Writing emails for your clients and business partners is a world apart from emailing your friends. Unprofessional emails can potentially damage your relationships and leave you fighting to recover. Of course, you could avoid all of that by following these nine tips for writing professional emails.
1. Explain What You Want in the Subject Line
Write the action you desire of the recipient in the subject line. For instance, you could write ‘September Invoice – Kevin Smith’ if you are billing a client. Clear subject lines will let them understand the email and its urgency from the outset.
2. Maintain Your Formatting
Go into the settings of your email client and choose clear formatting options for your messages. Decide on a font and size and stick to those. The recipient might be wary of who is emailing them if the formatting changes erratically from message to message.
3. Figure Out Your Greetings
For a person you don’t know, it is best to start your email with ‘Dear Name’. Using ‘Hi’ is something you should reserve for when you know the recipient and are attempting to build a relationship. Email a company and you can begin with ‘To whom it may concern’.
4. Forget About Being Negative
Being blatantly negative in an email is the quickest way to torch a relationship. You are not in that person’s presence and you cannot justify your negativity or apologize if things go wrong. Additionally, you might be emailing someone who is already incorrectly interpreting your words as sarcasm. Don’t give them whatever excuse they are searching for to ignore you.
5. Write Your Email Concisely
Noting down a couple of bullet points can help you understand what you wish to communicate. At this point, you will be ready to write a more concise email that is not overloaded with information. Try to explain what you need in the first paragraph. You don’t want to risk the recipient ignoring your request.
6. Text-Speak is Never a Good Idea
A guaranteed way to look unprofessional is to use the likes of LOL or LMAO in your emails. You have a personal email account and all manner of social media platforms that are ideal for sending vacuous abbreviations. Save them for where they were intended.
7. Don’t Be Afraid of Bullet Points
You don’t have to write your emails entirely in paragraphs. When you need to convey clear information, it is a good idea to present it as bullet points. Not only will you save time writing the email, but also you will avoid confusion.
8. Definitely Create a Signature
Outlook, Apple Mail, Thunderbird… There is no shortage of email clients willing to let you create signatures that can be attached to the end of your emails. Go to settings and look for the signature option to get started.
Add your signoff (e.g. kind regards), name, position, company, telephone number, email address, and whatever else is important to you. Avoid adding an image as this can trigger spam filters. A pro tip is to add the same signature to the mobile client on your smartphone and tablet.
9. Check Everything before Clicking Send
You cannot be lazy here. Read your emails twice before sending them. There’s no telling if you might end up missing out on a lucrative deal or receive the wrong payment when sending an invoice. Also check your recipients, subject line, and attachments.