Posted by: jmwilsonmga | May 22, 2012

Virtual First Impressions – Part 1

Recently I was enlisted to help my brother and his fiancé plan their wedding.  I emailed the sales team for one facility we were considering.  I provided as many details as possible about our needs and outlined several specific questions. When I received the response back, I immediately took them off my list.

The response looked more like a text from a teenager than business correspondence to a potential customer.  There was no “Dear Julie” or “thank you for your inquiry”, instead, it cut right into tangled mess of responses to some (not all) of my questions.  It lacked proper grammar, basic punctuation and don’t even get me started on the spelling.  The message concluded by putting the ball back in my court and instructing me to call some guy named Nick (no title, no last name) for the answers to questions that were not addressed.  Why can’t “Nick contact me?” I thought.  Finally, the note lacked a closing, signature line or even the name of the person behind the message.  I guess if I had such terrible e-mail etiquette I wouldn’t sign my name to it either.

This got me thinking about the importance of first impressions and how you can make a lasting impression before you ever get the chance to face-to-face. Your e-mail is a reflection of you and your company. Every e-mail you send adds to, or detracts from, your reputation. If your e-mail is scattered, disorganized, and filled with errors, the recipient will think of you or your company as scattered and unreliable. You only have one chance to make a first impression.  What kind of impression do your emails make?

Follow 14 simple e-mail etiquette guidelines and you’ll make a GREAT impression every time!

  1. Use a greeting line. Resist the urge to plow right into your message by adding a greeting. A greeting feels more friendly and gives it a personal touch.
  2. Say Thank You.  Thank them for their email, question etc. Again, this a gesture adds a warm, personal touch.
  3. Use a clear and meaningful subject line. With inboxes being clogged by hundreds of e-mails a day, it’s crucial that your subject line be simple and descriptive.
  4. Choose your words carefully.  The words you choose set the tone. Be sure your words sound friendly and helpful.
  5. Avoid jokes or sarcasm. It’s easy for your tone to be misunderstood in an email. The reader can’t hear the inflection in a voice. All they have to go on is the words themselves.  The last thing you want is for your attempt at witty humor to be mistaken for a rude remark.
  6. Get to the point.  Reading an email is more difficult that reading printed communications.  Key points are often missed when an email is too wordy.
  7. Answer all questions. An email reply must answer all questions. Leaving a customer with unanswered questions forces them to make a decision. They can choose to send an additional email or give up and take their business elsewhere.

Look for my blog post next week with the last 7 e-mail etiquette guidelines to a great first impression!

About the Author : Julie Stevens, Promotion Coordinator

Julie joined the J.M. Wilson Team in 2003 and serves as the Promotion Coordinator.  She plans our monthly promotional schedules, creates and sends fax and Product Brief email blasts, maintains content on our website, writes and sends press releases, creates and manages printed materials, and promotes J.M. Wilson’s events.  She loves graphic design and that her position allows her to be creative and work on a variety of projects.  Outside of the office, Julie enjoys spending time with her family, photography, scrapbooking, and cooking.

Connect with Julie on LinkedIn

Disclaimer :  This article is for informational purposes only.  There is no legal advice being suggested or proffered.  The author assumes no responsibility or liability for the actions taken or not taken by the readers based upon such information.  This article is the opinion of the author and is not supported or endorsed by J.M. Wilson.  It should not be relied upon and may contain inaccuracies or content may have changed over time, contact your underwriter for the most current and accurate information.  Any comments or responses are the opinions of their authors.  Content on this site is believed to be covered under Fair Use.

Copyright 2012 J.M. Wilson Corporation

Related Posts : Read Wendy Ballast’s, HR Manager, take on email etiquette! “Keep It Classy : Professional E-mail Etiquette”


  1. […] week, I shared with you a recent email exchange that left much to be desired and my first 7 guidelines for making a great impression over email.  Your email is a reflection of you and your company.  Think of how many emails you send in one […]

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