How to Craft An Effective E-mail? Best Practices of Email Writing

This article will highlight the best practices of email writing and initiate a walk through an effective business email in a step-by-step manner. By implementing these methods into your email writing, you will write better emails and improve overall communication amongst customers.

The image describes the best practices of email writing

 

Emails are the modern-day equivalent of letter writing. It’s a natural 1-to-1 communication: me to you, which makes email a fantastic method of creating an intimate feeling and personal relationship. Has all elements of increasing your conversions.

Laura Lopuch, Email Conversion Engineer, and a Copywriter.

 

Communication via Email – One of the most widely used and most reliable forms of communication both personally and officially.

 

Speed and efficiency, the two deciding elements that enable you to make use of it, as many times as you need, irrespective of your role or industry.

 

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Advantages of Writing Email for Business

No matter what business you’re in, using email for communication fetches a lot of advantages. This amazing tech, introduced decades ago, lets you send messages around the world in seconds, almost for free.

 

From a laptop or smartphone, you can use email to do business from any place. Few uses of business emails are ordering, billing, contracts, announcements, and many more.

 

An email is a fast replacement for the telephone as the primary means of communication in most businesses. Email communication happens in two main ways: between people within the same office or business community and between your business and its outside stakeholders.

 

Hence provides an effective way to keep a clean track of the conversations you have with your employees and customers, as email creates an instant and easily accessible record.

 

In the contemporary business world, having quick email access is mandatory as it is a time-saving one which in turn allows you to focus on meeting customers’ demands, setting out your marketing strategy, or increasing your profit margins.

 

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Let’s take a look at the,

Benefits of Using E-mail for Business

  • Lightning-Fast Mode of Communication

Email is instantaneous – A quick enhancement in communication thereby disseminating information and providing fast response to customer inquiries. Small business owners can accomplish more in less time as email allows for quicker problem-solving and more streamlined business orientation. Email definitely shrinks your world.

  • Reduces geographic and time zone barriers

Email plays a major role in reducing the geographic and time zone barriers for businesses. Regardless of the location, business people or entrepreneurs can communicate around the world. Moreover, effective customer support can be rendered by the respective business firms like sending sales questions and support requests via emails based on their own time zone schedules.

  • Reaching Targeted Audience

Email intensifies your business’s reach towards the targeted audiences. Customers can be updated about products they own, sales, or new arrivals through email communications.

It is well known that customers are more receptive when they receive targeted emails based on their preferences. Email marketing and email campaigns have proved to be a massive method to reach target customers based on their status with a business. A well-crafted business email can fetch a new customer, retain existing customers, and even make a customer purchase again and again.

  • Boost up Efficiency and Productivity

Email can help in boosting up productivity in your business. Business owners know a day’s use atomized emails that can communicate with established distribution lists, automatically forward information based on a topic, or even send information regarding their product to specific individuals as per the requirement. The highlights of email software include customization features using which you can tailor to the type of work performed, the volume of daily email messages and the needs of the worker. An effective email can thereby reduce dependency on face-to-face consultations and meetings.

  • Suitable for the Penny-Pinching Economy

Email is a perfect alternative for business communications; it can result in significant savings in postage costs, shipping supplies, and employee resources.

Email for business decreases the customer service support costs by focusing more on email customer support options than phone-based services.

  • Available for Almost Everyone

When e-mail was introduced, businesses caught on quickly to their utility, speed, low cost, and support options. Today, email is almost a ubiquitous service; everyone has at least one email account, making it mandatory for modern business communications.

  • Best options – Bells, Whistles, and Add-ons

Modern email doesn’t stop just with simple text messages. Myriads of options are available like creating colorful, appealing flyers using the same Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) used to build websites. Email attachments provide a quick, convenient way to share Adobe Portable Document Format (.PDF) files, spreadsheets (.Xls), and any type of computer file that is of 25MB or less.

Those days of scrambling the fax machine to get a signed contract are merely gone; electronic technology now lets you and your business partners sign digital contracts conveniently through email.

  • Automated Message Handling

Emails are now day’s automated for the user’s convenience. By automation process, incoming and outgoing messages are processed. The software can automatically segregate and file incoming emails by sender, content, or subject. An automatic response to inquiries by sending confirmation notices and responses to messages can be well accomplished. The software can routinely send messages like reminders, newsletters, and even statements without human intervention.

Let us now slide over the effective steps for writing business emails,

Effective Steps for Writing Business Emails

Remember to question yourself while beginning to draft a business email:

  1. To Whom Should I Address – Who is My Audience?

Your audience will determine the tone of writing, formal way of presentation, and content of the communication. Your top priority in business writing will be your audience. How you write your email is determined by whom you are writing for. “Who” refers to your email readers.

 

Your email’s reader may be probably your colleague, client, or supervisor. Your reader may have a different background, project knowledge, priorities, and more experience in your field. When you have identified your audience at the forefront, you will always write a more productive and effective email.

