Business email communication can be highly effective. And since COVID-19 measures, many of us are relying on emails more for business at this time.
But first, decide if business email is the most appropriate communication medium for your audience and objective.
Set out here are some tips and reminders on email elements, preparing and replying to emails for business purposes (as opposed to
marketing purposes). With a little practice and in a short space of time, you’ll experience an improvement in your business email communication. You may
also see faster turnaround times and increased efficiency in your business.
Elements of emails
> If you are using a generic email address such as a Gmail
account, consider changing to a domain name for your business. It’s an easy and low-cost marketing option.
> Set up your sender name that best represents your business – do you prefer your email address, name only or a combination of your name and your business name perhaps?
> Make the most of your email signature for marketing and
branding purposes. Add your logo and website. Do you have qualifications, specialist or industry accreditations or licences to include? And include your preferred contact details. Layout your sign off with a professional look for the highest impact.
> Make sure the subject line is relevant – this will assist if you need to search for emails around the document or topic at a later date and keep track of the conversation thread. For any urgent matters, you can also indicate that here.
> Generally, stick to a more formal tone for a business email.
> Language – avoid abbreviated or shortened words as you would use in other mediums such as WhatsApp, SMS etc. and use language appropriate to your audience.
> Keep in mind that the content is relevant to your audience.
> No matter how the content of an email is written, different interpretations can result. Further email communication and the use of different wording may be required.
> The length of an email can vary, but it is best not to ‘waffle on’; be clear and concise in getting your message across. Sending two emails instead of one could be the way to go.
> Breaking up and highlighting headings, keywords or terms and other sections in longer emails can help with easy to understand and faster reading of the content.
More on preparing emails
> Add attachments in order. If there are several attachments, include a summary in the body of the email for the benefit of your audience. Using bullet points, you can outline the different documents or attachments and any changes or updates. The email also becomes a record for the position at that time.
> If you are seeking a reply to your email to meet a deadline, then remember to include a date and time to respond at the end of your message to match your preferred timeframe. Adding text along the lines of ‘If I have not received a reply by this time, then we will proceed with…’ if appropriate. Where time permits, give a reasonable timeframe for a response to allow for the receivers’ overall workload.
> Timing of communication may also be a factor, e.g. you may decide to leave sending an email around some content on the same topic or issue to a later date.
> Send the same email at the one time to all relevant parties. Make sure you use the ‘cc’ and ‘bc’ fields in an appropriate manner.
> Review, review, review – remember to always check for spelling and grammar before sending emails!
> And also remember to doublecheck who you are sending the email ‘to’ before you hit the ‘send’ button!
Other email pointers
> It is good practice to acknowledge an email.
> If you’ve made a request in an initial email around a change in behaviour, then sending a reminder email or two as a follow up will go towards ensuring that change happens faster.
> Sending a friendly reminder email or two as a deadline approaches can be helpful for your audience due to the volume of emails they receive and their other priorities.
> Consistency in messaging – this is important, for example, in the case of emails being sent by different members of management to team members.
> An email template for similar or standard email messages will improve efficiency.
Just like limiting the time spent responding to messages on your mobile phone, there are many articles written about the benefits of restricting the number of times spent during a workday day replying to emails. If you can reduce the amount of times on business email communication to say four blocks in the day that may assist with productivity levels in other workload areas.
Working remotely may mean you are getting to your inbox at different times of the day than when you were commuting to and from work. However, responding to emails in a timely and efficient manner can still be achieved.
If you’d like to discuss On Point Support providing administration and operations or proofreading services for your business, then please contact us.