How you communicate with your customers and other contacts impacts how those same entities view your company. Effective email correspondence can benefit you and your business in numerous ways. It can help you raise your sales quotas, improve your chances of gaining partnerships, and solidify your business’ reputation in your field. On the flip side, if you or your representatives’ email writing skills are not up to par, you can lose out on important opportunities. Check out the following style tips to help you improve your professional email writing skills.
Professional Email Subject Lines
Consider how you evaluate your own inbox. Through years of experience, you instinctively know how to identify which emails are essential to your business, compared to those that are likely spam or other nonsense. Many people don’t realize that composing a concise email subject line is paramount for getting in the doorway. It functions much like a newspaper headline begging that you read the article. Likewise, without a meaty subject line, your email may get deleted before it’s even consumed. Busy people don’t have time to wade through unsolicited offers and other potential timewasters. Therefore, if you don’t highlight the point of your correspondence right in the subject, you may get tossed in the trash before you can tell them why you showed up in the first place. For this reason, your professional email should always state a compelling purpose for your correspondence directly in the subject line.
You must also keep in mind that email subject lines only display a maximum of around 30 characters on mobile apps, while the desktop limit averages approximately 60 characters. This means you don’t have a whole lot of space to work with and have to be economical with your words. You never know what device your recipient is using and you don’t want to make any assumptions about how much they can see. As the cliché goes, keep it short and sweet.
Paying attention to the structure of an email will help ensure it gets read. Don’t forget to begin with an appropriate salutation, such as Dear [name], or with a simple hello, depending on your familiarity with the recipient. However, even if you know this person, always remember to remain appropriately businesslike. You never know what kind of morning the person on the other end is having. Additionally, being overly familiar could create unintended hostility. Next, expand upon what you put in the subject line before going a little deeper into details. Feel free to start off writing your email, even if you don’t know exactly how you’re going to say what you need to convey. Just make sure you go back and check for clarity before you send it. If you don’t spend some time editing your thoughts, chances are it will not be a well-written professional email.
No one wants to delve into a long email. Even if they think they should read it, many people just don’t have the time for a hefty missive. If you’ve managed to jump the first hurdle by creating a subject line compelling enough for your audience to pursue further, you don’t want to make them regret it with a novel of an email. Try to keep your professional emails to one or two short paragraphs. If you need to say much more than that, state your purpose and ask to schedule a meeting.
Great business emails are short and immediately get to the point. Aim for around 150 words. Make them longer if you’re confident your reader will devour the whole thing. And if it is longer than usual, run it by an associate before sending it out. Having another set of eyes can be enlightening.
Style and Tone
Email writing requires the appropriate use of style and tone of voice. While even professional emails can sometimes seem almost conversational in tone, your intent and position of authority can be misinterpreted. If you’re not careful with your phrasing, you might communicate a message you never intended. If you need a little help, you can install the Grammarly plug-in, which will check your emails automatically and provide valuable advice about writing from a confident point of view.
Courtesy is essential in email writing. Professional emails to total strangers are often dry and impersonal. Since you cannot charm your reader with your smile and body language you should make an effort to be polite. Purposefully adding respectful and considerate elements to your email can be very helpful in getting a desired response. Finding ways to inject some warmth into your correspondence is also recommended.
Spelling errors and typos are not acceptable in business writing, so you should proofread and scan for corrections at least twice. This is a time-consuming, yet important task. Never skip over it. The more you read and write in your everyday life, the better your grammar is. However, we are only humans after all, and we make mistakes. If you find it difficult to notice your own errors, utilize an app and try to have someone look over your most important correspondence. Email writing skills are important for your career. That’s why you should try your best to enhance them. Good luck and happy writing!
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