 

For instance, you can use some of your project-oriented acronyms with a colleague who has the same project knowledge as you do, which would prove to be more productive. Those same acronyms will be confusing to an executive who needs an update for an unrelated task mentioned previously.

 

Writing for the audience meant to be using SENDER fields correctly. This includes the To, Cc, and Bcc fields but the main field is the To field.

 

The To field is for the direct audience from whom you need a reply or fall into action based on the email content. The Cc field is for readers who need to receive the email conversation for reference or a record but don’t need to take action or reply. The BCC field is for the audience who only needs to see the initial email and for those who don’t need them later thread of emails.

 

Incorrect usage of the sender fields is a common email mistake (tends to happen). When such a mistake is encountered it reflects as if the audience and their roles are not thoughtfully considered. The Bcc field is to be used very judiciously.

 

  1. What for the email is sent (purpose)?

An email must have a purpose. And, it must have only one vital purpose.

Such email practice is – one thing rule.

Each email should cover an aim at one specific task, or request.

A mail covering multiple tasks in one email can confuse and will lead to inefficiency. A single email should not include both client report notes and a scheduling question for the quarterly meeting. This would need two separate emails for better clarity.

By limiting emails to one thing, the email recipient will understand, process, and act upon easily. Hence such clarity would increase understanding and productivity.

Use a numbered list to clarify for your reader that the request has many components. This will help your reader to respond easily and ensure you receive all the specifications you need.

 

  1. Is This Email Required?

An email provides an electronic paper trail, not all communication should occur over email.

Writing on too many tasks creates a tendency to over-communicate by email.

Perhaps a quick phone call or a ping on the company messenger can be the best alternative if you think you don’t want to email in a particular circumstance. If you’re expecting a lot of back-and-forth on a task, a short conversation can eliminate a lengthy email chain.

Choose the right channel to send information. Remember email, but it’s one channel.

 

  1. Is the Email written is Appropriate?

Email can be used in many situations and scenarios but is not always appropriate.

 

If you are conveying bad news, can be informed personally or buffer the email thoughtfully. An email is impersonal and hence it is difficult to convey empathy or compassion.

 

Sensitive information when sent by email runs the risk of being accidentally shared among people. Many cases of email mishaps have happened. Whether the information is for personal contact or of personal opinion, consider whether it’s appropriate to convey by email.

 

  1. Email Style

Business emails have to follow a very specific style. They are with professional specifications but need to be brief. They should be written with enough information that allows a complete response from the reader.

 

     6. Email Tone

Choosing the correct tone can be a simple challenge in drafting an email. You need to choose your tone according to your audience, ranging from formal to friendly but is always professional and should always be matched to your audience.

  • Wordy politeness – “please” and “thank you” should be included anytime if it is appropriate.
  • Avoid ALL CAPS as it sounds like you are yelling.
  • Moreover, writing in all caps could route your email to the spam folder.
  • Use italics, underlining, or bold font to emphasize important points.

For Instance: A project estimate must be submitted at least two weeks in advance.

Note the harsh tone if the bold text is swapped for caps:

Project Estimate must be submitted AT LEAST TWO WEEKS IN ADVANCE.

Exception: Do use all caps in email headings especially when you are writing to any organization that strips HTML formatting from email. Military academies and some financial institutions with strict security protocols often follow HTML formatting.

  • Headings are a business writer’s best weapon against information overload. They give a short idea of the content.
  • Punctuation or emojis: Excessive use of punctuations and emojis can be minimized. Exclamation points should be used rarely. Emojis play a major role in digital communication and several style guides have approved their judicious use in business writing. They should be avoided in formal business emails.

 

Format

Emails do have plenty of white space to assist the reader. Usage of shorter paragraphs, lists, and bullet points to streamline the information is appreciated and helps to improve the readability.

Fix the best formatting for your email by stripping the text formatting of the new content using your email client’s Remove or Formatting function.

 

Let’s look into the most common formatting features and how to use them.

Font: That’s the typeface that you should choose for your email. It is best to choose a sans serif font that is more modern and simple and easy to read onscreen and even in small sizes. You could also use a variety of fonts like Arial, Helvetica, Tahoma, Trebuchet MS, or Verdana.

Text Size: You should try to keep your email in the normal font size of 10–12pt.

Bold Font: You can use bold font for headings and emphasize important text. Bold text is an eye-catcher when the readers scan the email.

Italic Font: Italic font also draws attention to an area of text. They are used to add emphasis to a sentence. Italics should also be used for headings and titles of full.

Underline Text: The underlined text is often confused with a link. It uses bold or italics.

Text Color: You should avoid using multi-text colors in an email as it draws the eye into multiple locations and looks highly unprofessional. The email program makes your hyperlinks blue.

Alignment: Business email writing uses text that is fully aligned left and you will never have to indent the start of a paragraph.

Numbered List: An organized content always includes a numbered list where the sequence is important.

Bullet List: Bulleted list is a great way to exhibit white space on your page and draw attention towards related items. Suits are best for unordered lists.

