Emails have become the primary mode of communication to most businesses nowadays. If you are not able to write emails that get the attention you think they deserve, then you can be sure that your business is not getting the same either.

For some businesses, most of their customers start online and faltering on the most important mode of communication is not the modus operandi to succeed.

The following tips will help you perfect your emails for maximum effectiveness

  1. Personal Emails - Your email address is your identity. Stick to the use of a single email address. Whether you use Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook does not matter if you stick to one for a long time

  2. Business Emails - For a business nothing underlines credibility than an email address from a domain the business owns. If your shop name is zedof, your emails will be more credible with [email protected] than [email protected] Personal emails are simply not cut out for business

  3. Subject - Most people (includes me) decide whether to open an email by just the subject line alone and since around 70% of emails are read on mobile devices, it is better to Keep your subject short and to the point. "Invoice December 2014 Airtel Broadband" is a very good example.

  4. Length of Emails - A time tested rule of thumb is to keep email word count to less than 150 and keeping to not more than five or six sentences is a must

  5. Signature - Make sure to sign your emails without fail. Email signatures announce the authority and ingenuity of the sender. Make sure your email signature consists of the following (or most of it as appropriate). Name, designation, Address, Phone number, working hours, Social contacts (Linked in, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus etc)

  6. Tone - Always write your emails with a respectful tone; even if you do not receive it back.

  7. Replies - Make sure you reply to emails within the first 24 hour period. If a resolution for the issue mentioned in the email is not possible within the 24 hour period a reply back asking for more time to resolve the issue would be more appropriate

  8. Checking – Always check your emails for grammatical and contextual errors. Twice

  9. Addressee - Address your emails to only the party intended. Be mindful of Reply, Reply All, BCC and CC

  10. Communication mode - Keep your emails direct. Try not to touch your nose around your head.

Muhammad Ali

The man who views the world at 50, the same as h e did at 20 has wasted thirty years of his life.

Rabbi Hillel

Who does not grow; declines.

Ezra Pound

There is no reason why the same man should like the same book at 18 and at 48.

George Orwell

Many people genuinely do not wish to be saints, and it is possible that some who achieve or aspire to sainthood have never had much temptation to be human beings.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.

Lin Yutang

If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live.

Honor de Balzac

He has great tranquillity of heart who cares neither for the praises nor the fault finding of men.

Dale Carnegie

One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses.

Jean Anouilb

To say yes, you have to sweat and roll up your sleeves and plunge both hands into life up to the elbows. It's easy to say no, even if it means dying.

G. K. Chesterton

A dead thing can g o with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.

Anonymous

Life is an echo. What you send out; you get back. What you give; you receive.

George Santayana

When you are younger you get blamed for crimes you never committed and when you're older you begin to get credit for virtues you never possessed. It evens itself out.

Henri Frederic Amiel

The man, who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides. Accept life, and you must accept regret.

Erma Bombeck

If you can't make it better, you can laugh at it.

Thomas Paine

Character is much easier kept than recovered.

Josh Billings

Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well.

William Lyon Phelps

This is the first test of a gentleman: his respect for those who can be of no possible value to him.

Dean Acheson

The future comes one day at a time.

Voltaire

Do well and you will have no need for ancestors.

Henrik Ibsen

The strongest man in the world is he who stands alone.

Moliere

It is not only for what we do that we are held responsible, but also for what we do not do.

Soren Kierkegaard

Life can only be understood backwards but it must be lived forwards.

Aeschylus

The future you shall know when it has come. Before then, forget it .

Upanishad

One's own thought is one's world. What a person thinks is what he becomes.

Miguel de Cervantes

Time ripens all things. No man is born wise.

Sir Walter Besant

I am afraid we must make the world honest before we can honestly say to our children that honesty is the best policy

T.H.White

The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to watch someone else do it wrong, without comment.

Lewis Carroll

"If every body minded their own business," the Duchess said in a hoarse growl, "the world would go round a good deal faster than it does."

Anonymous

If you're in a card game and you don't know who the sucker is, you're it .

James F. Byrnes

Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem more afraid of life than death.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

We boil at different degrees.

Muhammad Ali

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.

Danny Kaye

Life is a great big canvas. Throw all the paint you can at it.

Eleanor Roosevelt

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself , "I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along."

Abraham Lincoln

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.

George Orwell

On the whole, human beings want to be good, but not too good and not quite all the time.

John R. Wooden

Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.

Aristotle

Education is the best provision for the journey to old age.

Anna Sewell

I am never afraid of what I know.

Jefferson Davis

Never be haughty to the humble. Never be humble to the haughty.

George F Will

It i s extraordinary how extraordinary the ordinary person is.

Akhenaton

Contemplate thy powers, contemplate thy wants and thy connections; so shalt thou discover the duties of life, and be directed in all thy ways.

SCENARIO PLANNING

Act now to foresee the future

Scenario planning enables organizations to rehearse the future, to stroll through the battlefield even before the war materializes so that they are better prepared to face it. Scenario planning is not about predicting future events but in helping businesses understand the forces that shape future developments.

