8 Tips for Making Business Email Communication More Professional

August 11, 2015

Email has long been the standard form of communication for businesses, and that likely won’t be changing in the near future. It’s the perfect way to communicate with both other businesses and customers. Even though it’s a very effective communication method, it can also be damaging to your business if not handled professionally.

According to an article from Quantum Learning Solutions, “Organizations lose around $ 1,250 per user in annual productivity because of time spent dealing with spam, $ 1,800 per user due to unnecessary emails from co-workers, and $ 2,100 – $ 4,100 per user due to poorly written communications.” That’s a significant amount of capital lost to something so easy to fix.

Email etiquette is not a lost art, and with a little bit of training and the right tips, you can help to make email communication across your entire company a little more professional.

1. Be Brief

Rule number one of email etiquette: Be brief. Rambling on and including unnecessary information is the easiest way to lose your reader. Try saying everything you have to say in 100 words or less. Though this won’t apply to some emails, most company-wide communications can be limited to just a few words.

2. Install a Failsafe

The ability to recall email in business is priceless, particularly if you or an employee had a weak moment. Gmail now offers an undo send button, which delays the time between when you push send and when the email is actually sent, allowing you to cancel an email if you have second thoughts. You can also install a software program that actually allows you to recall email from the recipient’s inbox.

3. Secure Your Email

Free emails, such as Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail, are often insecure in their basic form. In fact, more than 5 million Gmail passwords were leaked just last year, according to this blog post from Virtru. It’s okay to use these free emails for your business, but do yourself and your recipients a favor by taking the proper steps to make your email accounts more secure.

4. Proofread

It doesn’t take long to read through your email and make sure it’s grammatically correct, particularly since most emails come equipped with spell check. A comma used in the right place can go a long way as far as professionalism is concerned.

5. Fill in the Subject Field

Most people prioritize the emails they read based on the subject line. If you want your email to be read, make sure the subject field is professional and compelling. Consider the reaction of your audience when writing the subject, and if what you have in the field now seems boring, unimportant, or potentially offensive, it’s time for a rewrite.

6. Understand the Level of Formality

Not all emails in business communications will require the same level of formality. You’ll word emails differently to new clients than you would to clients or other business vendors with whom you have established a good relationship, for example. Just make sure that you consider the level of formality for each recipient before sending an email.

7. Include a Professional Greeting

“Hey guys!” might be a salutation you send at the head of an email to your team, but it’s never the greeting that should be used in an email sent to clients. Though “dear customer” is rather outdated, you’ll still want something a little more professional, such as “hello” or even “hi.”

8. Make It Visually Easy to Read

Sometimes you can’t escape sending long emails, but that doesn’t mean that it should come in the form of blocky text. Make it more visually appealing by using short paragraphs, bullet points, and the occasional image when appropriate. Begin long emails with the important information first, so that if your recipients aren’t engaged through the whole email, they at least read what you absolutely needed them to know. It’s a small step that can make a major difference in the professional appeal of your email.

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