(This is a guest post created by guest author Roman Shvydun)
Do you often encounter negative reactions or no response at all after you send your first email to a client or potential partner? If your answer is yes, then most likely, your email etiquette needs some improvements. And even if not, improving your emailing skills will never hurt.
According to Forbes, employees receive an average of 121 emails per day. The data shows that 49% of US employees have a habit of checking their email every few hours; consequently, 19% of them check their email as soon as they receive a new message. Based on this data, imagine how many possibilities can give you a well-composed email.
To avoid losing your potential partners and customers, let’s take a look at some useful recommendations for improving your email etiquette.
What Is Email Etiquette?
Email etiquette is the principle that guides our behavior when sending and receiving emails. It exhibits the dos and don’ts and helps you understand how you should compose an email and what inappropriate things to avoid.
However, you can alter your email etiquette according to the audience, purpose of the email, and relationship with a particular recipient.
But why is email etiquette important?
Importance of Email Etiquette for Business-Related Relationships
When you are sending an email, especially the first time, email etiquette demonstrates your personal presentation skills as an employee, employer, or corporation. In this time of the coronavirus pandemic, when face-to-face interactions are limited, emails are one of the most crucial ways to express your work ethics, professionalism, aptitude, and intelligence.
Below are some important advantages of email etiquette:
Saves communication time:
By using a specific tone and layout or format in your email, team, B2B, and client messaging become more neutral, professional, emotional, etc., depending on the goal and the accepted tone of voice in the company. And because emails are usually read quickly, an inappropriate tone or format can distract your addressee and cut off the desire to read it.
Email etiquette used by employees of a company indicates how professional that company is. This, in turn, helps you build stronger relationships in the workplace and represent the company in a favorable light.
Imposing a specific format reduces the chances of mistakes, costly consequences, or professional misunderstandings. Email etiquette will help you communicate respectfully with others.
Typical Email Etiquette Mistakes
Many people, including professionals, seem to unintentionally ignore some basic email etiquette rules, causing them to discredit their images. Below are some common mistakes made by a majority of senders:
1. Adding attachments without informing.
You should inform your recipient about adding attachments and give them an introduction about what’s waiting for them inside.
There is a high chance that a recipient may not notice the file attached and never open it. As a result, they will not know what exactly you were talking about or what figures you were referring to.
There is also a chance that a reader might find the file, but due to doubts about cybercrime, they may not open it. Not mentioning an attachment included with prior text looks unprofessional and can potentially damage your long-term relationship with your clients or colleagues.
Also, before sending a large or heavy data file, you should ask permission, as such a file can sometimes cause lag on their device or email account.
2. The tone of your message.
Undoubtedly, it is important to use a formal tone in professional relations and not get too friendly and casual while writing your email. For instance, it would seem quite inappropriate to start off with “Hey, Elizabeth” rather than “Hello, Ms. Smith” if you are not friends yet.
Try to start your email politely as well as formally and try to follow your recipient’s lead. Go for a neutral tone when composing your first message, neither too friendly nor too formal.
3. Using emojis and abbreviations.
Emojis and abbreviations are considered extremely unprofessional in business emails, except for specific professional jargon you may use to show your expertise.
Refrain from using smiley faces and LOLs, and be sure to use full forms of words, like “waiting for you” instead of writing “waiting 4 u.” Never use informal abbreviations or emojis when you are writing to your boss or a client, as it is a complete turnoff point. It indicates the level of interest and time you have for a potential client.
4. Using unpopular formats for attachments.
You should always use common formats that can be easily opened and are less time-consuming, such as JPG for images or PDF for documents.
Inserting attachments with complex formats like F2B will cause your clients to search throughout Google to learn how to open it. Moreover, most clients will never waste their time opening such a file; thus, using a less common format is a huge turn-off and can close doors for potential clients.
If you are wondering how you can gain long-term clients with your marketing emails, then follow the basic email etiquette explained below.
7 Tips to Improve Your B2B Email Etiquette
Whether you write an email from scratch or use an email template builder, these tips may be helpful for everyone, regardless of your profession or industry. Moreover, you can develop your own ideas on how to improve the following recommendations.
