A Practical Guide to Writing Business Email
On this site, "business email" is not a euphemism for spam. I'm talking about email communications between customers and established suppliers. And I'm not talking about some set of rules about how to write a "correct" business email. And its not about how to create an email that will close a sale. This is about how to write an email that I will be able to use. Its better that I don't have a specific recollection of your email than for me to remember that it was almost impossible to get the information I needed.
My customers can format their emails in any way they like.The customer is right. I am not going to complain about the way they format their emails. It is my job to decipher their communication.
Vendors on the other hand---Although I wish that my customers would follow many of the rules below it is criminal that most of my suppliers don't.
Your email is a reflection on you and on your company.You should not send anything out that you have not checked for grammar and spelling errors. Although I say below that I don't care if you use correct English, be sure that I do notice. It just isn't important enough for me to quibble over. I really just want to get the information I need and move on.
Grammar and Spelling.I don't care if you use the King's English. Just make it readable. Use sentences, started with capital letters and ended with some kind of punctuation. Stream of consciousness emails give me a headache. Perfect spelling isn't required either. But please don't use text message abbreviations. I'll notice if you use your instead of you're. But if you use UR I'll want to trash your email without ever reading it. I probably won't, but I'll want to.
Your company has a name. Use it!Put your company name in the subject line of every email you send. I save all of my non-spam email. Sometimes I request information in advance of when I really need it. I get a lot of business email. It is really annoying to have to search through several month's of email with subject lines like "Price list" or "Here's the info you requested". I have to open every one instead of just zeroing in on the two or three emails I've received from your company. In addition, put your company name in every the name of every attachment you send. It'll be a lot easier for me to find your price list if it is named companyname.pl.effecive20090304.xls than if it is named yourinternalnamingconvention.xls. I don't know your internal naming conventions, and I don't want to.
Date it.Put the date in the body of your emails. I know that the date is displayed in my email client. However, sometimes I print emails out to work from. Don't risk my being mad at you because I'm working from outdated information. I know its my responsibility. However it won't matter who's fault it is if I'm angry at you because I don't want to be angry at myself.
Use a sig file.A sig file is automatically attached to your email. Sig is short for signature. A sig file should contain your name, your title, your company's website address, and possibly your company's slogan. Make it easy for me to get to your site. Your email client will have an option to create a sig file.
There now. That wasn't so bad, was it? Please keep these things in mind the next time you send me a business email.