Sending a Well-Branded Email

Contributor post by Caroline and Jose of Handcrafted Consulting

Image from © Lime Lane Photography

The word "brand" is something we bring up a lot when talking about building and marketing a business. But your brand is much more than a logo or your style or your product line- your brand is largely based on the customer service you provide, and often what people remember first.

 Every opportunity you have to communicate with your customers -from telling your story in your biography, to answering a simple email inquiry- reflects the brand that you are creating. Every email you send should express to your customer the level of service they can expect from you; it's also a chance for you to help form the reputation you're working so hard to build.

Today we will look at ways to answer a simple email from a potential customer regarding one of your products. Next time, we will tackle the challenging (and often emotional) job of responding to an email from a disappointed customer. (It doesn't have to be that bad!)

Email @ Necklace by Cathy Davey Accessories

A Product Inquiry Email

As a business owner, these emails are certainly one of the best kinds of emails to get; you have an open channel to communicate with someone who is interested in your product, and is usually pretty close to making a purchase. At Paloma's Nest, we try to stand by the "rules" we have created for how we reply to emails: timely, gracious, genuine, and concise. Here is what we mean by that:

In our business, our policy is to answer customer service emails within a few hours, especially during our set working hours. If replying that quickly is impossible (and sometimes it is), then try to make a habit out of replying sometime the same day or early the following day. This is sometimes difficult, and there should be boundaries in place (which is a whole other topic of discussion).  But generally, when you are able to respond quickly, it lets your client know that you take your business seriously and you take your customers seriously. (If you keep set business hours, do note this in your shop so your customers know what to expect.) In online shopping, time is of the essence. If a customer doesn’t hear back from you, chances are they will move on to their next option.

When responding to a product inquiry email, first and foremost thank your customer for being in touch with you. Take the opportunity to express a bit of gratitude to your customer for their interest in your artwork.  After all, as an artist, that's what this business is about: sharing your work with others and the honor it is to create a piece especially for somebody who appreciates and loves what you do.

A sample email might read as follows:

Dear Mary, 
Thank you so much for your interest in Paloma's Nest.
We are so excited to have the opportunity to craft these special pieces for you. We can have this set ready to ship to you within about five days, and our standard shipping method is Priority Mail, which takes about another three days to arrive. So, based on those estimates,  this would reach you just in time for your sister’s birthday. If you'd prefer to receive it sooner, we can send it Express Mail for about $10 more.
We look for forward to working with you; please let us know if you have other questions. Thanks again!
Caroline & Jose
founders- designers
Paloma’s Nest
Handcrafted Modern Heirlooms at

Genuine and Concise
Of course, the purpose of your email is to answer the question-  so, make sure you do that, and then some! Nothing is worse than a reply that doesn’t give the information that was requested, so do “cover your bases.” Is your work humorous and playful? Don’t be afraid to let that personality squeeze into your writing style!

For example, if a customer writes to see if they can get their order by a certain date, be clear about your delivery time.  If you are able to rush things, tell them not only about expedited crafting, but about the express shipping options that may be available, and any additional costs related to a rush order.  If a customer is interested in a custom version of one of your designs, take the time to share a little bit about your crafting process. If they love your scarf in green, but were hoping for a blue one,  attach an image of some color samples they may like.

You have a captive audience, so make the most of it. When choosing between two similar products the customer is more likely to choose the brand that charmed them and offered them the best service.
Hand Embroidered Note by Corn Flower Blue Studio

A few final tips:

-Create email drafts of your most common answers to common questions. Not only is this a great time saver but a way to keep your branding consistent if you ever hire an assistant to help answer emails for you.  Just be sure to edit them to be specific and genuine to each inquiry.

-On that same point, are you receiving the same product question over and over again? Something about your order processing time, or the dimensions of a particular piece? Be sure the answer isn’t missing from your item description or shop policies.

-Always include your name, business name and website in your email signature. Remember that this is a chance for your customer to put a virtual face on your brand, and to learn about the person behind the art. Some folks like to include their Facebook or Twitter links to encourage customers to join them in those communities. Whatever details you include, be sure to keep it brief and professional.

-And lastly, you never know who you are corresponding with. The client on the other end could be a magazine editor, a blogger or someday become your best customer. Treat everyone equally, with respect and gratitude.

Every business is different; this discussion is an overview of just one way of doing things. How do YOU reply to customer inquiries? Do you have any special ways to express your brand through your correspondence? Let's continue chatting in the comments below!

Caroline and Jose are the duo behind the heirloom gift brand Paloma's Nest. They believe artists don't have to be starving, so they mentor and coach creatives like you at Handcrafted Consulting. Join them for a workshop or a one-to-one virtual chat about starting, growing or managing your handmade business (plus, they are Certified Etsy Educators)!

Jan Halvarson


Chelsea C. said...

Love this! Bookmarking for future inspiration. Such good tips!

Michelle Foster said...

Great post for someone just starting out. Thanks!
-Michelle {LiveLoudly}

Jennifer said...

Great tips for the online business owner. Thank you!

Jenipher Lyn said...

This was great, i feel more confident with how i handle my e-mails now. thank you!!

-Jenipher :)