Did you know that in 2019, 293.6 billion emails were sent and received every single day? Surprised? Well, according to Statista, the number is expected to grow to a staggering 347.3 billion emails by 2022.
That surely is a lot of communication.
Although we send loads of emails, there are those that are not efficient. Everyone’s inbox houses certain emails that are hard to read or handle, lingering around because the receiver is unsure about how to react or behave. Don’t let the fate of your emails be the same. Etiquette, design, and structure are important if emails are to be written that get results.
This post will illustrate best practices and will guide you step-by-step on how to create an effective corporate email. By incorporating these approaches into your email planning, you can write better emails and connect better overall.
The 6 Golden Questions To Ask Before Drafting An Email
There are four questions that you must consider as you begin to draft a business email:
1. Who am I Writing To?
The customer is the primary concern of all business content. Who you write to decides how you compose your email. The recipient needs to decide the type of communication, language, formality and substance.
The recipient of your email may be your employer, customer or supervisor. Every reader would have a different context, the experience of a project and goals. For example, you should use project acronyms for a partner possessing the same comprehensive understanding of the project as you do. However, these same acronyms would be misleading to an analyst who wants a budget planning update.
So, before you start drafting your email consider who you are writing for.
The recipient contains all the individuals involved in the fields of submission. And the To:, CC:. And BCC: areas like those in the To field should be the main priority. Writing for the public often requires proper use of such areas.
The ‘To:’ area is for the target audience who wants to answer or act from the substance of the emails. The ‘CC:’ area is intended for readers who wish to access the email conversation for context or clarification, but need not act or answer. The area ‘BCC:’ is for the viewer who just needs to see the original text, with none of the responses that come after that.
Incorrect use of the fields for submission is a popular business email error. It happens when the viewer and their positions are not treated with consideration.
Using field Bcc very sensibly is extremely important. It’s always better to send an email separately, with a short comment about why you’re sending the information.
2. Why Am I Sending The Email?
Every email should have an agenda. But, more importantly, the email should have only one agenda. While writing an email you must practice the ‘one thing rule’.
Covering numerous email actions can create uncertainty and inefficiency. One email does not include both review notices of the client report and a scheduling issue for the quarterly conference. This scenario requires 2 different emails.
By restricting emails to one thing, the receiver’s email is easier to grasp, handle and act upon. Consistency increases comprehension and efficiency.
In reality, we often need to ask for multiple pieces of knowledge relating to the same topic. In this case, use a numbered list to indicate that the file has components for your reader. This will allow the reader to answer quickly and guarantee that you have all the information that you need.
3. Do I Need To Send This Email?
There is a tendency to connect about through email more than required. Although email is useful and offers an electronic paper record, all communication should not take place via email.
Ask yourself: “Is that email really needed? “Maybe a short phone call or a click on the messenger for the business is more fitting. If you plan a lot of back-and-forth on the subject, a brief talk will eliminate a long series of emails.
To send information choose the right channel. While email platforms are wonderful, they are only one form of communication.
4. Is The Content Too Sensitive To Send Via Email?
Email can be used in certain situations but is not always suitable.
If you send bad news, do so in person, or buffer the text. An email is impersonal and can not express emotion or sympathy.
Important information transmitted by email avoids being exchanged by mistake. There are plenty of email mishaps that can range from amusing to serious. If it’s professional contact or personal view, decide if it’s ideal for an email. If you wouldn’t like it to be exchanged unintentionally, be very careful about how it’s being submitted first.
If you are unaware of the appropriateness of an email, ask yourself if you would feel okay with the email being presented in a group. Your dad, all your future colleagues, and your mum are attending the conference. If this exam is passed then give it. If not, this is definitely not acceptable.
5. Does The Style & Tone Come Across As Warm & Friendly?
Company emails have a very unique theme. They are professional but short. They should be written to be skimmed, but with adequate detail to allow for a full answer.
The greatest challenge in writing an email may be to find the right sound. Depending on the audience the sound varies. It can vary from formal to casual but is always respectful and should always suit the audience.
Wordy politeness in attempts to be succinct in correspondence can also be ignored. Yes, however, and thank you should be included if it is needed.
It’s usually recommended to avoid using all caps as it sounds like YOU’RE YELLING.
Writing in all caps also could route your email to the spam folder. If you really wouldn’t yell at the person in a face-to-to-face meeting, don’t scream it in an email. Instead, use italics, highlight or bold to underline crucial points.