1. Ensure You’re Addressing the Right Person
Imagine receiving a new email that is addressed to someone else. What will you do? Most readers will simply delete or mark the email as spam without opening it. Therefore, whenever you are sending an email, you need to ensure that you have correctly spelled the recipient’s name. Despite knowing the name, you must still do some amount of research to confirm it; you can consider checking the email address of the recipient to find the correct name.
In situations when you are unaware of the name, you can try using common terms such as “To the team or company” to be on the safe side. You can even use the phrase “To whom it may concern.” Standard phrases will save time on research and allow you to send numerous emails within a limited time frame. Check out some cold email examples.
2. Create Clear and Concise Subject Lines
Just the way a book is judged by its cover, in a similar manner an email is judged by its subject line. Therefore, it is vital to use an attention-grabbing subject line to refrain the reader from throwing off your mail into a deleted or spam folder without opening it.
Every day, individuals receive numerous marketing emails; therefore, you need to work hard to find a catchy subject line. For instance, you can add the recipient’s name, company’s name, or a specific phrase. You can also consider adding open-ended questions like “Do you need our help?” or “Waiting for new discounts?” Such questions should make them curious enough to open your email for further information.
Lastly, most email applications on smartphones have spam filters. They search for specific phrases and words like “guarantee” or “no cost” in the subject line and directly add them to the spam folder.
3. Don’t Forget About Greetings, Closings, and Email Signatures
Think of email as face-to-face interaction where greetings and closings play an integral part.
In order to ensure that the addressee reads your email content, you should make use of a professional yet interesting greeting line. Also, you must choose a tone carefully — either professional, formal, or casual — as it helps the readers identify the kind of email it is.
You must ensure you end the email on a very good note. You can try using phrases like “Thank You” or “Best Regards.” It shows how professional and credible you are.
Email signatures act as a virtual business card; therefore, you must include all important details like name, surname, business role, contact details, URLs, and a company logo. Using an email signature makes you professional and reliable. It helps you build familiarity by allowing people to see who they’re contacting. It also solidifies your branding and permits you to add a personal touch to your emails. Email signatures make it easy for recipients to contact you, as they offer an option to add a CTA.
Without wasting much of your time, you can try creating new emails using an easy-to-use email builder.
4. Try to Respond to All Your Emails within 24 Hours
The speed of your email replies indicates how serious and interested you are. An ideal time to reply to an email is within 24 hours. Instant replies allow you to arrange things quickly and efficiently.
You can consider storing all emails in one place, as having different accounts makes it a tedious task to switch between them and check for unanswered emails.
Work from home has definitely made the schedules of almost everyone disorganized, thus making it difficult to reply to all emails within a day. But you should know that late replies cause the recipient to think you are not really interested in their offer or further communication.
Undoubtedly, there are some emails, like a detailed work project or offer, that do not require you to provide instant replies. Therefore, you can consider scheduling such an email to be sent out at a later date. In order to keep such clients aware of the situation, you can quickly notify them that you will respond as soon as you are ready.
5. Use an Out-of-Office Autoresponder
The out-of-office autoresponder is very useful in cases when you are away from your office, especially for vacation or a medical emergency. Such out-of-office autoresponders are beneficial for both senders and recipients.
An out-of-office autoresponder helps the sender be aware of the fact that you are out of the office. Thus, they can send emails or assign projects accordingly. On the other hand, you can relax on your vacation without worrying about emails you might have gotten in your office.
The out-of-office autoresponder will manage all your emails on your behalf. It will automatically reply and mention your absence along with the expected return date. Before setting up an out-of-office autoresponder, there are few important things you should ensure:
Wrap up a conversation before leaving: If you are having a conversation with a partner, then you should wrap it up. Inform them about your temporary absence and your return time. The partner may get doubtful about receiving an autoresponder email all of a sudden.
Inform of your expected return date: Inform all your partners and clients about your estimated return time so they get an idea of when to contact you or assign a new project. Also, it helps people who have assigned you time-sensitive projects.
