Email is one of the most important and commonly used business correspondence tools, however few people use it to communicate effectively. Here are some business email etiquette tips to help you write better emails:
How Much Email is Being Sent
First of all, just how important is email as a business communication too these days? Let’s look at some numbers:
- In 2022, it’s estimated that there will be more than 333 billion emails sent each day worldwide. That’s billion, with a B!
- More than 3.5 million emails are sent per second! Per second!
- Email use is still growing. Based on the research data, it’s likely that people will send and receive more than 376 billion emails per day by 2025.
- According to Campaign Monitor, the daily number of business emails received and sent is 124.5 billion. Again, billion, with a B.
- Put another way, that means the office worker received on average 120 emails every day.
It’s clear email is one of the most important and commonly used business correspondence tools. If you are a manager or business owner, you need to know that each member of your staff is spending a lot of time and effort working through their inbox every day. And you need to make sure they know some business email etiquette tips.
9 Email Etiquette Tips for Business
If you use email for business (and really who doesn’t these days), here are some basic business email etiquette tips to help you use it to communicate more effectively:
Business Email Etiquette Tip 1 – Keep Your Emails on Point
Keep your email short and to the point. Think about it. At an average of 120 emails a day, just one extra sentence per email is a lot of extra reading for the recipient. So, before you draft your message, always think to yourself, what is the purpose of this email? What are you really trying to accomplish? Know what you want and what you are asking for, and then make a short and specific request for it.
Email Tip 2 – Answer All The Questions
Has this ever happened to you? After reading a reply to one of your emails,you think, “they never answered my question!” So, you know they just skimmed it, and then quickly hit the reply button. Then you have to send yet another email to get your request answered.
Remember the old saying. If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, when are you going to have time to do it right the second time.
If you are responding to an email, always answer every question that was asked. Just before you hit send, re-read the original email and make sure.
Email Tip 3 – Is It Really Urgent?
Don’t make every email “high priority”. Remember the old story about the child who cried wolf? If you make every email urgent, none of them will be treated as such.
Email Tip 4 – Keep it Professional!
Keep your work emails on a business level. Smiley faces and shortcuts like “lol” are not generally understood, nor are they considered appropriate in a business email. Spelling and grammar also count. Using all capital letters is considered rude, yet using all lower case is not acceptable like it is when using text messages.
And basic common courtesy is a must. In fact, according to a study by the American Management Association, 28% of employers have fired workers for misusing e-mail. So when in doubt about whether sharing that joke or ripping into a colleague in an email is appropriate or not, just don’t hit the send button!
Business Email Etiquette Tip 5 – Do Your Really Need to “Reply All”?
The dreaded and overused “Reply All” icon. It’s probably the biggest frustration most people have with email. Simply put, don’t copy someone in on the email unless it is absolutely necessary. Just don’t do it. This just clutters everyone’s inbox and can be confusing for the copied person because they may not be sure if they are supposed to respond or not.
Email Tip 6 – When Should You Copy Someone’s Boss?
It is common that when some people write an email to make a request, they automatically copy that person’s boss. Why? Is it really necessary?
Instead, when you make a time sensitive request and receive a commitment from that person on a date when it will be completed, file it in your follow up file by the date. If, and only if the deadline is missed, then write a follow up email to the person and copy their boss.
Having said that, there is a time when it’s highly recommended to always copy someone’s superior. And that’s whenever your are thanking someone for an outstanding job, or passing on a compliment from a customer, then absolutely copy their boss. I just think praise should always be public.
Email Tip 7 – Be Clear as to Who Does What
Sometimes you do have to have send the same email to multiple people, especially in a business setting. In those situations, though, you need to be more cognizant of how you word them. Let me give you an example.
Almost every day I receive at least one email with myself, and several other people listed on the recipients list. The email then starts off with a request like, “Could you please do this…” The first question that always goes through my mind is which “you” are you asking? Is it me, or Fred, or Bob, or Sam, or the other 10 people you listed in the “To” field? I am asking myself because I really have no clue!
When you address an email to more than one person and then make a general call to action to the whole group, none of recipients know who is supposed to do what. Each assumes another is going to fill the request, and therefore thinks they can just ignore the email all together. And, if by some miracle, the task does manage to move forward, many unnecessary emails of clarification were needed to make that happen. Really, who has time for that?
When you are making a request by email, please make it only to the person you want to fill it; either by putting that person alone in the “To” field and copying the rest, or by specifically naming that person in the body of the email with a phrase like “Sam, could you please do…” If you are not sure who to name, don’t send the email until you do.
After all, if you don’t know who on your recipients list should be doing the task you are requesting, how are they?
Business Email Etiquette Tip 8 – Change the Subject
Have you ever been included in an email string with multiple recipients? You know, where the emails are going back and forth and someone goes off in a tangent or a whole new topic of discussion is created as a result? You still need the background of the string, but it’s a whole new subject? These email strings can be very hard to follow. It can also be difficult to make sure you are answering the right question on the right string.
