Sunday, August 29, 2010

Top 10 Things to Write About When You Don’t Know What to Write About

  1. Interview an expert. Find someone within your company or from the outside to provide an expert opinion on a topic of interest. Ask the president of your company.
  2. Use guest articles. Ask an expert in a complementary field to write an article. 
  3. Share your knowledge in “how-to” articles. Write about topics that will help others succeed in using your company’s products or services.
  4. Generate a numbered list. Everyone loves a numbered list. Use any number you want, from small to large. 
  5. Answer reader questions. Invite readers to submit questions or topics of interest.
  6. Simplify a technical issue. Explain a technical topic in simpler terms so it is easily understood by the reader. 
  7. Case study. Describe a customer problem and show how your product or service solved the problem. 
  8. Community service. Describe a community project or donation made by the company or organization and its staff and members.
  9. Employee profile. Provide information about an employee that shows why he or she is outstanding in their job performance. Demonstrate how their unique skill set enhances the team.
  10. Letter from the Editor. Write a column about writing the newsletter this time. Tell about funny things that happened while researching the stories.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

10 Do’s and Don’ts for More Professional Emails to Prospects

What happened to complete sentences?  Email communication has become fragmented with misspelled words, punctuation errors and capitalization faux paux's everywhere.

In our daily communication between co-workers, friends and customers, sometimes a fast response is more important than proper grammar. In fact, after establishing rapport, most people allow themselves to become careless in their written communication. 

With emails to prospective new customers, this casual negligence can be disastrous. The ideal prospect email communicates that you are professional, intelligent and articulate. It says you are worth their attention and response. Misspellings, grammar and other errors make you look unprofessional and unprepared.

Here are 10 tips for creating an email message that will leave the prospective customer with a positive impression of you and your company. 

1.    Limit paragraphs to 3-4 sentences.
2.    Leave a blank line between paragraphs instead of indenting.
3.    Write in complete sentences that include a subject and a verb.
4.    Use commas. And use them correctly.
5.    Look up the definition of a questionable word before using it. Use words correctly.
6.    Don’t write words in all capitals. Just don’t do it.
7.    Use standard formatting including salutation, body, valediction, and signature.
8.    Ask someone to proofread it before sending.
9.    Triple check your punctuation, spelling and grammar.
10.    If necessary, use common emoticons to help communicate your intended inflection in an email.

Don’t frustrate prospective customers with short, choppy messages. Get a better response from prospects by using these professional communication techniques. You are guaranteed to see more signed proposals and more productive sales with better communication.