Depending on your job title, you might spend a sizable portion of your day reading and answering emails. Email has stuck around through many evolving technologies, and it is not likely to go anywhere for a long time. That’s why you should be writing emails that not only communicate effectively but that also stand out in busy inboxes. If you feel like your emails are not getting read, or you simply want to brush up on your email etiquette, it’s worth the time to be more thoughtful in writing your emails with the following tips:
1. Know Who You’re Writing to
There are some universal truths when it comes to sending emails. For example, you should always have a clear message in your subject line that lets the reader know what to expect when they open the email. You can usually employ a casual tone in your writing, but don’t stray too far from formal with slang, emojis, or abbreviations. It’s also wise to use exclamation points sparingly, since too many can seem insincere or unprofessional. Below, you’ll find some more specific guidance based on your audience, since a paramount rule of good writing—in emails and other mediums—is to know your audience.
- Customers – As a rule, you should avoid unsolicited emails to customers. You might use email marketing to reach those who have subscribed, or you may respond to customer inquiries via email. If you are answering customer emails, be sure to personalize each reply to ensure that you address each concern rather than resorting to generic responses. With a higher volume of customer emails or marketing emails, it may be best to outsource so that every customer receives a timely response.
- Other Businesses – When you’re dealing with other businesses or industry organizations, it’s always essential to introduce yourself in your initial emails, even if you use a descriptive email signature. You should not assume that professional peers will recognize you by name after meeting in person.
- Intraoffice Communications – With intraoffice emails, you can typically be the most relaxed about grammar rules. Short, quick answers are anticipated and even welcomed when you are emailing people you see and talk to throughout the day. Emailing management or departments you don’t interact with often should still have more formalities, however.
2. Organize Your Thoughts
Any email should be short and to the point, but what do you do when you have multiple points to get across in one message? Organize your thoughts first, and be sure to lead with the most important. You might also break up emails with bullet points, attachments, or lists so that your readers don’t become overwhelmed.
3. Always Self-Edit
Regardless of who will be seeing your email, you should read it first yourself. Self-editing can save you from making embarrassing or even costly mistakes, so be sure to read each email at least two times before sending. This should be easy for most emails, because you’ll want to avoid being wordy. You should also double check the address or addresses you enter, since your email provider may auto-complete email addresses as you type them in, and it’s easy to get common names confused. Sending an email to the wrong person is an error that could range from frustrating to catastrophic.
4. Utilize Canned Responses
There are some emails you may need to send over and over again. In these cases, it’s acceptable to use canned responses that can serve as a template for your answers. Canned responses can save time and reduce the potential for errors in the emails you must write on a regular basis. As you draft and edit canned responses, be sure to maintain the same personality and professionalism that you would in any other email.
5. Create an Email Signature
An automated email signature can be an effective tool, because it will ensure that you’ve signed each of your emails and provided essential contact information. You can also use your email signature to link to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts for yourself or your business, and you can cap the signature with your logo for more instant brand recognition. Be sure to test out your signature before putting it into action to make sure that the images and links all work.
6. Reply to Emails Quickly
One of the reasons email is so successful as a form of business communication is that it can yield more immediate responses. You do not necessarily have to wait for business hours to send or open emails. In fact, you should reply to emails as soon as you’re able, since some deals may fall through the cracks if you do not reply right away.
If you’re looking for help with your email marketing, Pennington Creative can work with you to create emails that are on-brand for your message and on-target for your audience. Check out some of the content services we provide to small and medium-sized businesses, or set up a discovery call with our team today. Be sure to also sign up for our email newsletter to get some inbox inspiration twice every month!