For most of us, email is the most common form of business communication so it’s important to get it right. Although emails usually aren’t as formal as letters, they still need to be professional to present a good image of you and your company.
Keep the Subject Line Relevant and Brief
The importance of subject lines becomes even more clear when you consider that a short, one-line description of your email may be your first and only shot at connecting with a customer or business contact.
- Keep it Brief
- Pique Their Interest
- Offer Value
- Build Trust
Identify your goal
Before you write an email, ask yourself what you want the recipient to do after they’ve read it. Once you’ve determined the purpose of your email, you can ensure everything you include in your message supports this action. For example, if you want the recipient to review a report you’ve attached, let them know what the report is, why you need them to review it, what sort of feedback you need and when you need the task completed.
Consider your audience
When you compose an email message, make sure your tone matches your audience. For example, if you’re emailing a business executive you’ve never met, keep the email polished and free of any jokes or informalities. On the other hand, if you’re emailing a colleague with whom you have a good relationship, you might use a less formal, more friendly approach.
Keep it concise
Your audience might have little time to read through your email, so make it as brief as possible without leaving out key information. Try not to address too many subjects at once as this can make your message lengthy, challenging to read and difficult to take action on. When editing your email, take out any information that’s irrelevant to the topic you’re addressing. Use short, simple sentences by removing filler words and extraneous information. This will make your note shorter and easier to read.
Proofread your email
An error-free email demonstrates diligence and professionalism. Before you send an email, take a moment to check for any spelling, grammar or syntax errors. Also, double-check to ensure you’ve included any attachments you may have referenced in your message. If it is an important email to critical stakeholders, you might ask your direct supervisor or a trusted colleague to read over it before you send it.
Use proper etiquette
Include a courteous greeting and closing to sound friendly and polite. Additionally, be considerate of the recipient and their time. For example, unless it’s an emergency, avoid emailing a contact asking for something after-hours or while they’re on leave.
Remember to follow up
Most people receive several emails per day, so they might miss or forget to respond to your message. If the recipient hasn’t replied within two working days, consider reaching back out with a friendly follow-up email.