Share the reason for your leave: Briefly inform your partners about the reason for your unavailability. No need to explain your scenario, just try to direct the level of seriousness.
6. Ensure Your Email Is Mutually Beneficial
Email marketing is successful only when you and the other party are helping each other. If the person you are talking to thinks you are emailing them just for your own benefit, you’ll soon find that they’re more likely to stop responding.
The most ideal condition is to try to offer something in turn for your partners or clients whenever it is possible; it will ensure that you have a strong, healthy, and fruitful relationship. You can ask for a favor once in a blue moon, but you have to help them too when they need you. You need to remember that any kind of relationship, even an email relationship, is two-way traffic!
7. Send a Thank-You or Follow-Up Email
After meeting, interviewing, or finishing a project with someone, it is advised that you send a follow-up or thank-you email. It helps create warm cooperation with the person and makes them think you appreciate the time you spent together. While writing a thank-you or follow-up email, ensure you:
Show your interest: To express your interest, the ideal time to send a thank-you or follow-up email is within 24 hours after the meeting or interview. It helps indicate how proactive and professional you are.
Discuss the details: Don’t simply thank the person for meeting you or giving you their time. Be specific, discuss important details, and tell them how much you enjoyed the joint time. The recipient will love to read such an email.
Do not follow up repeatedly: Lastly, wait patiently for the person you are contacting to reply. Following up again after a thank-you or follow-up message might indicate how desperate you are; it may irritate the person and can be a turnoff.
Small business marketing tools will help you with sending thank-you and follow-up emails and make your task easier.
Many people face problems with B2B email conversations: unanswered emails, interrupted communications, and negative replies. In many of these cases, inappropriate email etiquette is to blame. Thankfully, these issues can be fixed with the right approaches.
Email etiquette helps keep a healthy business relationship and allows you to look more professional and individual. It helps employees build long-term relationships in the workplace and diminish the chances of miscommunication. The seven email etiquette tips given above are useful to keep the team on one page and enable them to use a simple yet professional tone.
Roman Shvydun writes informative articles mainly about everything related to Marketing, Business, Productivity, Workplace culture, etc. His articles focus on balancing informative with SEO needs–but never at the expense of providing an entertaining read. See a few more examples of Roman’s articles by visiting the Mailbird blog.
What are the dos and don’ts of business email writing?
A brief checklist of dos and don’ts of email writing:
- Pay attention to the subject line.
- Use proper salutations.
- Use an appropriate yet catchy greeting sentence.
- Know the culture of the company you are messaging and set the tone of the email accordingly.
- In case there are any attachments, double-check it.
- Try your best to reply within 24 hours.
- Ensure there are no spelling errors or incorrect information.
- Don’t forget to add a signature and closing message.
- Don’t be biased or negative.
- Don’t use emojis.
- Don’t use the “reply all” button unless everyone needs to know.
- Don’t add sarcasm or humor.
What is poor email etiquette?
Below are poor email etiquette examples and ways to correct them:
- Never write a detailed biography of yourself. You should always start an email by briefly introducing yourself.
- Refrain from using more than one exclamation mark in your business email. Numerous exclamation marks indicate childish behavior.
- Never leave an email unanswered. Always acknowledge the email you have received.
- Never write short forms or abbreviations like “looking 4ward 2 meet u.” It seems extremely unprofessional. In the same manner, refrain from using emojis; instead, use words to explain your feelings.
- Never write a to-the-point subject line. Always try to make a juicy subject line that creates curiosity in the reader.
- Never reply to all emails at once. Respond to every email according to its message tone and requirements.
- Never send large attachments without informing the client. Always ask the client if they are okay with receiving a large attachment.
What shouldn’t you do in a professional email?
Below are five things you should avoid in a professional email:
- Do not write an email in a casual tone, as it seems unprofessional.
- Never assume that the receiver knows about you and your reason for contacting him/her.
- Do not use inappropriate words, abbreviations, and emojis; it seems unprofessional.
- Don’t write a long, detailed email. Avoid fluffing an email, as the reader might lose their interest.
- Don’t send an email without proofreading. Never use incorrect spellings or recipient details.