Digital transformation is the process by which companies embed technologies across their businesses to drive fundamental change for the benefits of Increased efficiency, greater business agility and, ultimately, the unlocking of new value for employees, customers and shareholders.

For most companies digital transformation requires a shift away from traditional norms

For most companies, digital transformation requires a shift away from traditional thinking and toward a more collaborative, experimental approach. These new ways of approaching work reveal new solutions which, in turn, can improve customer experience, drive employee innovation and spur company growth at the fundamental level.

A company might introduce AI or cloud computing to enhance its customer experience. Or it might redesign its supply chain to make better use of machine learning. A company can even make spot-on predictions about the products customers will want in a few months’ time, then shift production to meet demand.

For enterprises, digital transformation is in seeking constant improvement

For enterprises, that means continually seeking out ways to improve the end-user experience. This could be through offering improved on-demand training, migrating data to cloud services, leveraging artificial intelligence, and more, according to accenture.com.

There are four main types of digital transformation that organization should consider:

An organisation's business requirements affect which type of digital transformation strategy is most likely to succeed. There are four main types of digital transformation that organizations should consider taking advantage of in their own transformation strategy.

1. Process Transformation

This focuses on processes such as data, analytics, AI, and any process that can work towards lowering costs and driving operational efficiency in the business

2. Business Model Transformation

This is about making fundamental changes in how a business or organization runs which can include personnel, processes, and technology.

3. Domain Transformation

This area offers a great opportunity to move into a new domain or area that a business may not have explored before by acquiring new technologies

4. Cultural or Organizational Transformation

This is about redefining mindsets, processes, capabilities and skills for a digital world. It’s about driving digital transformation forward through growth initiatives that are grounded in a new culture and way of thinking.

Email is a common form of communication for professionals. It's important to learn proper email etiquette. This can help you best respond to colleagues and clients and prevent miscommunication.

In this article, we discuss how to respond to an email professionally and provide examples of replying to an email in various situations.

What is an electronic-mail?

We have become so used to it that it became somehow habitual not to even think about it. But if we think for a moment about it ans ask ourselves a simple question, what is an email? Answer: Email is an electronic message exchange system used to send and receive messages over a computer network.

Additionally to the above, and historically, it was 1971 when Ray Tomlinson invented and developed electronic mail, as we know it today, by creating ARPANET's networked email system. The concept of nearly instantaneous communication between machines within an organization proved to be so beneficial and practical that the concept soon began to spread.

In 1971 electronic mail became a method of exchanging messages between people using electronic devices. Email was thus conceived as the electronic version of, or counterpart to, mail, at a time when "mail" meant only physical mail.

How is email sent?

Emails are routed to user accounts via several computer servers. They route the message to their final destination and store them so that users can pick them up and send them once they connect to the email infrastructure.

How is email received?

The receiving server accepts the message so that it can be delivered to the recipient. The recipient's email client retrieves the message using standards like the Post Office Protocol (POP) or Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) to download the message so it can be read.

How is email accessed?

Email can be accessed through an email client or a web interface.

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And how do we reply to an email professionally?

There exist several articles tutoring on replying to emails professionally. They're all right, to a degree, but we would like to take a stand that replying to an email shall follow the practice of awareness, as any other activity that requires awareness, conscience and understandable language. In any language awareness is what comes before mental paraphrasing which is based on habitual fitness of the whole human being. To a certain degree we can always feel safe when we stick to the point, but communication includes also rhetorical skills, as well as knowledge obtained by experience and the level of professionalism that we're communicating at. Definitely is that academic replies in emails will differ from direct marketing and sales pitches, the point being awareness is the key.

If it's for the business, stay in the business format

When responding to a professional email, it's important for you to use a business email format. This is a simple structure that allows for clear communication and organises information logically, such as separating different topics into separate lines or sections. It helps prevent miscommunication and demonstrates your respect for the recipient.

A professional email should include:

A subject line
A greeting
An introduction
Well-organised information
A closing statement
Your email signature

How to answer an email professionally

Follow these steps when replying to an email:

1. Review the email

Read the initial email carefully. Identify the most critical questions or requests from the sender. While it's important to reply to business emails quickly, check the email for any potential urgent requests or deadlines.

