Most small businesses rely on email as their preferred form of communication. Either internally or externally to clients, customers and suppliers, email is the go-to format we’d be lost without. Our love affair with it is no surprise – it’s quick, simple and provides a paper trail. But its convenience doesn’t always mean relaxed. In fact, poor email communication can hurt your reputation and cost you customers. Here’s how to be smart with your business email:
Manage your inbox: Your inbox is only for items you still need to access. Once you’re finished with an email, you should delete it or archive it. If you were to imagine your inbox as physical letters, you’d never let it grow to a 6-foot high stack of chaos. Instead, you’d either throw them out or do the filing. It’s not hard to identify which ones to keep for reference, so create inbox folders to sort them accordingly. As emails arrive and are actioned, move them to the relevant folder or the delete bin.
Write professional messages: Stepping across the line from casual to careless is easy if you skip the basic elements of good business writing. Grammar will always be important and the sentence structure of your language hasn’t changed. All email programs include a spell-checker, many of which draw attention to errors immediately, so there’s really no excuse. Typing in all CAPS is seen as yelling, and breaking your text into paragraphs makes your message so much more readable. One last thing before you click send, quickly glance over your email to make sure your tone is appropriate and no mistakes have snuck through.
Embrace the subject line: Many emails are missed because the subject line was empty or meant nothing to the receiver. Writing these attention-grabbing nuggets can be tricky, but if you simply summarize the message, you’ll do fine. Just remember to keep them under 5-8 words so they fit on mobile displays.
Be smart with attachments: Keep attachments small – under 2MB – as they can clog up the email server. For larger attachments, share the file location as a link using cloud storage. When you’re sent an attachment you’d like to keep, save the file and then delete the email. And as always, be careful with unexpected attachments, especially from unknown senders. It’s more important than ever to scan all attachments with an antivirus before opening.
Keep your CC/BCC under control: The carbon copy (CC) and blind carbon copy (BCC) let you send the email to additional stakeholders, more as an FYI than anything else. As a rule, use BCC if you’re using an email list or privacy is an issue. But before you add extra people to the email, make sure the email IS relevant to them. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a pointless email chain!
Call us at 561-693-1978 for help with your business email.
Doing business today you are as likely to give out your website address as your email or phone number. Your Web domain is your business identity on the internet. Don’t risk falling victim to the cyberthreat known as domain hijacking.
You build up a business site to represent your brand online. Every bit of content, and all the fonts and images you selected, reflect your business. You probably also have email addresses at the domain name (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org). So, imagine the pain of finding out that someone else has stolen your domain.
When your domain gets hijacked, you lose control of your website, its email addresses, and all associated accounts. And it’s not easy to recover them.
The Infosec Institute shares examples:
An advertising agency spent US$15,000 and 19 months recovering its stolen domain.
The owner of ShadeDaddy.com lost US$50,000 and had to lay off six of its eight employees. He said domain name theft is “like your house got stolen.”
How does a domain get stolen?
There are several ways this can happen to a business or individual.
The simplest is that your domain name expires, and you don’t know it. Domain registrars must send notice one month and one week before the domain expires. But the reminders might go to an email address that is no longer active or to the Web company that set your site up years ago and with whom you no longer communicate.
Once your domain rights lapse, the site gets disabled. After that, the domain name goes back into a pool of domain names for anyone to buy.
There are people who make money from purchasing domains. They hope to make money off your company’s desperation to get its domain back. Or they profit from redirecting traffic from your reputable Web address to their own.
Then there are the hijackers. These cybercriminals also want to profit from Web traffic redirects or to access your domain emails to send false invoices. They might intercept emails sent to your domain to learn proprietary information. They could change the content on your site or redirect traffic to a hub for online gambling, or worse.
The hijackers might steal your domain by gaining access to the email account you used to set up the domain. Cybercriminals might use phishing emails to obtain the access credentials. They use the password reset mechanism to take over your account and transfer the domain to a different registrar.
Your domain registration company could be compromised, too. It helps to pick an accredited registrar for your domain registration.
Any of these scenarios can have a serious, lasting impact on your business. Once someone else has access to your domain address they can do whatever they want with it.
Protect Against Domain Hijacking
The first step is to protect your access credentials. Leveraging two-factor authentication can also help prevent hijackers from stealing your domain. A registry lock can also help. It requires more communication if someone tries to change domain registration. This lets you know of suspicious activity and gives you some time to react.
It’s also important to know who is managing your domain name and how it is being managed. A Managed Service Provider can take care of this ongoing process for your business. For more on how to keep your website and domain secure Call us at 561.693.1978
Struggling with Email Overload?
Email has allowed us to send and receive messages more easily than ever before. While this is a good thing, it can lead to problems. You may receive dozens or even hundreds of emails in a day. At this point, it feels like you’re wasting your entire day dealing with those incoming messages. Even worse, it makes it difficult to find important messages in your inbox. You can quickly become overloaded with emails.
So how can we deal with this overload? The first step is to reduce the number of emails you receive overall and there are a few ways to do this.
Restrict who you give you email address to.
It’s important to think carefully about who you give your email to. For example, if you enter a lot of contests, this often automatically subscribes you to several email campaigns. If you type your email into every popup box asking for it, these add up. Reduce who you give your email to.
Go through your inbox and unsubscribe to newsletters that you never read. If you haven’t opened one of their emails in months, chances that you’ll start to later are low. Turn off notifications from social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. If you like emails from these networks, then at least adjust the settings so they email you highlights once a week or month rather than allowing them to spam your inbox several times per day.
Do you need that notification?
If you receive emails that contain information you can find elsewhere, switch those notifications off. For instance, you might run an e-commerce site that sends an email for every sale. If your website already has a record of this, you don’t need it in two places. Make sure not to use your email as a to-do list. When you need to remember to do something, put that on a list elsewhere to clear up your inbox. If this is a hard habit to break, at least make a folder for things you need to do and move emails there and out of your general inbox.
Change your email habits
Change your own email sending habits. If a topic is complex and will require a lot of back and forth conversation, consider discussing it in person or over the phone. Sending fewer emails will reduce how many you receive in return. Remember that you don’t need to respond to every email you receive. A response indicates a willingness to continue to conversation.
Resist the urge to send messages with a single word like “Thanks!” or “Ok” and you’ll notice others will stop sending you similar, unnecessary messages. When sending group emails, you can also remind others not to use “reply all” unless it’s information relevant to the entire group.
Start clearing out
Now you can start emptying out your inbox and getting rid of any old emails you don’t need to keep. Delete old calendar invites, advertisements, or any emails where the problem has already been resolved. Respond to any messages that can be answered within only a few minutes. File everything that is left until you have a completely empty inbox. Archive messages where you don’t need to take an action, but you think might be useful. You can search and find these later if necessary. Put other emails into folders based off of the type of email and the priority level.
From now on, all of this can be automated. You can have receipts automatically go into a receipt folder, calendar invites go into another, etc. A cluttered inbox leads to your mind feeling just as cluttered. Free up your inbox to free up your mind and create more time in your day-to-day life. Let email overload become something of the past.
If you need help with your emails, give us a call on (561) 693.1978.