Entrepreneur: Email etiquette, Bcc, reply to all abuse & more

Entrepreneur, Miscellaneous

Dear Entrepreneurs (and everyone else), when sending emails to a massive list of folks, please add everyone to the “Bcc” section.  Which means blind carbon copy: a copy of an email sent to someone whose name and address isn’t visible to other recipients. This (Bcc field) can be found beneath the To and Cc fields in the email.

Otherwise, you’re basically giving up your entire email list. Which is equivalent to giving out personal cell phone numbers without confirming it’s OK to do so prior (which is a big NO NO).

A few years ago someone I am no long associated with mentioned “so and so sent an email with over 100 contacts in the to field so I added them to my email list” (they owned a business).  I asked why…none of them asked to be added or gave you permission.  Their response “well they were dumb enough to send the email, I was smart enough to use it to my advantage”.

So here is the thing, I am sensitive to peoples spaces.  I am also one for helping people excel especially in areas I once needed to groom and grow.  Maya Angelou once said when you get you give and when you learn teach.  So here I am.  I receive emails with this type of thing (improper use of the to and cc fields) far too often and decided it would be the perfect next tip in my entrepreneurs series (read part one here and part two here).

There are sharks out there that live for stealing and selling people’s email addresses.  Seriously, there’s sadly legit business models built around building email lists.  Protect and respect the privacy of your contacts by properly addressing them via email.  An extra tip is to use email software such as mailchimp (I’ve been a loyal customer since 2009) to help you send professional emails to your contacts.

While I’m on this subject, here are a few more helpful tips that relates to email etiquette:

  1. Be clear about what you want in the initial email.  Asking someone can we meet or any other vague thing is an annoyance to someone with a lot going on (most people).  Be specific so they can plan accordingly and so that you can get closer to an answer or outcome.  Abridged version: Be short and to the point.
  2. Use a professional email. If you offer a product or service you should have a website and with a website should come a matching email. @gmail, @yahoo and other accounts are looked at with the side eye for most (myself especially).  Abridged version: Come correct.
  3. Which brings me to my next point…please for the love of God…minimize over use of the !!!!! (exclamation point).
  4. Under NO circumstance is it OK to TYPE IN ALL CAPS.  NONE.
  5. Please please PLEASE think twice, three times even, before you hit “reply to all”.  Everyone added to that email will receive the reply.  It’s email reply abuse.  It’s a crime punishable by the unsubscribe and spam filter (OK not always but…do not do reply to all if it does not in fact apply to all).  Abridged version: reply to all means apply to all.
  6. Use an email signature.  Please.  I explain why and even recommend ways to do so in this why you absolutely must market your business and how blog post.

Until part four of this series…

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