Emailing is a fact of life for anyone working in a business environment. It is the most common form of business communication because it’s professional, quick, easy and it’s simple to track your conversations and stay up to date. However, Email writing is definitely a skill, with a set of unwritten rules of how to communicate and what to do.
As providers of business email services, we wanted to demystify this important topic. So, in this post we want to offer our advice on how to write business emails that will get results. We’ll also be sharing tips on email etiquette so you don’t commit an accidental email faux pas.
Let’s start with the basics of email writing so you can double check that you’re doing it right.
An email is quick to send and is often sent from your phone or tablet on the go, or in the middle of a busy day. In our rush to be efficient and manage our inbox we often send quickly without checking and this opens up the possibility for mistakes. The golden rule is check before you send!
It can also seem a more informal medium, therefore it can be tempting to use abbreviations or overly casual language which you wouldn’t use at a meeting with your boss or client. However, remember that this is business email and therefore we need to stay professional at all times. You should adjust your tone and language to who you’re writing to, just as you would in a conversation. We’d recommend you err on the side of caution when it comes to formality, as these messages can be kept and referred back to.
Here are our email writing do’s and don’ts
- Be clear, succinct and to the point
- Use a professional tone, even with people you know
- Check your spelling and grammar
- Tag people using the @ symbol if you want them to do something specific, especially in a long email to multiple people
- Beware of email chains and the contents of the email before you forward
- Use unnecessary jargon or anacronyms which others may not understand
- Add unrelated things into the message or waffle
- Confuse being to the point with being rude and end up offending
- Forget to read through and check everything is clear and correct
- Forget to attach the attachment
As well as how you write your emails, there is quite a bit of etiquette involved in writing, responding and managing emails effectively. Failing to comply with these unwritten rules can annoy and also look unprofessional. Read on for our 10 email etiquette tips to ensure you don’t fall foul of these email no-nos.
- Choose a clear subject line
This should clearly show what the email is about so that the recipients know what to expect, open it and can also search if they need to locate it later.
- Manage recipients carefully
Don’t copy unnecessary people into an email conversation, unless they have asked you to. It’s better to have the conversation one-on-one and then inform the manager when a decision has been made or when you need their input. It is easy to just hit reply all, if you do, make sure what you write is suitable for all parties receiving the email. If not, just reply to one person.
- Use the BCC
If you are sending an email to multiple people within a company or on a mailing list you should hide their email addresses from each other by putting them into the BCC field. Failure to do this may get you into hot water with data protection and is not respecting the privacy of their data.
- Avoid the spam filters
More and more emails get marked as spam and this can cause communication issues. To avoid this we recommend making your message layout as simple as possible and don’t use links that contain IP addresses or are shortened. Watch your word choice and spam trigger words like “urgent”, “free” and “guaranteed”. Spam filters can also be triggered by excessive or unusual punctuation and generic greetings, as well as referring to topics such as brands, medications, drugs and financial schemes. You can test your email at mail-tester.com to see if it’s spammy if you’re not sure.
- Watch your attachments
There are a few different reasons to be wary of attachments. One is sending big files that clog up people’s inbox, or cause a bounce back because of file size limits. You can use shareable links instead which allows you to share big files easily. Attachments can also trigger spam filters as they are a common way of distributing viruses, so these shareable links can be a good idea, even with small files. If you do want to add attachments, label them correctly and don’t attach too many.
- Be efficient
Try to respond promptly and action any requests which are sent through to you by email quickly. If you will be delayed responding due to being too busy, or out of the office, a quick email to let people know when you can get back to them is a good idea. Marking an email unread, or flagging it if you still need to take action is a good way to keep on top of emails and make sure things don’t get lost.
- Be organised with your emails
Don’t be tempted to deal with multiple topics in the same email thread. It’s very difficult to find the information again without a suitable subject title. Use folders to file emails and set reminders in your calendar to make sure you keep track of actions which have been mentioned in emails and are pending.
- Think about whether email is the best medium
It can be easy to have misunderstandings in email, as they are read quickly and how they are interpreted depends on how the recipient is reading it and even what mood they’re in. If it is a sensitive subject, or something complicated it can be best to call or have a face-to-face meeting. Then follow up with notes via email to confirm the discussion.
- Avoid emotional or spur of the moment responses in emails
If you read something on an email that you don’t like it can make you angry and it’s easy to be a keyboard warrior. However, if you’re seething it’s better not to reply. Take some time until you’ve calmed down, re-read the email to check you’ve interpreted it correctly and then write a measured response. If you find yourself getting heated again during writing, save the email as draft and read it again in the morning to ensure it’s a suitable response.
- Always include a signature
Business emails should have a signature with your full name, job title and contact details. It looks more professional, introduces you to anyone who may not know you and allows them to get in touch. If you include your social media links in the signature it can even get you more followers too!
We know that email is essential for your business!
JUCRA’s business email service can help you to manage your company’s mailboxes and ensure your email is running 100% of the time. It includes mobile device connectivity, secure IMAP and POP connections, 25GB of storage, premium anti-spam and anti-virus and a secure Webmail environment. We also offer tutorials to help you configure your devices and understand why something isn’t working how it should and we’re here to help if you’re having any problems. Find out more about our business email service on our website or contact us for a free consultation to find out how it could work for you.