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Business Email Attachment Courtesies

Business Email Attachment Etiquette

You make a new contact and start sending random email attachments. You mean well. After all, you want them to have all your information and know everything about you.

Unfortunately, potential partners could view this approach as inconsiderate (maybe even spammy). A recipient could think of this approach in personal emails as stalky, but that’s another discussion.

Attaching a file or collection of files to an email and clicking send is not tricky. Yes, you can physically attach any file or files you want. But that doesn’t mean you should.

You could reformat your hard drive and erase all your files too. But you don’t do that, do you? Enter knowledge, understanding, and professional courtesy.

For example, what if your contact has their email sent to their cell phone? Would those files eat up their data or storage allowances? What if their inbox has limitations (file or quota), causing subsequent emails to bounce?

Not a way to make a good impression.

Budding New Business Partnerships

When nurturing new business partnerships, we want to show the epitome of business courtesy. In the beginning, each side feels out the other to determine if this is the person/company they want to do business with.

To begin flooding new contacts with multi-format or multiple large file size attachments without a specific request — is spamming. It can also signal that you may not be all that tech-savvy.

The fact is, not all files are meant to go through the email pipeline. High-resolution photos, PowerPoint, and Excel files come to mind. PDFs can be huge files too.

Attaching a multitude of files in one email can add up fast. Here again, what if the other side doesn’t have PowerPoint or is on a Mac and you are on a PC?

That’s why you ask first.

I often receive highly formatted files, PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets, and RFQs that I didn’t ask for. And not personally addressed to me — a mass mailing. As a consultant, am I to spend my time reviewing and “consulting” just because unasked files land in my inbox?

What do you think that approach intimates it would be like to work with businesses that approach me in that manner?

Think Before Attaching

Most well-structured websites are clear about processes and contact channels. Not seeking those out and then blindly sending attachments without personal comments will not encourage a response.

Especially in an unsolicited first contact situation. Sending large unasked-for files implies you expect them to spend valuable time reviewing and replying.

The thing is, there is no true cold-calling online. Any level of cold-calling online is a delicate process that many do not know how to do successfully.

This differs from new contacts who are enthusiastic about getting their information to me. With new connections, we’ve already had the first contact.

The worst online “cold” calling often results in collateral sent that does not apply to me, my services, or what I need or—next stop—the spam folder.

This is where you want to be judicious about what attachments you send when you send them, and to who. You want to do your homework.

Sending After Hours

Another bad habit of those working evenings or weekends is sending unasked-for attachments outside of business hours. Unfortunately, not everyone may be available or monitoring their accounts off-hours.

Refrain from sending files of any kind, especially those megs in size, outside of business hours. The exception would be if you had a previous discussion with the recipient and let them know you would send the attachments and that you have their acknowledgment.

Just Ask First

Before sending large or software-specific attachments, always ask your contact what file format works for them. Also, inquire when would be the best time to send your files to ensure they are available to download at their convenience.

While some may think they can send attachments when convenient for them, that isn’t the best professional approach. Instead, inquiring first reflects proper technology use with a dash of courtesy. That’s how you build a business.

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