2. Start with a greeting

Begin your email with a polite greeting. Consider including a phrase, such as I hope you're well or It was nice to hear from you. If the sender included a greeting in their email, respond to that. For example, if they opened their email with Hello! I hope you enjoyed your weekend, you may reply with Hi! I had a great weekend, and I hope you did, too.

3. Reply to each question or concern

Draft your email by separating all topics into each section. Create a new paragraph each time you answer a question or address a concern. This helps the reader skim and understand the email easily to gather the most important information.

4. Ask for confirmation of understanding

Include a statement that asks for confirmation of understanding after the body of the email. You may also consider including your availability to further discuss matters. Some examples of phrases you may include are:

5. Add a closing statement and your signature

Finish your email with a closing phrase, such as Have a great day or Looking forward to your response. Add a sign-off statement, such as Best or Sincerely, followed by a comma and your email signature. Some organisations may have requirements for what to include in your email signature, but it's important to include at least your first name and surname. You may also consider including your company name, job title and work phone number.

A few tips for responding to an email

Consider these tips as you reply to your professional emails:

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Professional email response template

Use this general template as a guide when you format your business emails:

Hello [recipient's name],

[Write a sentence to greet the recipient or respond to their greeting in the initial email.]

[Address the first topic or question.]

[Create another section to address the next topic or question. Repeat as many times as necessary.]

[Ask for confirmation of understanding.]

[Add a closing or farewell statement.]

Sincerely,

[Your name]
[Your job title]
[Your company name]

Examples of replying to an email professionally

Use these different examples of email replies as a reference when creating your own response:

Acknowledging a business email

Good business practice involves responding to emails within 24 hours. However, it may not always be possible to answer all questions or requests that quickly. Here's an example you may send to acknowledge receiving a request:

Hello Daniel,

I hope you're having an excellent day.

I wanted to confirm I received your request for an estimate for a new website. Please allow me until the end of this week to best research the project and prepare an accurate estimate for you.

Thank you for contacting me about your website and I'm looking forward to working on this project with you. Please let me know if you have any questions in the meantime.

Best,
June Ming
Project Manager
Excel Marketing Enterprises

Accepting an application

The hiring process requires maintaining consistent communication with applications. You may reply to or send original emails often. Here's an example of a response to accept a candidate's application:

Hi Mary,

Thank you for applying for the junior graphic designer position at Golden Marketing Agency.

After reviewing your resume and application, we believe you could be an excellent addition to our team. Do you have time this week to schedule a call to discuss this further?

We appreciate your initial interest in this position, and we hope you continue in the application process. Please reach out with any further questions you may have.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,
John Headhunter
Human Resources Manager
Hireground Marketing Agency

Declining an application

Similarly, handling the hiring process for an organisation may require you to send rejection emails. Draft a concise but polite email updating the candidate about their status. Here's an example of an email you may send rejecting a candidate's application:

Hello Mihael,

Thank you for applying for the financial advisor position at National Bank Company.

Unfortunately, we have decided to pursue other candidates at this time.

We sincerely appreciate your interest in our company, and we value the effort and time used for your application. We encourage you to watch for future career opportunities with our company.

We wish you the best of luck in your job search.

Best,
Diane Hunter
Human Resources Manager
Recursive Bank Company

Delegating tasks

Delegating tasks is important to ensure workplace efficiency. This may require you to accept or decline a responsibility depending on if your schedule allows for more tasks. Here's an example of how you may respond to an email about a task you don't have time to complete:

Hi Leonard,

I hope you enjoyed your weekend!

Thank you for contacting me about collaborating with you on the Central Coffee Roasters account. Unfortunately, I'm unable to take on any more projects at this time because of the demands of the Tasty Pet Foods account.

However, I believe Randall would be an excellent collaborator for this project. He was instrumental in the success of our Beautiful Teas account last year.

Would this work for you? Please let me know if I can help in any other way.

