11 Things to Consider Before You Send the Next Email
This is a guest post by Amit Banerjee. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
Email is the primary mode of communication between Internet users. You use email to network with other bloggers, to grow your online business, to convert potential prospects into clients and so on. The micro blogging sites like Twitter, Facebook may have changed the way we share information but when it comes in communicating with web users, email is probably the simplest and universally accepted option.
Having said that, it’s obvious that you should pay attention to all those emails you send everyday. Here are a few tips for maintaining proper email etiquette:
1. Use a meaningful subject.
Just as a meaningful title makes a reader read a blog post, a meaningful subject of your email sets it apart from the crowd. A meaningful subject saves time as the recipient can grasp your idea quickly.
For example: If you want to post a guest article at Dailyblogtips and want to contact Daniel, use the subject line as “Guest article” rather than “Hello Daniel”.
Also read: 6 mistakes to avoid in Email subject lines
2. Skip the introductory paragraphs, jump directly to the point
When you are writing an email, keep the purpose in focus. Do not make the email longer by adding unnecessary introductions or links. The person whom you are writing the email may have dozens of emails to read and if you make the email long and boring, he will rather skip reading it.
Thus, avoid the boring intros and jump directly to your point. It saves time at both ends.
3. Use saved templates for answering commonly asked questions
If you get frequent emails where readers ask you the same questions, spend some time writing a template and save it in your drafts folder. Whenever you get a similar message to which you have replied before, just paste the template into the email message.
4. Add a human touch. Make it personal
I just said using templates to answer commonly asked questions. But do not overkill by making everything automated. There are some emails that will need your personal attention. So spend some time on them and try to provide some value. Not only you will get respect from the receiver, it also adds an impression that you care about your prospects.
5. Never write in capital case
WRITING AN EMAIL IN CAPITAL CASE makes it difficult to read and the receiver will get annoyed for sure. Hence, do not write an email in capital letters or else your message might end up in the trash folder.
6. Stick to the proper message thread
Including the earlier conversations in your reply is a good habit. The receiver might not remember the subject and the progress of each and every conversation. Hence an email without a thread will surely frustrate the receiver and he will have to spend some time searching for earlier threads of the conversation.
Gmail automatically includes the threads in your “reply” messages. Whenever you are replying to an email conversation always click “reply” instead of composing a new email message.
7. Read the email before you send it
Before you hit the send button, read what you have just typed. There may be spelling and grammatical mistakes which might have slipped through. Try to read the email from the receivers angle and see if it delivers the same meaning which you are trying to convey.
8. Don’t use abbreviations, slang and emoticons
Business emails should be formal as they reflect the posture of your organization or company. If you lower the weight of your business email by adding lots of abbreviations and smilies (e.g., LOL and 🙂 ), chances are there that your clients won’t take you seriously.
9. Be careful with formatting
Do not try to decorate your email message with lots of colors and formatted stuff. If you unnecessarily highlight text, the email can appear to be spammy. As a general rule, use black color on a white background.
11. Use short and simple sentences
Email’s should be simple to read and should convey the meaning as quick as possible. Never think that if your writing is Shakespearean, the recipient will take interest in reading it. Keep the sentences short and simple and never write an email when you are angry – it reflects.
Do you take care of all of the above mentioned emailing habits ? Let us know through the comments section.
Amit Banerjee is a computer geek who blogs about software’s, How-to’s and web tools at Ampercent.
29 Responses to “11 Things to Consider Before You Send the Next Email”
The first two points are the most important ones. Good subject lines make a big difference in the receiver opening a mail or not. Also as you said, jumping to the point is necessary instead of introductions. People rarely have so much spare time to go through an article in emails.
Good Job Amit
A great checklist for every internet marketer to follow. There is just one thing missing – verify all your links.
To address the comment from @Debojyoti on “rarely having time” – customers (our audience) deserve quality.
Time is valuable. A few minutes up front saves future time. Yours and theirs. Imagine if airlines decided not to take time in de-icing a plane! What would the consequences be? No different (except for the life threatening part) because you are showing value and care to your customer. Something that will pay for itself in spades in the future.
Great post Amit. Using meaningful subject line, going straight to the point and keeping it simple increases the chances of getting a reply from someone who gets a lot of mail.
I completely agree, Amit! Silly, non-descript subject lines are one of my biggest pet peeves. When someone uses a single word like “hey” or worse, no subject at all, it’s a missed opportunity to get their point across so I know what to expect inside.
I agree with a lot of this, but a lot of people still don’t follow these simple rules. I still get all capitals e-mails, and they get deleted. And I get people who put nothing in the subject line and expect me to notice it. And since most e-mail I get is for tech support on a side project I run, what bugs me most is when people send an e-mail along the lines of “such and such doesn’t work, why? How can I make this work” without providing any real details.
Zuri @ addisports.com
While a lot of this is common knowledge, I think the last tip is the best. It’s also the hardest to accomplish — especially if you’re angry. An instructor used to tell me, “clear, correct and concise.” Those three things apply to all forms of writing.
Lovely and very thought provoking points Amit.
As an addition to point 5. Using block/capital letters in emails is synonymous to shouting and it is improper netiquette.
