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Email and your brand

Don't underestimate the impact of email on your brand.

Email addresses are where it begins. If you are sending an email to an organization to introduce yourself, or to arrange an appointment to discuss funding opportunities, and your email address is you will not have credibility. Your email will likely be filtered directly to a junk mail folder, and if it makes its way to an inbox, will be deleted.

Email addresses don't have to be as obvious as this example to limit opportunity. Using an email such as might work if you are applying for student funding, but when you are working on a business idea, it is best to use a professional email address which reflects your business and your brand. This demonstrates that you already have the entrepreneurial mindset and are intentional about your business.

What about email addresses that begin with "info@"? What message does this send if it is a primary email address? It might appear that it does not belong to a particular individual but is a more generic email address that could be opened by various people. As such, the email sender might not be confident that it will be received by the person intended which is especially concerning if the content is confidential.

Using a respectful salutation is also important. When sending a personal email between friends, the use of "Hey Julia"or "Hey There" might be appropriate, but it is too informal for a business email. Similarly, in many cases, use of "Dear Mrs. McNeil" might appear to be too formal for an email. If the relationship is this formal, a traditional business letter might be more appropriate. It is all about balance. Consider using a salutation such as "Good Morning, Julia" to strike a balance between a friendly and a business tone.

Poor grammar or careless spelling in an email can also be problematic. Sending an email which begins with "Good Morning Mary Elen" when the recipient's name is Mary Ellen, conveys an obvious lack of attention to detail. Using spell check is advisable especially along with a grammar check. In the case of an email that says "their is time in my schedule to meet between 3pm and 4pm," spell check will not pick up the incorrect use of the word "their" instead of "there." If it is an important email, consider asking someone to proofread the message.

Tone and intent are also important. Emailing PersonX within an organization while complaining that you are writing to them because you haven't received an immediate response from PersonY, and also requesting an appointment the next day, will likely convey the message that you are a complainer and are "high maintenance." This will get you off on the wrong foot with an organization or business. People want to work with those who are respectful and positive.

At the conclusion of your email, it is important to be in the habit of including a signature file in in every email which includes your telephone number and address. This makes it very easy to reach you using various channels.

Your email sends an important message about your business and who you are as a person. It is a key part of your brand and it sets the tone for the relationships that you are building. Used appropriately and intentionally, it can open doors to your future success.

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