For business email etiquette, let’s start off with the basics. Regardless of whether you’re sending an email, old-fashioned letter writing or even a text, professionals all communicate with a certain degree of formality in language. Respond with courtesy, pleasantries and directness and you’ll be on your way to a beneficial business relationship.
A good subject line will almost guarantee your contact will open your email immediately. In a competition for eyeballs, the clearer your subject line, the better. Write your subject field in a clear, concise manner. Never use all caps or all lower-case as this not only looks unprofessional, but will most likely get you flagged as spam.
Below are some examples of short but specific subject lines:
Introducing John Smith to your Agency
Following up from XYZ Conference
Nice to meet you at the XYZ Forum last week
Reminder: Business Dinner Hyatt Hotel this Tuesday
Your experience with Zone Hotels, share with us!
Attn: Mr. Smith: Follow up from our meeting last week
As requested, contract XYZ information enclosed
The golden rule is to keep it short and sweet. Using a friendly tone of voice, keep to the subject matter in your headline and don’t ramble off-topic. If there are main points to get across, feel free to use bullet points, or a numbered list.
Think about being the recipient of your email and how that person’s day is most likely as busy as yours. Ask yourself how this message will be the most productive for all parties involved.
Create a standard for yourself to follow in most cases. Include a pleasant greeting, the reason for your message, a request or call to action, and a practical closer. You’ll find this formula can be adapted for many instances across professional communications.
Set your email to auto-respond with your signature at the bottom of each message. This presents a consistent, professional image across all communications. Include your full name, job title, business and methods of communication. You should list not only your email, but your website and phone number. Make it easy for your contacts to stay in touch and if applicable follow you on Social Media. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can all be included if these accounts feature your business (not personal).
We can’t stress this enough: Do not send large files without asking first. If you have a large file to send, ask in a preliminary message to see if the recipient’s email server can handle the incoming message. If not, ask them if there is a preferred method, whether its Dropbox, WeTransfer or any other separate file-sharing delivery service.
If you must send attachments in your email, keep it to a maximum of three.