Respectful, courteous and trustworthy are the three words that first come to mind when I think of business etiquette.
When you have earned the privilege of obtaining the e-mail address of a prospect, you have unlimited access to them...until they tell you otherwise. You can choose what to send in your e-mails, you can choose the time of day to send it, and...you can choose how often you're going to send throughout the day.
Having unlimited access... is it a privilege...or a curse? You know how important other people consider their time to be...including the time they may spend reading your e-mails. So how do you decide what content to send when?
The first rule is respect. Respect their time, their effort and their preferences. So learn everything you can about the person you're e-mailing. Whatever your niche, learn as much about group and individual preferences as possible. What are your competitors doing? You don't want to do what they're doing...you want to differentiate your product and yourself...and you don't want to ignore the needs and desires of your prospective clientele.
The second rule is courtesy. How can you best meet not only the product needs, but the information needs, of your prospects and clientele?
You'll need to find out what really works for them...and for you. Are you in a market where you know your clients and prospects are already inundated with e-mail? If so, be the marketer who sends fewer e-mails...with shorter...and better content.
One way to find out needs and wants is to send out a survey. Ask what their ideal level of information for your product is. Do they want to receive e-mail updates on only your product? Do they want to receive e-mail updates when you discover new and exciting information in the market? Do they want information links, or would they prefer the "Cliff Notes" version?
The third rule of business etiquette, including e-mail, is being trustworthy. You want to become a friend; someone who knows them and someone they trust with at least semi-confidential information. When they've been a customer or client for a few months, ask them if they'll share their birth date. Then when their birthday comes along, be sure to send an e-mail card, and if possible a gift. Doesn't have to be anything major, but just something that says you recognize today's "their" day, and you want to help them celebrate because they're special. And, they are. After all, where would any of us be without people who buy...and hopefully really like...our products.
In e-mail marketing, you are what you say and how you say it. It's especially important to be respectful in language and tone. The person you are doing business with may never have met you in person and may have only your e-mails and website information to decide if you're the kind of person they want to do business with.
Use good grammar and punctuation, consistent with the language and culture of your client or prospect.
Get to the point. Give only as much detail as absolutely necessary, with links to additional information for those individuals who desire it.
If you are perceived as courteous, respectful and trustworthy in every e-mail, your etiquette will not only get you you the teacher's apple, it will build a long-lasting relationship.