that goes in and out of a business.
* It is extremely cost effective. It does not matter whether you send an email to your local supplier or an overseas customer. The price remains the same, i.e. free.
* It is very convenient - you can send the same email to numerous people, you can store it before sending it, you can request confirmation that the message has been received and read. This saves confusion in the future.

However, email does have its drawbacks especially when it comes to business. They include:

* They can be quite impersonal in nature and this can sometimes lead to misunderstanding
* The harmful viruses that some email attachments contain e.g. Trojan, worms etc
* Emails - especially those with confidential or personal information - being sent to the wrong person
* Marketing emails can increase, leading to problems with spam
* Potential to be harassed or bullied using email
* The storage of large files can become problem if it is a regular practice of the business to send them

Some of these can be managed and dealt with. For example, having good antivirus and anti-spam software which will warn you of any potential harm; having a limit on the amount of data that can be attached to a file; limiting the type of emails that can be sent and received.

When using email for business, it is important to know that although it has many benefits for your company - easier communication, improved customer service and better cost management – there still remains etiquette associated with it. It may be less formal than a letter, but that does not mean that you dispense with the professionalism. It is the simple things that make all the difference; make sure it is spell-and grammar-checked; does it strike the proper tone? A simple statement made in an email can be deemed libelous or defamatory, so it is important to take care.

Email Marketing

This is one of the most cost effective ways to market your product. You can reach many people will fairly minimal effort and you can even encourage the people you send it to, to forward it to others. This is known as viral marketing, word of mouth or buzz marketing. With an email, you can also personalise the advertisement depending on the recipient. It is very important not to overuse it or else people will delete it or filter it into their junk mail. In order to minimise this, make sure you:

* Avoid jargon and 'spam' keywords
* Set clear and measurable goals and objectives
* Target the correct demographic
* Check that the people you are sending it to have agreed (opted-in) to be contacted

Email and customer service

As mentioned before, email can play a significant part in building, maintaining and improving customer service. This is because not everyone has the time to stay on the phone in order to get a response. Not many people have the time or discipline to sit and write a quick email outlining what they need. So this not only helps them but also helps the business. This is because the organisation does not have to respond to the query immediately which means more freedom to do more which has a positive impact on productivity. This does not mean that you ignore the emails. Make sure you have a set response time or else customers will not appreciate it. You could implement an automatic reply system which will tell the person querying that their email has been received and when they are likely to receive a response.

The development of technology and its increasing impact on business and strategy means that companies have many more opportunities open to them. Email can be a great communication and marketing tool, but one has to learn to use it properly. It does not replace the need for face-to-face contact, but it does make the creation and maintenance of business relationships easier. It should not replace but should complement other forms of communication in order to maximise the benefits to you and your organisation.

Tags

Business, Business Startup, Businesses, Customer, Customers, Email, Emails

Meet the author

author avatar Assured Angel
Talented and experienced freelance writer/ businesswoman with a legal background whose engaging, confident but professional attitude is reflected in her writing.
I have also written extensively (over 100 articles) and continue to do soon many subj...(more)

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