Hello readers. Poorly written emails are the bane of the professional world. So much of business is spent dealing with email as a major communication source – most see it as a necessary evil. We give you some ways email etiquette brings a positive impact on your brand.
Why continue with mediocre emails when you can refine your skills and impress your recipients with your stunning email etiquette?
The best emails give you all the information you need to know with clear direction – without catching your attention in a negative way.
They blend in and let recipients focus on the content without being distracted by grammar errors or offensive informality.
9 Email Etiquette Tips for a Professional Brand
Take the time to develop good emailing habits by checking out these tips for email etiquette:
Keep it Classy
This is the broadest and most important email etiquette tip of them all.
It has to do with your tone and how you come off to other people in the text of your email.
Stay professional. The goal is to make and maintain good first impressions. Never go too informal unless you know it’s okay to do so in your relationship with someone. Always default to formal writing because it’s much worse to unintentionally offend someone by being too casual in a professional setting.
Open strong with a solid greeting. A simple hello or hi followed by the recipient’s name works wonders. Address your email recipients by name if you can so the message seems more personal. Always default to the formal version of their name (their last name) upon first contact until they let you know you can address them more informally. If they sign the email with their first name, then you know it’s okay to call them by their first name in the following correspondence.
Briefly introduce yourself, if the email calls for it (like with new contacts or potential clients). Write out the whole name of something rather than use abbreviations unless you know the recipient understands. Use proper capitalization. Don’t write in all lowercase – it just looks lazy. Don’t write in all caps either – it’s interpreted as yelling. No one wants to be screamed at, especially in the early hours of their workday.
Be wary of emojis and exclamation points. The most frustrating thing about email is that it’s difficult to convey tone through plain text alone – that’s why it’s so important to stay formal and watch how you word what you want to say. If you need an exclamation point, only use one! You shouldn’t use emojis in an email with someone you’re just talking to for the first time, but you can use them sparingly if you have a good relationship with the person. Read the situation and adjust accordingly.
P.S. – Having a professional email address goes a long way in making you look professional and credible. If you don’t have one already, considering setting one up.
Keep Emails Short and On-Topic
Lengthy emails only end in frustration, so keep your emails clear, concise, and to the point.
You want to make the email easy to read and reply to so recipients return requests quickly. If the email looks too lengthy or time-consuming to read, people may put it off until later.
Try to stick to one topic per email, unless you’ve got a numbered list or details that should all go together. If you do need to send out a lengthy email, break it up into an easily-digestible format with bold, italics, underlining, or bullet points.
Make sure your subject lines are relevant and informative so recipients know what they’re going to get when they open your email.
Along those lines, make sure your email subject lines don’t look like spam – if they’re in all caps or have an unnatural amount of exclamation points, people will be wary to open them.
If you need to ask someone you were recently emailing a different question, don’t reply to the old email chain with the new topic – start a new email chain instead.
Proofread, Proofread, Proofread
This applies to any text-based message, really.
You don’t want to misspell any words and look like you don’t know what you’re doing. You especially don’t want to misspell a recipient’s name, company, or product – that’s just embarrassing.
So make sure you look over what you’ve just written before you send it off.
Use a program like Grammarly to check up on your grammar, spelling, and punctuation for you.
Error-free emails will give a good first impression.
Also, don’t put the recipient’s email address in until you’re done constructing and looking over your message – that way, you don’t accidentally send out an incomplete email draft early.
CC and BCC Are Your Friends
CC stands for carbon copy and BCC stands for blind carbon copy.
CC exists to keep people in the know during a conversation in which certain decisions are made. The email chain might not need the CCed recipient’s direct input, but it’s something they should be included in so they’re aware of the discussion and have the ability to chime in if needed.
Remember to send your replies to the CCed person throughout the whole email chain even if they say nothing – unless it becomes clear that you can continue the conversation without the CCed person.
BCC lets you hide email recipients from each other when you’re sending out the same message to multiple people.
In the case of an email blast, it conceals the long list of other people the message was sent to, which makes the email seem more personal for the recipient (a definite benefit for marketing emails). BCC’s also important in respecting people’s privacy – the recipients’ email addresses aren’t being shared with people they don’t know just because they’re receiving the same email.
On the other hand, if you’re sending out an email to your team members and it’s important for them to see all the other people who got the message, don’t use BCC and just stick with the standard To: line.
Beware of Reply All
Only click reply all if your reply actually applies to all the people in the email chain.
You don’t want to unnecessarily clutter up anyone’s inbox or send them messages they didn’t actually need.
Don’t Email Angry
You don’t want to be that employee with a grudge that CCs the boss into a personal dispute you have with a coworker.
Don’t do that.
You also don’t want to be the boss that sends out an email blast detailing your frustration at tardiness or lack of productivity immediately after an upsetting business meeting.
Calm down and make sure you really want to send that message before you email it out and regret it later.
Make It Easy for Them
If you’re requesting something, sending an attachment, or scheduling a meeting, make it as easy as possible for your recipient to know what’s going on and what you expect of them.
If you expect a reply, tell them so. You can even bold it at the end if you want to: Please reply ASAP, or Please reply once you’ve read this message.
You can also leave a note that says Action Requested: and then write what you want them to do.
If you’ve attached something, tell them what it is and that you’ve attached it (this is especially helpful when you forget to attach what you intended to, because then your recipient will know to ask about what’s missing).
Name your attachments logically so people know what they are before they click them.
When scheduling a meeting, immediately offer your own available concrete time windows for the recipient to choose from to minimize scheduling back-and-forths. And then tack on “If none of these windows work for you, let me know and I’ll suggest some more options,” just in case.
Watch Your Availability
It’s good to respond to emails promptly because it tells people that they’re important to you. The problem is that it may mislead people into expecting that you’re always available (especially with the accessibility of email and internet on phones).
Consider an auto out-of-office email message to keep up the air of congeniality and efficiency you get from fast replies without forcing yourself to actually be available 24/7. It’s draining to always be on, so put the email down when you’re not working.
As long as you respond to an email within two days you’re typically golden.
Wrap It Up with a Great Signature
No one’s impressed by an email signature that reads Sent from my iPhone.
Make yourself a professional email signature to tack on the ends of your messages.
Include your name, position, and contact information for sure – a headshot, company logo, social media, website link, promotional message or call to action are all bonuses you can add to personalize your signature.
Add in what you want others to see about you but keep the signature minimalistic.
Also, try to keep it text-based so it’ll show up on all email programs without issue.
Be sure to include your signature at the end of new emails and reply emails so recipients know how to contact you in other ways if needed.
Also, before your signature, be sure to end your email on a thank you – expressing gratitude helps your brand just as professional email etiquette does.