In the anonymous world of Internet, e-mail is your face to the world. Your e-mail communication should inspire confidence in buyer. Internet users are notorious for deleting mails suspected to be irrelevant - without reading.

Question - How do you ensure the recipient not only reads your e-mail but develops a positive impression about you ?

Though the content or what you write is the ultimate decider, a lot depends on format or how you present your content. Here�s a few Tips on how to make your e-mails more professional looking


  1. Make sure the Reply To column is correct. It is so frustrating to receive a mail, which can not be answered !
  2. Do not cram the To or CC: column with e-mail addresses. If at all you wish to mark CC, make sure all recipients have some kind of relationship and are relevant in the context. (e.g. addressing a letter to Head Office of a company with CC: to local branch office for follow-up)
  3. If you wish to address mail to multiple recipients who have no mutual relationship (other than known to you or your potential customer !), use the BCC: column.
  4. Do not indulge in mindless mass mailing, though it seems so easy and convenient to send thousands of e-mails in no time !! Do not get misled by numbers alone - quality is more important here than quantity. Targetted, specific and individually addressed e-mails carry much more weight than an anonymous mail.
  5. Please make sure your mail has not only a SUBJECT but is relevant and as specific as possible (e.g. 'In response to your enquiry for brass candle stick (July 15)' rather than a vague sounding "Indian Handicrafts'.
  6. Remember - recipients first look at the subject and then the content. If your sujbject fails to attract recipient's attention, chances are the mail will end up in trash can (ooops ! trash folder)
  7. Do you have a signature file ? All e-mail software (Netscape, Eudora etc.) support a signature file that automatically gets appended to your letter. The signature should contain your contact details like telephone, fax, mailing address, and URL of your Home Site (if any)
  8. The signature should not only STAND OUT physically, it should contain an interesting/attention grabbing phrase

The signature file is a great tool to advertise your web-site, products etc. Remember, every time you send an e-mail or someone forwards your message or you post a message at bulletin board or discussion forum - your message spreads without any extra effort.


  1. Please do not quote sender's letter completely while responding (unless the quote is brief or there is a specific reason). It is positively irritating to receive a long e-mail full of irrelevant information from your own mail or previous correspondence. Use quotes selectively, while responding to specific question/issues raised by sender.
  2. Please make sure that line lengths are never more than 65 characters. Most e-mail software automatically wraps long lines, make sure you have made this option "ON'.
  3. Use short sentences in direct speech, using a conversational style as much as possible.
  4. Use paragraphs to structure your message appropriately.
  5. The length of your e-mail should be limited to, ideally, half the size of A4 paper. Use hyper links (to your sites) liberally instead of long write-up on company profile, history, management... !! If you do not have web-site, place such information as appendix at the end of mail.
  6. Many users limit the max size of e-mails to be received. Large e-mails, in such cases, never reache the recipient.
  7. Never attach file attachments without permission of the recipient. In this age of countless viruses being carried through attachments, chances are your e-mail will have summary execution (deleted without a second thought !!)

Above all, you must respond to all e-mails that need to be answered within 24 or max 48 hours. If requested information can not be provided within 24 or 48 hours, send an interim response informing about the delay and how soon do you expect to provide the requested information.

What's your experience ? I look forward to your feedback

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Source: FAIDA - Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad Vol II, Issue 2; June 7' 2001

Author : Dr. Amit K. Chatterjee
(Amit worked in blue-chip Indian and MNCs for 15 years in various capacities like Research and Information Analysis, Market Development, MIS, R&D Information Systems etc. before starting his e-commerce venture in 1997. The views expressed in this columns are of his own. He may be reached at )

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