Best,
Samantha Lacrimosa
Account Manager
Visshuda Marketing

Sending an attachment

A customer or colleague may request you that share files with them via email. Consider saving this as a template to send easily and often. Here's an example of a response you may send when attaching a file:

Hello Lancelot,

Good morning! I hope you're having a good week so far.

As requested, I've attached a copy of your contract for you to review. Please let me know if you have any issues accessing the file.

Also, please let me know if you have any questions about your contract or account with us.

Best,
Michael McKenzie
Sales Manager
Sustainable Digital Advertising

Replying to a request for information

A customer or colleague may contact you with questions about a product or policy. Try to respond to these requests quickly and be sure to answer their questions clearly. Here's an example of how you may reply to an email about your company's product, service or policy:

Hi Lady May,

Thank you for contacting Dynasty Software Company. We appreciate your interest in our services.

Based on the information you provided, I believe our basic design program package would allow you to complete everything you need to. This package includes our signature photo editing, illustrating and document design programs.

We prefer to bill our services on an annual basis, and this can also save you 15% on your package. However, you do have the option to pay quarterly or monthly.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions. If you would like to set up a demonstration of how to use our programs, I would be happy to coordinate this for you. I'd also be happy to help you begin a free trial of our software.

Thank you again for your interest in our services, and I look forward to your response!

Best,
Leonard DeCaprio
Sales Representative
Lucrative Software Company

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How does then an email message flow from Sending to Delivery?

For most users, how an email message flows from the sender to a recipient’s inbox is something that happens behind the scenes. When an individual or an organization sends an email, the message travels from its point of origination, such as an email client where it was composed, across the Internet to its destination. Along the way, it passes through multiple servers that help ensure it arrives at the right place. That email message flow uses a systematic process based on a number of long-established technical standards.

It’s these standards that allow us to send email messages to virtually anyone. When someone sends an email message, it flows through a series of steps to reach its destination.

How do email clients download a message?

Web-based email services like Gmail or Hotmail/Outlook.com use their own internal protocols to manage email. But when recipients use a stand-alone email client on a phone or desktop computer, that software uses standard protocols to download messages from mail servers.

When the recipient uses POP, the server delivers all new emails to them and only keeps copies of them if an option in the email client is checked, if applicable. If the server doesn’t have copies of the emails and the recipient suffers a hardware loss or failure, those messages are gone forever, unless the senders have copies of them.

When the recipient uses IMAP, the server syncs the contents of the mailbox, including its Sent Items and other folders, to each device that connects with it. The messages remain on the server, and when the status of one changes (for example, it’s read or deleted), that change propagates across all devices when they connect again.

The ability to retain and sync messages on multiple devices is why most email services today use IMAP instead of POP.

The ‘Feed does not’, exists – The 5 most common RSS feed problems and how to fix them

RSS feeds are coded in XML (eXtended Markup Language) – a language somewhat related to its more popular sibling HTML with the exception that XML lacks styling data. The purpose of XML is to describe the content of the source data.

To that end, an RSS feed contains only two elements, which are the header (feed title, description and link where applicable) and the content (the entries in the feed). That’s all. Straightforward and relatively easy to learn by people with limited coding experience.

And yet, RSS feeds are just as prone to errors as every other piece of coding. Partially, this is due to the several iterations RSS has gone through, which leave users wondering about specifications. An issue further exasperated by the lack of a central entity that standardizes these specs.

RSS feed errors

As flexible as XML appears to be, users should make a note that to function properly an RSS feed ought to comply with established standards. A task not quite as simple, because there have been different iterations of RSS and feed readers can still trip over different elements. It’s best you run your RSS feed through a validator service to confirm you’re compliant and everything is in order. If you’re the author of your own RSS feed, then this is a mandatory step you can’t skip. One of the best tools for the job – and completely free of charge – is the W3C.org RSS feed validator.

As long as you’re RSS-compliant, you can add just about anything to your feed (should you is a separate discussion, which we’ll get to in a bit) in terms of media to make your RSS feed dynamic. The only exception to this general rule is that a program / script cannot be added to feed, because RSS doesn’t support such a functionality for security reasons.

