Did you know that a huge part of your business branding efforts are related to how you write business email? We’ve all had those messages land in our inboxes where the sender didn’t make the right choices and we react accordingly — with a quick delete.
The subject field alone can make or break the chances of an email being opened. If you do open it, the initial impression determines whether you continue on or — as I too often do — delete!
Business emails shouldn’t be informal. Using proper sentence structure, appropriate tone and correct grammar are important.
It falls on you, as the author, to make sure the perception, intent and tone you wish to relay comes across to those you email. Make the wrong choices or neglect certain criteria and it’s a lost opportunity to make a good impression — and create or retain a customer.
How you write business email says a lot about you (and your company)
As you know, with email you lose the benefit of eye contact, body language, a firm handshake and your sparkling smile. The person receiving the message has no idea what a great guy or gal you are to do business with, especially with first contact emails — this may be your only chance to develop that partnership.
Instead, you have to rely on the written word, which is why successful business emails are all about the details. I know it’s easy to get overwhelmed with specifics, but this is your business we’re talking about. Professionals take the time to pay attention to the necessary elements that will contribute to their success.
Make sure your message is well-received by ensuring the following five items are in place and done correctly. You’ll provide confidence to those on the other end that working with you will be a smooth and pleasant experience.
Follow this recipe for business email success:
1. The Form field
Surprisingly, I still receive business emails with improperly structured from fields. Make sure your name is displayed properly. For example, Yashu K. Mittal. Not yashu k mittal, yashu mittal, k. mittal, a nickname or only your email address. Proper capitalization is imperative. If your name is written in all lowercase letters, you run the risk of being perceived as a spammer or worse yet — lacking education or tech savvy.
Use your own domain name for your business email address to help build your brand with every email you send.
Free email services such as Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo! are best used for personal communications. If you want folks to invest in doing business with you, invest in having your own domain-based email address.
2. The subject line
A short, accurate and well-thought-out subject line is key to making sure your email is opened. Keep it to five to seven words that accurately identify the topic and context of your message. With 40 percent of emails now being opened on mobile, try to stick to 50 characters or less. And remember, proper capitalization and spelling are a must.
When the direction or topic of the conversation changes, change the subject line.
Revising the subject field to reflect the conversation’s new direction helps all involved stay organized (and reflects that you are an efficient communicator).
3. The greeting
By not including a greeting at the beginning of your email, you might be viewed as bossy or terse. Take the time to include “Hello” or “Hi,” along with the recipient’s name. You can also indicate the level of formality your message is meant to convey in how you choose to address your customer (Jane, Ms. Doe, Dr. Doe, etc.).
Don’t get too informal too quickly. Let the other side dictate the level of formality and follow his or her lead.
You can usually get a sense of how those you communicate with prefer to be addressed by how they sign their emails to you.
4. The body
Communicate clearly. Complete, correctly structured and capitalized sentences that reflect proper grammar and punctuation are important when writing business emails. Keep sentences short (15 to 20 words) and paragraphs to no more than three or four sentences. Emails are meant to be pithy.
Avoid conveying emphasis by bolding or changing font colors because it can leave too much room for interpretation.
Instead choose the appropriate words to indicate your intent and tone.
5. The closing
Whether it be “Thank you for your time!”, “Sincerely,” “Look forward to hearing from you!” or “Warm regards,” use a closing that is consistent with the tone and formality of your message. By not including one you increase the possibility that your email will be viewed as impersonal, demanding or curt. And always close by including your name.
It’s a competitive world out there. But if you integrate these five elements into every business email you write, partners will see you as tech savvy, courteous and a pleasure to communicate with. And that, my friends, is money!