Selling Successfully (Your One-Stop Resource for Setting Up, Managing and Marketing)

Clear Communication:Tips For Efficient Email Use

It is important to understand the enormity of the Internet. Many millions of people use it every day to send email. This makes it important to include clear and complete information in all email correspondence. To increase your efficiency and decrease the chances of miscommunication during transactions, we recommend that you employ the following tips and guidelines for using email to conduct shop business.

The Importance Of Clear And Complete Subjects

If you're like most people these days, your email inbox is overflowing. Many minutes or even hours are wasted searching for an email with an irrelevant subject - or no subject at all. Give all messages clear and appropriate subjects to help customers find your email more quickly. Another reason to add a clear subject is filtering. Spam and email viruses have increased dramatically and email filters have become much more powerful in order to combat them. So powerful, in fact, that important email is sometimes filtered out, never to be received. Emails with vague subjects such as "Hi", or no subject at all have an increased risk of being filtered. Many email users also manually filter messages, so even if a vague subject gets by a filtering program, often it will be deleted by the recipient who isn't sure who you are, or what you want.

Email Signatures

Be sure that your contact information is always included in every email you send by using an automated signature. This is a simple tool that can be found in your email software, allowing you to quickly and easily include all of your contact information (full name, shop name, and shop URL plus a phone number or tag line, if desired) at the end of an email, with a single click. You can have as many different signatures as you need – one for each of your online shops, one for your personal contacts, etc. The process to set these up and use them is specific to each email program, so check your program's Help section.

Include Context Information

When preparing an email message, write a clear and concise message, but be sure to include all relevant information regarding the discussion topic. Imagine how it will appear to a person receiving hundreds of emails per day. This is an exaggeration (in most cases), but nevertheless you'll realize that more information is often needed to help them understand your email.

Here is an example of an email format that is used all too often:


Hi Jane:
I agree completely with of all your points.


In her email, Sue needed to much more clearly identify herself, and the nature of her business. At the very least, she needed to:

- Include her full name
- Include her shop name
- Include her shop URL
- Send her message as a reply to previous correspondence which contains the original message so that Joe can quickly and easily follow the train of thought rather than trying to recall the last thing said.
-If previous content is not included, she should be sure to write a Subject that clearly identifies the discussion topic, as well as compose a more complete message.

Consider What You Write

It's important to remember that email is the same as any written document, but can be duplicated and passed along more easily. Anything you write could be seen by others whom you hadn't intended. Rude or slanderous content is not only unprofessional, but could get you into serious trouble. We urge you to think carefully about all correspondence you compose. If you're angry or upset, take a deep breath - or a walk around the block - and wait an hour or a day, then consider a re-write - before you hit the "send" button.

Contacting Us At Ruby Lane

The same guidelines hold true when emailing us. For efficiency and a quick response, always include a relevant subject heading, a concise message and your contact information.

Email Spamming

Email is a great way to stay in touch with past customers. However, it should also be used judiciously. Remember the enormous size of the Internet. Your previous customers may have bought not only from you, but from dozens or even hundreds of other shops or sites online. Imagine if everyone they bought from sent them a promotional email every week or even every month?

There are few laws against email spamming – yet. But this will change dramatically in the near future. Even if your customers have asked to receive occasional news from you, bombarding customers with messages is a form of spamming, and isn't likely to improve your image in the eyes of the recipient. Once a customer has purchased from you, it doesn't make them fair game for promotional mailings. We strongly urge you to wait until those few special occasions during the year to contact your customers. More than once a quarter is probably too much unless a buyer has specifically requested to hear from you more often. Special sales and new arrivals are good times to connect, but don't overdo it. For added convenience, you can also encourage your customers to Subscribe to your shop in order to receive Shop Announcements.

Non-Working Email Addresses

All shops are required to keep their email address up to date in order to remain open on our site. By this, we mean your shop email address must remain "deliverable" at all times. If Ruby Lane sends out an email to a shop and we receive back a "returned" email, the shop is coded as having a bad email address. The shop is then automatically changed to Preview status. This process is done to ensure that shoppers never receive a returned email from a shop to which they have submitted a question, purchase order or offer.

If your email address is not working and your shop has been coded as having a bad email address, you will see an error message the next time you sign into your shop. On the error message page, click "please view the returned email now" link to see the returned email.

Back on the error message page, you may reset your email address or change your email address and then follow the specific instructions to request your shop be reopened.

Having A Stable ISP

When setting up your Internet connection, it's important to choose a stable ISP. By this we mean a provider that is reputable and is not likely to go out of business. There are lots of smaller companies offering good deals to gain market traction, but many of them aren't likely to be in business in several years, and if you've chosen one of them, you may be temporarily "out of business" until you can find a replacement. Changing your email address frequently also makes doing business with you more difficult, so we recommend you avoid making a change unless you have to.