Everyone read email today.

By the time this post publishes, not everyone will have posted on Facebook, or even tweeted, added to your Snapchat story, pinner something or not had any time to put anything on Instagram – yet today.

Yet, we’ve all read email. In fact, most have read it four times already today. And, on average you’ll read it eight times more.

Small Business Owners – You send some sort of email to your contacts and your customers.

And, that email reflects on your personal brand (after all you’re the owner – your brand sets the tone and is the foundation of the culture of your business). Is it suffering?

Let’s see.

1. You have everyone’s email address in the “to” section of your email.

That means that someone’s privacy has been violated. It also communicates that you’re not email savvy. And, there’s a really high chance you’ll irritate several people on that list because someone is going to “reply all”.

2. Your “subject” line is salesy, pitchy or worse yet – communicates absolutely nothing.

We’re all busy. We all have inboxes that are stressed.  I make a decision on whether I’ll read your email today after reading about two words from that subject line. Remember, people like to connect with people who are at the top of their game – not someone who seems clueless.

3. There’s pictures and text galore – you’ve written a novel.

First, remember 43% of us are accessing our email on a mobile device. That means small screen, long time to load photos and if it’s smaller than 14point font we’re not going to read it and we’re certainly not going to scroll side to side to find out what you’re trying to say.

4. You’ve made a mistake and you have to re-send the entire email to everyone – again.

This is where the old adage – measure twice, cut once – needs to be your mantra. Proofread, check, double check and have someone else check – for misspellings and mistakes like this. Remember, this does leave a lasting impression which takes lots of time investment to recover from.

5. Your signature line is out of this world. Where’s your phone number?

I’ve seen signature lines that go on for days.  People include all their titles, every social network they belong to and their icon, a video of themselves, a photo and  almost everything but the kitchen sink and their phone number.

Not that everyone will call you, but they might want to know how to text you. And, if they have a need or question, it’s better that you supply them (with every email) your phone number or the best way to reach you.

What can you do to exude that positive impression of your personal brand?

  1. Use an email service provider so that it looks like (and behaves like) every single person on your list received a persona email from you.
  2. Craft a really good subject line that covers the subject of your email.  Leave the flowery language at home.  Be direct. Be succinct.
  3. One picture, at most – then direct them to a blog site or website so they can look at the entire gallery of photos.  And, use 14 point font.
  4. As a small business owner (and even before my business as a professional) my virtual proofreader is worth his weight in gold.  It’s also important to know what you want the email to do.
  5. Include your phone number. Include your phone number and the best ways  for people to reach you.  

Your email is a part of that first impression people have of you. And, we know that first impressions are lasting.