Text Indent: In business emails, you need not indent the first sentence of a new paragraph. The indent more button adds an indent to the text. It acts as a visual indication that the indented information is less important.

Indent Less: This button allows you to move your content to the left side.

Quote Text Function: If you are referring to a quoted text you should use the quote text function. It creates a slight indent to your content and a grey vertical line to the left. This indicates to the readers that you are quoting text.

Remove Formatting option: If you prefer to paste a text into your email you must use the remove formatting function. Otherwise, you will paste the text styles of the source, and it will be obvious to your reader that you copy and paste that text from a source. To use this function, select the text you want to remove formatting; click the remove formatting button.

 

Parts of a Great Email

Subject Line

The subject line refers to the mini-outline of your email. The goal of a subject line is to get your reader to open the email without hesitation.

The subject line should be of 3- to an 8-word overview of the content.

Subject lines need not be too short or too lengthy as it may confuse. This in turn delays the reply from the recipient.

Bad Example:

Hello! Anyone to avail the offer…

Good Example:

Your Print Order has Been Processed

Email readers will also review the subject line for signs of spam. Certain terms act as flags for spam algorithms and maybe chances are more to get filtered to a Junk folder. Words such as ‘Sales’, ‘Please read’ etc.; the one-word subjects need to be avoided.

Reply needs to be given for the appropriate thread of emails.

 

Greeting

Begin with a greeting that is more professional and concise. It is always good to address the recipient using their name, but it may not be possible all the time.

  • Good afternoon,
  • Warm Greetings,
  • Dear Ms. Caroline:
  • Hi Jacob, (salutation format)

 

Brief Pleasantry to Start With

Your opening line could be a short pleasantry connecting you and the recipient if you are writing for the first time to a recipient. One sentence is needed to indicate how you get connected.

The last line thanking the recipient if you’ve received something from the recipient is needed. You can be grateful for an offer of assistance, for an interesting piece of content they shared, or even for simply reading the email.

Thank you for sharing your valuable feedback on management strategies. The findings were useful.

 

Purpose

As mentioned previously each email should address just one purpose, that should be presented after the pleasantry. This is the B.L.O.T.— a bottom line on top.

It can be expressed concisely and directly.

Please provide your feedback on the Estimate.

 

Call to Action

The end of the email should include a specific call to action. The email is being sent to execute one task. This statement should include the specific action needed and the timeline. Clarification of the tasks and their expectations allows the recipient to respond more effectively.

Bad example

Can you take care of this?

Good example

Tina: Can you forward the survey results to all staff by Friday at noon, please?

If you need confirmation, you can phrase the call to action as a question. If the call to action is a notification that does not require a reply, you can structure the call to action as a statement.

 

Closing Message

The closing message indicates the end of the email. A brief and polite phrase will nicely conclude your email.

Thank you for your time and response

I look forward to getting your reply,

Regards,

Sign-off & Signature

The end of the email includes a signature of your name.

Most formal: Dr. William Adams

Dr. Williams

William Adams

Least formal and most common usage: William

Your email signature is a type of e-business card that is appended to your email. It contains the most important context and contact details for your reader. Images and logos can be much useful but fix the sizing criteria and layout of their appearance on mobile devices.

 

Mail Attachments and Links

You can attach the files or links for reference using the attachments or links button in the email. You can either name the file so that it is identified by the recipient or include the document title in parenthesis () immediately after you mention it in the email.

 

Make the attachment easily accessible.  If you have made an attachment that was sent to the recipient previously, attach it again anyway. In this way, they can easily access the information rather than search in the inbox.

 

Links can be directing the recipient either to websites or to intranet directories. These hyperlinks seem to be lengthy and distracting in the email text. Instead, you can add the hyperlink into the existing sentence for better readability.

Make a practice to ensure that the link opens the correct site.

 

Review your Email

Once your email is composed, instantly do not click send.

Take a review of your email. Check for any grammatical or spelling errors (Grammarly has a helpful free tool). Typos suggest you carelessness and can even convey incorrect information via email.

Need a double-check on dates, times, names, links, attachments, and other specific details.

Repeated check on the correct recipients in the sender fields is mandatory.

Track the email that opens

There is a wide range of email add-ons and applications that will track clearly if your email is opened by the recipient. Thereby you can track if the recipient has checked your email and has taken note of it.

Key Take Away

Professional email writing leaves the reader with a good impression of you and your business. The volume of emails we receive and send in routine can sometimes diminish our spirit towards writing an effective business email. Don’t forget to remember the four key questions discussed in this article while writing an email. A good, professional email closing will make a positive impression on your business. A sloppy email closing, full of mistakes may cause the recipient to view the email sender as less professional. Hence write it concisely and ensure it conveys the information and request to the reader.

And look there your reader as well as your inbox is appreciating it!

I am Ramya, a self-admiring, self-worthy personality. Worked as a biochemist intern; teaching English to young learners; passionate to the core on writing; sailing towards skillful writing, and an active internee in IIM skills content writing program.

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