RSS Feed Timeout errors

Timeout errors happen when an RSS feed reader is trying to crawl a site’s RSS feed, but can’t get access due to the server being too slow in reacting to a data request. In order for RSS to work as it should, the feed ought to be accessible to a reader or other aggregation services at all times.

There is a good reason to reach out to your hosting provider and discuss this issue. However, this error can be the result of the RSS feed itself – a large RSS feed is difficult to crawl and that’s why it’s important to keep an eye out for its size.

The XML file should be light

The XML file should be light. Reasons for this – aggregators are going to be downloading a feed multiple times, and users generally subscribe to RSS feeds for the newest posts. Therefore, feed files should be as trimmed as possible from any extra fat with 512 KB being the accepted limit or else your feed is not going to be downloaded or not going to be updated more frequently simply, because it’s going to be a chore.

To completely avoid this type of error, it’s best to restrict your RSS feed to the newest posts and ditch historical feeds and keep only what’s essential. No extraneous information, no unnecessary images. This approach will save you headaches later on.

WordPress RSS feed errors

WordPress, for its liberal attitude towards RSS and the bounty of plugins, often falls prey to the odd RSS feed error. Using a WordPress site will have taught you to expect that your RSS feed just stops working. These errors tend to appear less frequently, when you’re using a pre-made template and an auto-generated RSS feed without any additional tinkering.

The more you customize whether that’s through adding plugins or adding lines of code to your template, the higher the risk for your feed to crash. Small mistakes lead to bigger problems – that is just the way it is with WordPress. A couple of good practices to keep in mind before we get into the nitty gritty:

Now, when we talk about RSS feed errors in WordPress, what we mean is…

Formatting errors

Poor formatting brings down even the best of developers every once in a while and it’s a challenge to figure out what needs to be done. It can result from a thing as simple as a blank space after the closing PHP tag in a plugin or in your theme’s functions.php file.

Any recent changes to a theme or a child theme’s functions.php file can trigger such errors and the necessary course of action is to manually go through each line of the code. The first place to start is the closing PHP tag found at the end of the file. As it’s not required it’s best to delete it, because line breaks and extra space after the tag can mess up your RSS feed.

Maybe that’s not the reason. Maybe it’s caused by a runaway RSS feed plugin. The strategy here would be to disable every RSS plugin and re-check for the error. If it’s gone, that’s confirmation a plugin is the cause and from here on, it’s a matter of enabling plugin after plugin until you locate the problematic plugin. Research for alternatives to this plugin or send out a message to its support team for assistance.

Podcast RSS feed errors

Perhaps more important than even being a good host, a podcast creator should care for their RSS feed – it has to be working! Podcasts are consumed via third-party services. Not many people head to a podcast’s site and load a show episode on their laptops. What most of us do is subscribe either on iTunes or Spotify, or download applications such as Stitcher and Castbox.

A non-functioning RSS feed renders your podcast invisible to your current subscriber or potential subscribers interested in your topic. The first thing you should do is validate your RSS feed, so you can rest easy – and it’s a good practice to check in on your feed every once in a while. This applies doubly for any changes to your website’s look.

In your life as a professional podcaster, you’ll encounter two categories of feed errors:

Validation errors

The most common validation errors for podcasts are timeouts and size limitations. Timeout errors result from a slow downloading speed, when a podcatcher like Spotify or other podcast directories try to download the feed, and more often than not have to do with the web server failing at its job. Does your website use ASP or PHP to generate the feed? These are more often than not the usual culprits responsible for the error. WordPress users can work around this error with Static Feed – a plugin designed to deliver static versions of your feeds, thus remove loading your feed entirely!

Size limitations kick in around the time your RSS feed reaches 512K. It will take some time until that happens and by then both applications and websites will have trouble digesting the feeds. This is the reason why FeedBurner outright rejects feeds that clock above 512K in size. If not outright rejection, your podcast will suffer from infrequent updates on podcast directories. Fixing this one is easy – a well, accepted size for an RSS feed would be up to 50 posts per feed. However, the cap should be lowered down in those instances you include a lot of episode show notes that can further increase the feed’s size. Twenty is a good number in such cases.

