Businesses run on emails. More than telephonic conversations, billboards and social media exposure, the driving force behind every successful business out there is still an email. Thanks to the advent of social media, most communication now happens via email only – newsletters, business reports, feedback surveys, promotional considerations and daily work routines as well; everything is going paper-less and being reciprocated via emails.
Since many emails are not properly formatted, they tend to create confusion or unintended anger in over 64% of people according to a research by Sendmail. Not only does this kill communication, but also makes people overlook your emails if they are improperly written or are too cumbersome to comprehend. This poses new challenges for an email writer – getting the message across and creating an email that is actually opened and read!
Why are emails overlooked? Why are emails misconstrued?
Email is still a relatively new form of communication if you consider the fact that a few years ago people only conversed telephonically or via telegram. However, phone calls are more direct and transparent than written words – sometimes words can be misconstrued. Moreover, the written word sometimes tends to get boring if it is too lengthy or if the email body tends to beat around the bush.
There are many instances when many emails are not even opened due to vague subject lines or are not read properly because the subject matter was either irrelevant or too lengthy. This leads to miscommunication which can hamper business decisions and also lead to delayed feedback.
Things to Keep In Mind While Writing a Business Email
- Always decide the purpose of your emails and never send them in haste. Your email message’s audience should be clear in your mind and you should think about how they would perceive the intended message.
- Jotting down notes and seeking information in the form of questions always helps.
- Avoid attachments, use them only when file sharing is the only option.
- Identify yourself and clearly distinguish about the situation – formal or informal.
- Show respect, restraint and assume that there is no privacy.
- The first thing that an email portrays is the subject – make it straightforward and short. It should not be longer than 15 words.
- The subject should include the main keywords or objective of the email.
- The email should have less pleasantries and be more direct towards the message that needs to be communicated.
- Use the active voice – speaking in the present tense.
- Use regular words, short sentences, and a maximum of three paragraphs.
- The email body should not be longer than 300 words and should try to incorporate bullet points wherever applicable.
- Use features like BOLD and highlight text to attract attention towards key issues.
- DO NOT use emoticons or slang.
- Lastly, proofread as many times as possible.
How to write an effective business email body?
- Always set the tone of your message – professional or friendly. Once that is done, begin your email with a befitting salutation with respect to the audience’s qualifications or social status.
- Organize all your thoughts within a logical sequence and do not jump between one thought to the other.
- Famous entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki stresses on the point that every business email should hover around five sentences. Limiting yourself to five sentences will help you exercise brevity and also achieve more clarity in your conversations.
Stick to this format –
- Greeting or salutation: “Hi.” or “Hello.” is typical. Refrain from using “Hey” or “Hi-ya”.
- A pleasantry: Anything from a compliment about a previous meeting, past collaboration or published work or congratulating about an achievement helps to break the ice. People become more inclined to read an email if it has a nice pleasantry. Moreover, it helps to soften any criticism.
- The main reason for this particular email: Be very clear about your objective. Ask questions and seek answers. This can be done in two sentences.
- A definitive CTA (call to action): Expecting the reader to know what is to be done is not always the right choice.Provide specific instructions like – “Send me the file tomorrow” or “When will you send the sales figures from last month”. Asking questions helps you to be more direct and also encourages the recipient to reply back.
- A closing message (last reminders): A closing line is simply a summary of what was just requested or conveyed. It helps you re-iterate your CTA. You can use “Looking forward to…” or “If you have any questions, please revert”.
- Signature: Sign-off signatures should always be coupled with your name or the company you work for. You can use – “Thanks.” Or “Best Wishes.”. Nowadays, most startups tend to use “Best”.
Hiring a Professional Email Writer
Generally, emails should be written in the manner you speak. Sometimes, you may not be able to set the right tone for your email. Hiring professionals to write your emails can help. When it comes to really important communication like corporate newsletters, CTA flyers for consumer attention or tender notices, a professionally written email can leverage the knowledge and experience in writing high-profile emails that actually hit the target and don’t get ignored. Since these emails have the right mix of keywords, sentence structures and formatting, they are fool-proof and are tailor-made according to the needs of your business.
To sum up, remember that emails are not business meetings. Cramming up everything into one email makes it look like a press release rather than a conversation that demands immediate action. Try sticking to the ‘One-Thing’ rule where each agenda is chalked-off in separate emails. In the world of emails, less is always more.
With these tips and tricks, you can get immediate attention from your intended email recipients who generally receive an avalanche of emails every day. On top of that, since your emails will now be better, you will not be misunderstood and this is where clear and concise business emails will help your business take-off in the right direction.