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Business Email Etiquette & Website Forms

Professionals are always at their best.

Having several websites, I receive inquiries daily. Some appear to not be from a business professional. But it turns out they are. Or do they think they are?

These are folks asking questions or looking for my professional assistance. Yet, I can’t help but wonder how successful their business is or has the potential to be by their communication style.

All of my sites are professional. They are not hobby sites or blogs discussing food or the latest trends. You know, the topics that are naturally more informal.

Two websites are about Email Etiquette, and then there is my primary WordPress Consulting website. All are sites where professional communications would be a given.

Does Email Etiquette apply to web forms?

Ironically, on this site about “Business Email Etiquette,” many inquiries are about The Basics. Questions whose answers are covered in the article I just linked to and are at the top of page navigation.

The majority are seeking my point of view about something a business contact is doing or a situation that happened at work. They are not interested in the topic of Business Email Etiquette. Instead, they hope I’ll back them up and provide that “gotcha!” moment.

How do I know this?

As they look to Email Etiquette to resolve the situation that has them upset, they use no Email Etiquette to ask an Email Etiquette expert about the situation at hand! You would think that if you email an email etiquette website’s creator, you will try to reflect some email etiquette.

My 29 years of experience have proven, time and time again, that those who communicate via website forms with no concern for communicating as an educated professional are not profitable customers. There is a strong and validated correlation.

Will the site owner want to do business with you?

Business Email Etiquette also applies to completing business-related website forms, whether contacting new suppliers, partners, or associates or just inquiring about the services and products you need to run your business.

How you approach a website owner, the words you use, and the skills and education you decide to display will determine how the person on the receiving end of your inquiry perceives you.

  • Does your inquiry reflect what a great partner you will be?
  • When your inquiry is read, will the site owner want to encourage you to become a customer?
  • Will they even want to reply at all?

An Example that Doesn’t Impress

I used to offer the opportunity for writers to create guest posts for this website. At the time, there were 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,” here is a link to follow to get those specifics.

  • What will I think when my main contact form is completed for a guest post inquiry without following that link to the appropriate form?
  • What do I think when a guest post form is completed offering to write articles that have nothing to do with business email communications or technology use?
  • What am I to think when sample articles are submitted that do not follow my posted guest post guidelines?

That worked so well that I no longer accept guest posts on this website, as I was spending too much time weeding through inquiries that had no topical synergy with this site. And for those articles where the topics could work, the drafts didn’t follow the guidelines I posted for guest articles.

I now state that I do not accept guest posts and still get tons of email inquiries about guest posting. Ugh. I don’t respond anymore. If you ignore the content on my site, I will return the favor by ignoring your question.

Or how about those who contact me asking who they should contact in my “organization”? If you read my “About” page, you will know it is just me.

These inquiries let me know that the senders focus on pure self-interest. They do not care about showing me, the site owner, the courtesy of just reading the basics offered on my site. Instead, they head for the contact link, click, and start typing.

Use Your Opportunity to Impress

When making first contact through a business website form, you have the opportunity to impress and encourage a response to your inquiry. However, when you type in all lowercase, do not spell check and make demands based on the premise that you “are the customer” alone; that 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 form page you just completed), realize that some website owners may choose not to encourage you to become a customer, partner or affiliate by not responding to your request.

Technology is nothing if not a bunch of details, knowledge, and skills we must embrace and execute to accomplish our goals. So to think that not communicating correctly, with knowledge, understanding, and courtesy when it comes to your business website form requests is a lack of judgment your competitors will thank you for.

Share the knowledge!

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