Most of the emails that people get in their inboxes are just ads, spam and terse notifications. Whether you're writing to a lead or a client, make sure you polish your emails to the max - a well-written email will make an impression and stick in the mind amidst the clutter. Here's how to do it.
Before you start writing
Before you click the "New Message" button in your inbox, ask yourself these 4 questions:
1. Who am I sending the email to?
Who you write an email to will affect how you write it. With some clients you have closer, friendlier relationships, with others you communicate more formally. Don't send template emails to clients - they'll recognize it and feel like they're just one of many for you. Write your emails in such a way that they can tell you wouldn't send the same email to anyone else.
2. What is the purpose of this email?
Each email must have a target and it must be only one target. A common mistake senders make is to ask the recipient to do several things at once. For example, to view an attachment or fill out a form. In this case, it is better to send two separate emails. A message with one objective is easier for the recipient to understand and handle.
3. Is this email necessary?
Think about what would have happened if you hadn't sent the email. If you find that nothing or that it is better to deal with the matter over the phone or in person, do not send the email. With each unnecessary email, you lose the recipient's trust and make it less likely that they will take your messages seriously.
4. Is this email suitable?
Email is not an appropriate form of communication for every situation. For example, if you are communicating bad news, an apology or sensitive information, you may prefer to use a face-to-face meeting. This is because you can engage in non-verbal communication and the content is not easily forwarded to other people.
Article tip: Emailing a business proposal? Learn how to tune it to perfection.
The formal side of email
Business emails have their own formal specifics. They must be professional, concise and understandable. So fine-tune their tone and structure.
The tone of communication
The tone of the email changes depending on your relationship with the recipient. But there are a few common mistakes to avoid in business emails:
- Writing long polite phrases (instead of "I would like to ask you to...", just "please..."),
- using caps lock - rather bold or underline important information,
- use exclamation marks and emoji.
Business emails should be structured in such a way that the recipient quickly scans them with their eyes and immediately knows what you want them to do. Therefore, use shorter paragraphs than you are used to in regular text and separate information with spaces. Never send one long paragraph of text - it costs too much effort to read such an email.
Article tip: Read about the key skills that make good marketers.
What makes a good business email
Now we'll look at the different parts of the email and give you tips on how to tweak them.
For business emails, the subject line serves as a brief summary. This means that right after reading it, the recipient should know what you want them to do. The ideal length is 3 to 8 words and all words must be relevant. Subject lines that are too vague or too long cause confusion in the recipient's inbox.
Instead of "Order", please write "Your order from May 2 has been shipped".
Always address the recipient as you would in person. If you have a less formal relationship, feel free to use "Hello, Mark". For a more formal address, use "Hello, Mr. Smith".
With few exceptions, we recommend addressing "Hello, XY", not "Dear Sir, XY". The latter is too formal and is used more in official or academic communication.
3. Courtesy phrases
Keep courtesy phrases in business emails to a minimum. Don't ask clients how they are doing, but only start by thanking them if the email was preceded by a face-to-face meeting or if the client sent you an attachment, for example.
If you hear from a client after a long time, for example, include in the email "I hope you're doing well." If you communicate with a client regularly, feel free to leave out the pleasantries altogether.
4. The core of the email
As we have already mentioned, each email should have only one goal, for example in the form of a request, a task or the transmission of information. This part forms the core of the email and follows right after any courtesies. Always describe the core of the email concisely and clearly.
For example, "The budget proposal for the new website is attached."
5. Additional information
Sometimes it is necessary to add a few extraneous pieces of information to the report. For example, a link to a document, examples or instructions. Again, the rule of brevity and clarity applies here, and for each piece of information, think about whether it is really necessary for the recipient.
6. Call to action
In marketing, this is called a CTA (call to action). It is a phrase or sentence in the second person that tells the recipient clearly what to do. Without a clear CTA, the recipient may not understand that you want them to do something, and after reading the email, they will close it and let it sink in.
The CTA in a business email should include:
- specific action (Send me feedback...)
- and the time (...by June 20.)
7. End of email
The purpose of the subject line is to let the recipient know that your message is finished. For example, it's a thank you, a short note to say you look forward to a reply, or a wish for a nice day.
Don't write your signature in the business email by hand every time. Set up an automatic signature in your email client and include your company logo and contact information. An automatic signature now defacto separates business and personal contacts in email communications. If a person sends you a business email without an automatic signature, it comes across as unprofessional.
Final tip: It's easier to keep track of your clients if you keep track of all your email communications in your CRM, so you can quickly see what you've dealt with in the past and what you need to do to move the business case forward.