Example: Vacation requests must be submitted at least two weeks in advance.
Now imagine if the bold text was swapped with caps.
Vacation requests must be submitted AT LEAST TWO WEEKS IN ADVANCE.
The language conveyed is incredibly harsh and most certainly your recipients will take offence, which could result in them not necessarily going through with your request.
Avoid using too many punctuations or emojis unnecessarily. You should use the exclamation points sparingly! Emojis tend to play a greater role in visual media, and many style guides have promoted its use in business content. But, you should use emojis in a formal conversation only if the recipient has used it first or if you share a casual relationship.
6. Is The Email Formatted Optimally?
Emails are intended to be skimmed, but the recipient should be given plenty of white space to assist. For streamlining the content, use shorter paragraphs, lists and bullet points. And, use headings to split up topics, and skim a page.
Furthermore, painful formatting copied from other documents or emails can be annoying. To get smooth email formatting, delete text formatting of the new content using the Erase or Formatting feature of your email client.
Here are the most common aspects of formatting, and how to use them.
Choosing sans serif (a typeface with no decorative strokes at the end) is better since its is more sleek, plain and simpler to read on print. They’re just much easier to understand. By default, Gmail uses Sans Serif. Arial, Helvetica, Tahoma, Trebuchet MS, or Verdana can also be used.
- Text Size:
Try keeping your email in the normal size. This varies from 10–12pt.
Using bold for headings and highlighting relevant text is recommended. Bold text attracts readers ‘ attention as they scan the email.
Italics is a simpler means of drawing attention to a text field. They are used to add emphasis to a sentence field. They do not differentiate words when the user reads a page much as bold text does. Even Italics can be used for full-length titles.
You should use underlined text sparingly as it could be mistaken for links. It is best not to use underlined text when composing an email to attract attention to a section in a document. Using bold, or italics is easier.
- Text Color:
You should stop using multiple text colours in an email as it appears unprofessional and invites the eye to various spots. Your email program’s apt to turn the hyperlinks light.
Company writing uses text which is left fully balanced. Academic composition indents five spaces in the first sentence of a paragraph. Never need to indent the start of a paragraph in the business text.
Using a numbered list will help coordinate material were relevant to the series. If you were explaining measures for example, you would prefer to use a numerical list.
- Bullet Points:
Bullet points are a perfect way to generate white space and attract attention to similar objects on the website. For unordered lists the bullet points fit well.
- Indent More:
You need not be indenting the first sentence in a new paragraph in company communications. A line break reflects the beginning of a new row. The further button feedback allows you to apply an indent to the letter. In occasional occasions this is helpful because you wish to suggest that any detail is a subset of what preceded it. It provides a visual indicator less important is the indented detail.
- Indent Less:
With this tool, you can move your content to the left, which is useful while creating a hierarchical structure.
- Quote Text:
If you are referring to the quoted text you should use the quote text function. It provides a slight indent to your content and a grey vertical line to the left. This shows readers that you are quoting text.
- Remove Formatting:
If you refer to cited text, use the quote text feature. It gives the material a small indent and a dark vertical line to the left. This suggests to readers that you are quoting text.
It is important that you use the delete formatting feature when pasting text into your inbox. Otherwise, you will add the patterns of the text and it will be clear to the reader that you are copying and pasting the text. Select the text you want to delete formatting to use this feature. Then press the remove formatting button.
Top 9 Components of a Great Email
Let’s dissect each section of a business email to highlight best practices for you to implement in your writing.
1) Subject Line
The subject line is your email’s mini summary. It gives the best chance to make sure your email is read. A subject line is directed at getting the reader to open the email without tricking them. It’s also the location where most frequent errors are made.
Think of it as the title of your inbox. A 3- to the 8-word summary of the material should be provided.
Confusion is caused by subject lines which are too short or too long. If it makes replying to the email sound complicated or frustrating, the receiver does not open it immediately or at all.
‘For Your Review’
‘Questions About Expansion Performance Target Report Deadline Extension Request” For Client Meeting’
‘Your BookShop Order Delivery Dec 2’
‘Client Report Revisions: Please Review by 4 PM’
‘Expansion Report Extension Requested until Friday’
Email recipients will ideally rely on the subject line to identify spam emails. This is highly relevant for sales teams who are currently cold-emailing customers. Certain words are known to be spam, which can be forwarded to a Trash folder. Stop using words like ‘Sales,’ ‘Please read’ or ‘Income’ or making topics with a single word.