A readily available tool at your disposal is Cast Feed Validator, which performs quick diagnostics and return specific errors when there are any.

A special note for iTunes, which is a different beast onto itself. If you’re on a server that doesn’t comply with HTTP/1.1 to the letter, you’re bound to receive the bad http result code: 500 / 403. It can be tricky to fix as it can be as simple as the caching WordPress plugin not working as it should or as complicated as mod_security not supporting all HTTP/1.1 methods. You may need to contact your web hosting provider to figure this one out.

Accessibility errors

Another set of errors – far more finicky to sort out – have to do with accessibility. Accessibility errors come up, when something is going wrong to the extent you can’t access the feed at all. The most common symptom is getting the classic 404 error. As we’ve established, no RSS feed equals to no podcast at all, because podcasts are exclusively consumed via RSS delivery to podcast catchers.

So, where’s the problem? You could have several things causing accessibility errors. First on the list is permalinks. It happens that permalinks break occasionally. Nobody’s fault really, so be sure to resent your permalink just in case. In WordPress, you can easily do this by saving the permalink in its corresponding setting again. Another quick solution would be to look at your URL. Go once more to check for spelling errors and also double check whether you’re using or not using “www.” as your domain.

If it’s neither of the above, then you’ll need to spend some time testing for conflicts. Conflicts are caused when your RSS feed just doesn’t get along with plugins or themes – this applies more for WordPress sites than anything else. One way would be to disable all plugins and inspect how the feed reacts when reactivating each plugin one by one. Another strategy would be to experiment with a new theme. We advocate for easier solutions, so WordPress users – maybe install PowerPress to manage conflicts and protect the default podcast-only feed.

What is RSS and how to use it in WordPress?

RSS has been part of the Internet landscape since the very beginning of the World Wide Web. It hit its heyday in the early 00s, but as a robust technology, RSS has persevered and brought forth the birth of social media, live stock exchange rates and subscriptions to podcasts and channels on video sharing platforms like YouTube. RSS stands for ‘Rich Site Summary’ or also ‘Really Simple Syndication’ and manages how users access and consume content.

Feed readers are third-party applications, which exist either as a browser-based service or a mobile application for a number of devices. Users can browse through the latest content of as many sites as they want in one location and as such, drastically reduce the manual work of visiting each site individually.

RSS doesn’t require any payment, though certain features on feed readers are paid. WordPress has good support for RSS. Every WordPress site comes with its own RSS feed, which users can easily find. Site owners don’t have to do anything unless they want to add more to their RSS feeds.

All you need to know about RSS feeds

RSS feeds are very much alive and widely used even today. You see this in how Google displays information for specific searches – weather updates, currency conversion rates and most relevant for 2020, the US election updates and COVID-19 statistics globally and locally.

Google does this on the basis that RSS feeds syndicates content from one source and distributes it to another. Usually, this process occurs within an RSS feed reader, but Google and other sites are able to integrate information through RSS freely.

RSS feeds are coded in XML and are found within a site’s code. These XML files are crawled and read by RSS feed readers, which add any new publication to its feed. The principles behind RSS feeds are used in social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Follow or subscribe to a page and you receive new posts on your feed. The key difference is that RSS prioritizes a chronological order of posts.

WordPress creates default RSS feeds for your website, which are simple, rudimentary and get the job done. If you’re not particular about how your RSS feed looks or lumping all your content into one feed, then leave your site as it is. But should you want more… WordPress cooperates in bringing your vision to life.

How you can use RSS in WordPress

With a little bit of creativity, RSS can perform multiple tasks outside its main function – enable Internet users to view content from numerous websites exported to an RSS reader. WordPress has still excellent support for RSS, even though we’re a decade removed from its zenith. Site owners are granted the ability to:

Automating Your RSS

Interested in automating your RSS, for example, remotely managed, using a central or de-centralised authority over control with inter-connected business approach, or even an AI? We can help. Book a session via https://bookings.thelematics.co to find out more, or book an initial, RSS and automation consultation via the WHOOPS.ONLINE' SEO Automation Plan (basic) - about running your site on auto-pilot.

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