Several times each day I get an inquiry through the website forms on one of my sites that clearly does not seem to be from a business professional. But it turns out they are… or they think they are? These are folks asking questions or looking for my professional assistance.
Because you use a website form, does that mean E-mail Etiquette does not apply?
Most ironically, on this site, these inquiries are those asking Business E-mail Etiquette questions about something a business contact or associate is doing or a situation that happened at work. It is clear they are not interested in the topic of Business E-mail Etiquette — they are looking for that “gotcha!” moment.
How do I know this? As they look to E-mail Etiquette to resolve the situation that has them upset, they use absolutely no E-mail Etiquette to ask an E-mail Etiquette Expert about the situation at hand!
In my 20 years in online consulting, my experiences have proven out time and time again, that those who communicate via website forms with no concern to communicating as an educated professional; are not profitable customers. There is a correlation.
Will I want to partner or do business with you?
Business E-mail Etiquette applies to completing business related website forms too. Whether it be contacting new suppliers, partners, associates or just getting the services and products you need to run your business.
How you choose to approach a website owner, the words you use, the skills and education you decide to implement — or not, will determine how you are perceived by the person on the receiving end of your e-mail.
- Will they want to partner with you?
- Will they want to have you as a customer?
- Will they want to do business with you?
An Example that Doesn’t Impress
I used to offer the opportunity for writers to create guest posts for this site. I had some basic guest post guidelines and a specific form for those inquiries. I even had a link on my main contact form that if you are interested in guest posting there is a link to follow to get those specifics.
What am I to think when my main contact form is completed for a guest post inquiry without following that link? What am I to think when a guest post form is completed offering to write articles that have absolutely nothing to do with business email communications or technology use?
That worked out so well that I no longer accept guest posts on this blog. I now state as much and still get email inquiries about guest posting. Ugh.
Or how about those who contact me asking who they should contact in my “organization”? If you read my “About” page you would know it is all me.
These type of inquiries let me know that the senders are more focused on pure self-interest. They do not care about showing me, the site owner, the courtesy of just reading the basics to know who they are contacting and the proper manner to do so.
Opportunity to Impress
When making contact through a website form, you have the opportunity to impress and encourage a response to your inquiry. When you type in all lower case, do not spell check and make demands simply based on the premise that you “are the customer” won’t encourage the response you are looking for.
Or when you complete a form making it clear you didn’t even bother to search the site first (or read the text on the very form page you completed), realize that some website owners may choose to not encourage you to become a customer/partner/affiliate — by not responding to your request.
Technology is nothing if not a bunch of details, knowledge and skills each of us has to embrace and execute in order to accomplish our goals. To think that not communicating properly, with knowledge, understanding and courtesy when it comes to your business web form requests, is a lack of judgement your competitors will thank you for.