Business emails differ from all other forms of written business correspondence. We all tend to use much less formal language in emails, and emails are instant. Gone are the days of drafting a letter, proofreading it, and then having it typed.
We can now fire off important business correspondence with ease. The spontaneous, instant nature of emails, though, can be a minefield. It’s easy to make mistakes, and it’s easy to send emails that we live to regret. So, don’t send out another email without thinking it through first. Read these ten tips on writing better business emails before you press send.
1. Think About the Purpose of the Email
Before you compose a business email, think about what you want that email to achieve. If you are emailing a prospective customer, for example, don’t forget that the email is a sales document. It’s another opportunity to convince the person to buy. Emails may seem like a throwaway form of communication, but they can be as important as any other type of document.
2. Use the Subject Line Wisely
The subject line of an email is like the headline of a newspaper article. It should tell the reader what the email is about, and it should encourage them to read the contents. Avoid using vague subject lines, such as “Re our meeting.” If you have something important to say, include it or hint at it in the subject line.
3. Keep Emails Short and to the Point
Emails are for short, concise messages. If you want to send a lengthy document, it would be better sent as an attachment. People get a lot of emails at work, so they tend to skim-read them and then move onto the next one. If your emails are too long-winded, the recipient may miss the important points.
4. Keep Business Emails Professional
The language used in emails can be less formal than it would be in a letter. Even so, emails are still business correspondence, so keep the language professional. Avoid using slang words and be careful about using inappropriate humor. Remember that business emails are often copied to other people.
5. Get the Important Points Across in the First Paragraph
Forget the long preambles and get to the point straight away. If you have lots of points to cover, bullet point them first. Then, you can cover the details of each point further down the page or in an attachment. Many people won’t even skim-read the rest of an email if the first paragraph contains nothing of importance.
6. Make Sure That You Get People’s Names Right
Always double-check the spelling of people’s names. And, don’t shorten people’s names unless the person has done that themselves. Calling Robert Bob is presumptuous. Misspelling someone’s name looks careless and unprofessional.
7. Don’t Use all Uppercase or Lowercase
Emails may be informal, but you should still follow the usual writing conventions. If you write an email all in lowercase, it will look lazy. If you use uppercase, it will look like you are shouting. Avoid using SMS shorthand in business emails as well. Not everyone knows what JK means.
8. Only Use Email When it is Appropriate
Before you send an email, ask yourself if an email is an appropriate medium for the message that you want to convey. If you are trying to build a relationship with someone, a telephone call might be more effective. An email can also be too distant and impersonal for some types of messages. If you are firing an employee, for example, that ought to be dealt with in a face to face meeting.
9. Never Send a Business Email in Anger
Never fire off an email when you are angry. Give yourself time to calm down and think things through. The potential ramifications of an angry business email are major. A business email sent in anger could lose you a major customer or cost you your job.
10. Always Proofread Business Emails
Always proofread your business emails before you send them. Check spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Be brutal with your editing as well. Make your emails concise, punchy, and persuasive. People will judge you and your brand based on the content and style of your emails. So, remember that you are conveying more than a simple message in your business emails.
It is no exaggeration to say that emails have revolutionized the way that we do business. We can now send everything from contracts to meeting appointments via email. The problem is that many people don’t put enough thought into their emails. But emails can have the same impact as any other type of written communication. So, if you want to get ahead in business, think about your emails before you send them. They are more important than you think.
If you have any questions, our team would be more than happy to help. Call us today at (215)-393-9787.