To make it easier, when this happens, be sure to edit the subject line first before you hit the send button. It’s very important though, that you also be sure that the first line of the email announces that you changed it. This way, everyone is on the same new page, so to speak. It also gives you the opportunity to reduce the number of people on the distribution list too.
Email Tip 9 – Use the BCC Field
Not only do we not need to reply all as often as we do, it also makes the email hard to read, doesn’t it? You have to scroll through all those names and email addresses at the top before you start to see the actual email message. Not only does that waste a lot of time, it can also be a violation of privacy, because you could be exposing someone’s personal email address in the process.
Instead, ask yourself if you can use the blind carbon copy field. I do this for all my email announcements for my volunteer work and basketball coaching email to parents. I address the email and send it to myself, and then blind copy all the parents. That way no one’s private email is out in public.
For more excellent tips on email etiquette, including how to optimize your inbox and keep your sanity, check out these 40 One-Sentence Email Tips.
Email Tips for Sales and Marketing
Over the years, email has evolved into the go-to tool for sales and marketing. In fact, if you are not using email as part of your content marketing strategy, you are not putting your best effort forward to reach your potential customers.
There are several reasons why email marketing fails, however the complaint I hear most from salespeople is that they rarely receive replies. My first question to them is always are they sure their prospect has even received their email in the first place. Let’s face it, with today’s spam filters, it’s a valid concern. After all, there is only one way to make sure and that is to follow up. For more details on how to do that, here is the best way to follow up on a prospecting email to keep the sales process moving forward.
Salespeople also need to make sure their email signature includes all the contact information prospects and customers need. In fact, when it’s done properly, an email signature can be turned into an automated sales and marketing tool that generates sales leads too.
Email Prospecting Needs to Be to Actual Prospects!
The second reason some salespeople don’t receive replies to their marketing emails because that are simply not sending emails to qualified prospects! Let me explain.
Many salespeople use automated email systems that exist within their CRMs. They set up a series of emails, referred to as a cadence, that they send to prospects. They send you the first email and then the automation takes over from there. If the recipient clicks on a link, it is tracked and that is used as a measure of engagement for sales rep follow up and to open up the sales conversation.
When the sales rep sends email to a validated and qualified prospect, this method of lead generation works very well. I have helped set it up with a clients myself. We also offer the option in our Lead Generation Services. In some industries, when the sales person pre-qualifies the prospect with a telemarketing call first, or when they combine the cadence of emails with phone calls as follow up, the results are excellent.
The key is how to pre-qualify your prospects beforehand. The prospecting emails I receive where I am definitely not a prospect, I mark them as spam and just delete them.
Stop Playing Email Tag!
Does this sound like you? You’re trying to arrange a meeting or phone call with someone. You send them an email requesting a meeting, they agree. You send a date, but they get busy and don’t reply for a couple of days. By the time they reply, you have already scheduled something else on that date in the time that you had made available. So you start the process again. New day, new string of emails or texts and new events keep getting in the way.
Want to stop playing email and phone tag to arrange meetings? Then you should try this business email etiquette tip. Start using an online scheduler or calendar service. In fact, I think it is one of 5 must use apps for salespeople because it let’s prospects book their own appointments!
Common Sense Business Email Etiquette Tips for Job Searchers
It’s inevitable. If you are in the middle of a job search, sooner or later you will have to correspond with a recruiter using email. Here are four tips to improve your email communications and increase your chances of getting hired:
- Use a professional email address. firstname.lastname@example.org does not make a proper first impression.
- Create an automated signature for your emails that includes your return email address and your phone number. Don’t make the recruiter hunt for your contact information when he wants to contact you for an interview.
- Use a testimonial quote from a reference in your email signature. It’s a great way to make a recruiter think “Wow! I really want to interview this person!”
- Check your inbox daily and turn your spam filters off. Many job seekers have countless lost career opportunities because they never answered the email they received from the potential employer.
- Are you looking to make a career change? Remember if you improve your email, you increase your chances of getting the interview.
If you would like a template that will help you track your entire job search process, you can download the Job Search Tracking Worksheet for free from the B2B Sales Connections Download Centre.
If You Misuse Email and The Internet, You Could Fired!
The bottom line is that email as a business communication tool is as important now as it ever was, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. The key, though, is you have to use it properly for it to be effective.
Why are knowing some basic email etiquette tips for business important? Because if you don’t, it could cost you dearly. In fact, according to a study by the American Management Association, 28% of employers have fired workers for misusing e-mail. So when in doubt about whether sharing that joke or ripping into a collegue in an email is appropriate or not, just don’t hit the send button!
Remember, as George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
“… what I can tell anyone, is simply this – If you want to learn and understand sales, talk to Susan.”
Do you want to generate more leads, reduce the length of your selling cycle and close more sales? Then check out the on-demand training webinars from B2B Sales Connections! Everything a sales professional and their manager needs to know to achieve their sales potential… with new topics being added regularly.