Learning the art of writing good emails is a must for entrepreneurs.
Goodbye snail mail. Hello email. Yes, email is now probably the most common form of correspondence. And as an entrepreneur, you will possibly be communicating with clients and vendors by email. If you have a website, chances are customers are mailing with you queries and requests.
However, email writing has a long way to go. So many professionals write sloppy emails with spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and poor vocabulary. Whether you are writing to a client, customer, your boss or your colleague, do keep some basic rules in mind for effective emails. Remember, a properly worded email is a mark of professionalism and a well-drafted email is able to convey the message you are putting across effectively.
If your emails are too causal, riddled with errors or do not address queries, if they are too long or do not address the sender, it doesn’t create a good impression of you or your business. How you communicate is an important part of your product or service’s brand image.
So, here are some pointers to writing effective emails.
1. Always have a subject headline. Use the subject line to inform the receiver of exactly what the email is about in a few well-chosen words. This helps the receiver to know what the email is about and also makes it easier for the reader to find at a later stage. Also, if you are unfamiliar to the recipient, an email without a subject could be mistaken for spam mail and get deleted.
2. Be concise and to the point. Do not make an email longer than it needs to be. Remember that reading an email is harder than reading printed communication. Also, most people are pressed for time and a rambling email can put off a potential client or customer. Try to keep your sentences to a maximum of 15-20 words. Email is meant to be a speedy medium and requires a different brand of writing from letters.
3. Make one point per mail. This basically is an extension of the previous point. If you have many points to convey, write each point as a separate email. That way your correspondent can reply to each one in the appropriate time frame. One topic might only require a short reply that he or she can make immediately. Another topic might require more research. By writing separate emails, you get clearer answers. The other option is to have clear bullet points or numbering each point.
4. Specify the response you want. Make sure to include any call to action you want, such as a phone call or follow-up appointment. Then, ensure you include your contact information, including your name, title, and phone numbers. Do this even with internal messages. The easier you make it for someone else to respond, the more likely they are to do so.
5. Internal email. Internal emails, just like other emails, should not be informal. Remember, these are written forms of communication that can be printed out and viewed by others than those originally intended for. Always use your spell checker and avoid slang. Remember, you are the boss in your organization. How you craft your mails and communications will serve as an example to your employees.
6. Use appropriate language. Which brings us to our next point. With SMS and chat language becoming common, many of are tempted to write emails in this form. Well, your client or your customer are not going to be impressed if you write slang; it’s plain unprofessional. Restrict your chat lingo to your friends; for official email, use the correct spellings and avoid short forms and slang.
7. Be grammatically correct. Do check if your sentences are grammatical. Remember, you are trying to either win and order, get an appointment, impress a client, etc. Make sure your email has style, not just substance! Use commas, full stops and questions marks to punctuate your sentences correctly.
8. Check your spellings. Nothing screams out carelessness more than a poorly spelled email. It reveals either ignorance on the part of the sender or total indifference. All computers have a spellcheck facility on them. Use it!
9. Use proper structure and layout. Since reading from a screen is more difficult than reading from paper, the structure and layout is very important for email messages. Use short paragraphs and blank lines between each paragraph. When making points, number them or mark each point as separate to keep the overview.
10. Reply promptly. Each email should be replied to within at least 24 hours, and preferably within the same working day. If the email is complicated, just send an email back saying that you have received it and that you will get back to them. But do acknowledge emails from customers. It will make them feel important.
11. DO NOT WRITE IN CAPITALS. By email etiquette standards, writing in capitals is considered rude; it is the equivalent of shouting at the receiver. Also, reading an email in caps can be annoying.
12. Avoid emojis. Keep your emojis for WhatsApp exchanges with your friends and family groups. Keep your business emails strictly professional.
13. Check and check again. Many people don’t bother to read an email before they send it out, as can be seen from the many spelling and grammar mistakes contained in emails. See if you can make the email even crisper for better readability and conciseness.
A little time, care and attention, and you can certainly craft professional, well-written emails. So take that extra effort!