It’s amazing how you do not get the full gist when you read an email once so reading it twice makes more sense.
Of course if the email is not to your subscriber list, you can be as informal as much as you want but it might be suicidal to get your hard earned subscribers to begin to perceive you as unserious if you are slack in your choice of words in the emails you send to them.
@Debojyoti, Satish and Segedoo: Thanks for the praise guys.
@Stephen: Very true. All the links should be checked before sending the email.
@Zuri: Good point you made. The emails should be “clear” at least.
Great points! I’ll apply them to all my writings from here on. Number 2 is what bothers me the most, especially in stories and articles, many times I simply get tired of reading all about the author and lengthy introduction before the main point. You have to read a page of gibberish before the main subject is mentioned.
Many times, I wish they put the main point first, then, the introductory part if the reader cares to read it.
I personally agree most with the last one. Not because I don’t feel the others are not important but because if you shorten up your sentences and get to the point quickly, everything just runs much smoother in my opinion.
Short, sweet, and to the point.
I like it. 🙂
Great reminders. My personal favorites are 3, 4, and 7. Templates save me so much time, not just in typing but figuring out what to say, especially when it’s an answer already listed on my website somewhere. It’s better to have a prewritten note that’s nice and neutral that I can just copy and send.
Lately I’ve been trying to personalize email as well. Email usually means a contact. AKA networking. You never know who will be in a position to help you down the road. I try to look at my correspondence and ask how I would feel if that note popped into my inbox.
And rereading is so important. I read typo no problem. But in a professional environment… polish can’t hurt.
Dana @ Blogging Update
Great tips. Them are really worthy to keep in mind right before send the email indeed.
I often make the mistake of writing a long introductory at the beginning of my email. It doesn’t feel right to just jump into the point, at least for me personally. Though I’m trying my best to do just that since long winded e-mails is just as bad, if not worse.
Thank you for your contribution: you have added value.
It is important to refer to a person by name. We forget that at times.
Write to communicate, not to impress. Don’t be pretentious.
These are some of the useful tips. It helps to write clearly too.
In addition, humanize and personalize: avoid sending chains to a lot of people at once like mass mailings. Send to the individual.
Thanks for this opportunity to learn from an expert like yourself.
Another particularly annoying thing some people do, is add fancy and totally irrelevant background stationery to their business email messages. I feel that this should rather be reserved for their personal email messages.
Great reminders about e-mails. One thing missing, though — #10. What is #10? (Grin — Maybe, Don’t promise more than you deliver? — Grin)
Blake @ probs blog reviews
I agree with almost everything on your list. All of these are great points, and even number 8 is usually true.
I think 8 might be too specific to formal business emails. I do a lot of promotion marketing and bartending where you have to convey personality via minimal interaction.
In a lot of cases step 8 is dead on, but it is important to consider who your audience is. Either way overusing anything is bad.
Overall great list
I like it, especially when emotions can make me write culminated with a Capital case. But sometimes I often regret it ….
@ Bob Allen. Exactly my point earlier on. Somehow my comment was deleted.. Censored, may even be more correct.
I am curious about the missing #10 but my comment about promising more…. was purely tongue-in-cheek.
Point number 8 and number 11 are a little bit in contradiction, but if all the readers are reading very carefull will understand everything … nice post !
Web Marketing Tips
Although every point showing experience of Amit but I like this one …
Read the email before you send it
Free Money Income
Most people neglect the number 1 which is putting a meaningful subject. Worst thing is some of them even forget to put a subject.lol
Thanks Amit, for the excellent tips.
I believe good subject lines are extremely important because wrong word usage might result in the email being tagged as ‘spam’ and not read at all.
On using abbreviations, slang and emoticons, I’d like to add the we should also use an email address that clearly states our name, not the fancy, quirky and unprofessional email addresses that some businesses come up with.
I wrote directly to Amit to ask about the missing #10. Here’s his response: I left that #10 for the readers to fill in. Thanks for your question.
“5. Never write in capital case”
This annoys me for sure. I will delete the mail straight away.
“7. Read the email before you send it”
It really looks bad if you have to resend the same email after finding some critical error.
@Blake: Absolutely. These aren’t rules and depends on whom you are dealing with. I agree with your point.
@Bob : So what do you think about it ? What’s your tip ?
My #10: If you change the topic of an e-mail, change the subject. It’s pretty annoying to open an e-mail thinking that it concerns an ongoing conversation and to find that someone has gone off on another related topic.
These are great tips for preparing to send out an email with a punch. As I am involved in a lot of e-marketing campaigns, I would also like to add – Timing of delivery.
Think ahead of when the people may be sitting at their desks or in front of their computers. Consider time zones, when they are at their busiest.
Consider yourself: You arrive in the office at 9am. You have received 20 emails over night. Browse over the ones your consider important, and like most people will now highlight the ones your consider SPAM and press delete. Do you really want your message hidden in the middle of the emails people have received overnight?
So, when is the best time? Well, consider when people are settling into their daily routine and feel like they have a couple minutes to read some news and when looking over an email which just came in is not too much of a task. A general rule is around 9:30am to 11am or just after people come back from lunch. Dispatching before people are about to leave the office…well, reconsider that one.
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