Writing emails is essential in running or managing a business. Unfortunately, many of these are difficult to process or read, making the reader unable to act or reply to these. You wouldn’t want this to happen to your emails. If you want to know the proper style, etiquette, and format in writing effective business emails, then this article is for you.
Read on to get three simple tips for writing effective business emails, which you can use to improve your communication with clients and business partners:
- First things first: understand what you want to improve
Everyone has a different style and level of experience when it comes to business writing. So if you want to improve on that, first you need to know where you are.
For example, have you ever taken a course on business writing, in school or as a professional? There are many online short courses that can give you an introduction to this field, like this business writing course from Daniel Pink I recently took.
If you’re a more advanced writer already, maybe you just need to consider the person you are sending the email to: if the recipient is your supervisor, client, employee, or your potential customer. Before writing, ask yourself the following questions.
- Do I have a prior working relationship with the recipient?
- What is my purpose in writing the email?
- What’s the context from my receiver’s viewpoint?
- Craft an appropriate subject line.
If you want to establish a professional relationship or reach out to your clients or subscribers for your email marketing, you’d want to spend more time creating the correct subject line than writing the body because if your recipient doesn’t open the email, it doesn’t matter.
Avoid generic subject lines or those with spelling errors, which can deter the reader or have your email land in the spam folder. Consider when to use capital letters as they might evoke a different feeling besides urgency when used carelessly. If the purpose of your message necessitates an action, you might want to include that in the subject line as well.
- Start with a greeting.
In your email, you’ll want to first acknowledge the reader before getting into the main message, unless you’re already on an email chain with colleagues or close contacts.
For business emails, consider using the following greetings:
- Hi [Name],
- Hello [Name],
- Hi everyone,
Avoid greetings such as:
- To Whom It May Concern,
- Dear Sir or Madam,
- Create a clear and concise email body.
The email body should contain a specific and clear purpose such as scheduling a meeting with a client or request updates on a document.
Here are some tips to let you compose actionable and appropriate email content:
- Check your style. Business emails follow a specific style, which is professional and brief. Write information that can easily be skimmed and present enough information that will enable a complete response.
- Consider your tone. Determining the perfect tone can be a challenge as it changes according to your audience. The tone can vary from formal to friendly, but it should always be professional and matched to your audience.
- Be polite but brief. You should include ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ in your content only whenever appropriate.
- Headings are essential to the reader. If possible, keep the email short with up to five lines of text. But if this can’t be avoided, use headings to make readers skim and read information easily. It should be your best trick to avoid information overload.
- Don’t write in all capital letters. This is because it sounds like you’re shouting. For emphasis of important points, use underline, bold, or italics. However, you can use all capital letters in email headings if you’re writing to organizations that eliminate html formatting in emails such as financial institutions, military academies or the military.
- Avoid excessive punctuation and emoji usage. Exclamation points should be used only when necessary. While emojis have a role digital communication, they should be avoided in formal business emails.
- Don’t use a robotic language. Use natural language like you would in a conversation and avoid using archaic language. You can do this by pretending you’re having a conversation with your recipient.
- Remove clichés. While clichés are not serious mistakes, you’d want to avoid using these as they can make the recipient tune out. Read your draft for clichés and edit them out if possible. Some of the phrases you’d want to avoid are:
- I look forward to hearing from you
- Sorry for the late reply
- Thanks in advance
- End with a friendly closing.
Just as you want to start well with greeting your recipient, you’d also want to end the email with a friendly closing. Select a signoff that is appropriate to your personality as well as customize it to your relationship with the recipient to maintain a level of professionalism.
Some closings you can use to end your email include the following:
- Best regards,
- All the best,
Avoid the following closings in a professional email:
- Sent from my [Phone name]
Although email communication has been around for a while now, not everyone has mastered the art of writing effective business emails. It’s too easy to get confused with all the information you’d like to tell your recipient. However, putting your audience first is key to creating an effective business email.