Your greeting must be polite and succinct. Addressing the receiver with their name is usually preferred but it might not always be possible. Here are some good examples of greetings.
- Good afternoon,
- Dear Ms. Jones:
- Hi Jeff, (salutation format)
- Hi, Jeff. (sentence format)
3) Brief Pleasantry
If you’re first emailing someone, the opening line could be a quick pleasantry connecting you and the receiver. One sentence should suffice. Specify how you got connected. This reminder gives the reader context for the information below.
“It was great to meet you at last night’s networking event.”
If you received something from the recipient, then appreciate it by offering your thanks. It could be a thank you for a help offer, for an interesting piece of content they shared, or even for just reading the email.
“Thank you for sharing your article on management strategies. The findings are valuable.’
‘I appreciate you taking the time to help me with this project.’
If you want to keep it general, warm well-wishes will do.
‘I hope you’re well!’
Omit a pleasant greeting if you have communicated with each other recently, or frequently.
Be very careful when starting the email with over-spinning pleasantries. Your email should have an overt start. Recall the B.L.O.T. acronym — bottom line at the top. What do you want or want your reader to know? That’s the opening that matters most.
4) The Purpose
As noted earlier, each email should address one thing, one purpose only. Following the pleasantry this task, request or information should be clearly and directly presented. This is the B.L.O.T.—the top of the bottom line.
Be concise and straightforward. Don’t hide your request or you can easily ignore it. Here are some of the examples of highlighting a good purpose are:
- ‘Please provide your feedback on the budget.’
- ‘Can you participate in the project kick-off meeting next Thursday?
- ‘Did you have any revisions to the final report?’
Remember the acronym B.L.O.T. — Bottom Line On Top
5) Additional Information
Any business emails can enable the reader to get additional details. Clarification about the task may be a guide to tools or instances or other valuable details. The detail should be properly used. Only related material should be added explicitly.
6) Call to Action
Have a clear call to action at the email end. The email is sent to perform one mission. As for your submission, the call to action can leave no doubt. Don’t presume that the reader knows the desired outcome from previous knowledge. If there is some grey ground, emails can be quickly misinterpreted.
This assertion should include a timeline and precise action. If you send the email to several individuals, explain the obligation of the assignment by directly identifying the person you expect.
Clarification of roles and goals helps the receiver to respond more efficiently.
- “Can you take care of this?”
- “Let me know what you think.”
Good examples: “
- Sarah: can you forward the survey to all staff by Friday at noon, please?”
- “I’d appreciate your feedback on the draft agenda. If you have any edits, please send them by tomorrow, Tuesday, at 10 AM.”
You can phrase the call to action as a question if you want confirmation. If the call to action is a notification that does not necessarily require a response, then the call to action can be structured as a statement.
7) Closing Message
The closing message clearly means the email is complete. While this is not a requirement in modern email writing, a brief, polite sentence will round out your email nicely.
- ‘Thank you for your time,’
- ‘I look forward to your response,’
- ‘Kind regards,’
8) Sign-off & Signature
The email ends contain your name sign-off. The phrasing should be in accordance with email formality. Below are a few examples of formality.
- Most formal: Dr. John Smith
- Dr. Smith
- John Smith
- Least formal and most common: John
Your signature by email is a form of electronic business card attached to your account. It should provide the most relevant meaning for your reader, and contact information. This is the place to help the reader, not brag or insert abstract quotations, with specific communication or contextual details. Photos and icons may be helpful, but be mindful of the size and how it will show up on mobile devices.
If you have written your email, don’t click on send. Yet.
Take a minute to scan your address. Check for mistakes in grammar or pronunciation (Grammarly has a valuable free tool); Typos indicate carelessness and can also express knowledge that is not right.
Double-check dates, days, addresses, connexions, attachments etc. Triple-check the sender fields include the right recipients.
Often the number of emails we receive and send will diminish our drive to write a successful business email. When writing an email remember the four main questions. Write it in a manner that is succinct and also explicitly conveys the details and questions the reader.
Your client will love it, and their inbox too.
For more information on how to be a successful entrepreneur, keep reading The Money Gig.0