Scenario planning challenges assumptions and enables leaders to manage uncertainty and risk. Scenarios help companies to understand the dynamics of the business environment, recognize new opportunities, assess strategic options, and take long-term decisions and by systematically imagining tomorrow, it promotes sophisticated responsive strategic thinking about the current situation to detect and understand changes.

• Scenarios are not predictions: They are used to understand the forces shaping the future. It is about understanding the general direction in which it is moving and why, and not about knowing exactly what the future will be.

• Plan and structure the scenario process. Define stakeholders by agreeing who will be involved.

• Discuss possible futures. Work back from a possible view of the future.

• Develop the scenarios in greater detail.

• Analyze the scenarios. Why they might occur, what you would do if they did.

• Use the scenarios to shape decisions and priorities.

Companies like Shell and Apple which have used scenario planning wisely have responded with great agility compared to their competitors while facing challenges that could have broken them and have grown multi-fold.

The Simple Stupid Way to Build Customer Trust and Loyalty

Reducing the cost of Customer Acquisition, Increasing Repeat Customers and Maintaining a Loyal Customerbase

Aggressive or clever pushing is the only way to market a product, service or a concept seems to be the most popular mode of operation to grab a greater share of the market nowadays. Recent lower than cost sales festival of FlipKart (August 2014) and a few other etailers including snapdeal and Amazon prove it without a doubt. These companies are losing money by selling products below cost to acquire clients (more appropriately known as "Loss Leader"). But what these companies do not realize is that customers acquired by such deals do not tend to be loyal to the brand once such offers dry up and jump ship to another retailer if offered better deals. For the customer who was only brought on board because of the low prices, there is no incentive to stay loyal.

So, what do they need to do build a loyal customer base which would rather spend more than move to a competitor. Brands like Armani, Apple, British Airways, Harley-Davidson, Tag Heuer, etc., have created a large loyal customer base being the envy of organisations worldwide. I am not exaggerating when I say that each one of the above companies started with zero customers and worked their way up to where they are now. While aggressive pushing and clever penetration strategy works out to a certain extent, these alone do not help sustain the long term.

The Harley-Davidson Story

A leaf out of companies that command great respect, love, bonding and customer loyalty will educate us with the knowledge required to build one of our own. Let us take Harley-Davidson for example.

It would be hard for this generation to believe that Harley-Davidson, the sought after name in the motorcycle industry had a hard time competing with the low priced, affordable, high quality Japanese motorcycles in the 1980's and losing a lot of marketshare to the Japanese manufacturers unable to compete with them on price. Harley-Davidson, back then did not have the cult following it enjoys now. Though they made motorcycles of reasonable quality (read - not so reliable as the Japanese makes), they were just another brand fighting for the same piece of pie against superior quality reliable, affordable Japanese brands.

Harley-Davidson had two must do's: They had to increase their quality and compete with the Japanese brands on price. Improving the quality of the motorcyles was a necessity to survive but that increased costs eventually. Harley-Davidson already much more expensive than the Japanese motorcycles were in no situation to compete on price selling lower than cost (refer first paragraph of this article), take the loss just to survive and were pushed to the edge to survive which made them give birth to a strategy that gave birth to the cult following it currently enjoys.

After improving their quality to challenge their Japanese counterparts, Harley-Davidson's knowledge of their customer's needs and their appeal to hedge their emotions yielded good returns building great trust and bonding with the brand. They made them feel they cared. They made them feel they belong. They made them feel they were special. This increases trust in the brand and eventually salesTheir managers to this date meet customers regularly at rallies, where new models are demonstrated, feedback is collected and acted upon. Strategic Advertising reinforces the macho brand image and promotes customer loyalty. Harley-Davidson still works hard to make the customers feel that they don't just own a motorcycle from the company but are an integral part of their global family. This initiative changed Harley-Davidson from just another to the "privileged to ride" brand of the world.

Harley Owner’s Group (HOG)

The Harley Owner’s Group (HOG) is a exclusive membership club that entrenches customer loyalty and Harley-Davidson ensures customers receive benefits they value. The result is that customers trust Harley-Davidson; this trust is used to develop stronger bonds and greater profits in a virtuous circle. Rich Teerlink, former chair of Harley-Davidson, once said, “Perhaps the most significant program was and continues to be, the Harley Owner’s Group (HOG). Dealers regained confidence that Harley could and would be a dependable partner and capturing the ideas of our people, all the people at Harley, was critical to our future success.”

Lessons learnt from the Harley-Davidson saga to build brand loyalty

• Deliver a consistent (and ideally a “branded”) experience each time customers deal with your business.

• Be clear about the value proposition you offer.

• Provide incentives for new customers to return and reorder.

• Reward loyalty benefits for established customers.

• Be competitive. What seems like a good deal to you may not match your competitors.

• Make the customer’s experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

• Reassure customers with reliable services and products.

• Use customer feedback to continuously improve your processes.

• Work with partners and invest in resources to deliver reliability.

The above are not new strategies but are relevant businesses of the past, present and the future. A few business leaders tend to forget these basics in a bid to capture the "NOW" market to establish their market share quickly. But the important thing about running any business is to sustain through the passage of time and grow albeit steadily than to flourish one day and begone another.

Take heed and Prosper