How To Write Better Business Emails
Much of what I do at Ghost Blog Writers involves email. That’s just about where all the communication takes place. Some occurs on the phone and Skype. And some is in Chat, but mostly it’s all emails.
I communicate with clients, inquiries, writers, potential writers, partners and more. It’s pretty much been the way things have operated from the beginning.
And even in my last full-time job I used email a lot. And that was in an office. I was bad at going down the hall to talk to others or even calling them up. But I found that I liked to have a schedule set and not have that interrupted. And I figured others might want the same. So I used email.
And I think I’ve gotten pretty good at it over the years. I’m not perfect. I’m always looking for ways to improve. I’ve definitely learned through trial and error.
Here are some of the things I’ve learned about business email I feel you can use to get better results with your email communication.
It might be landing more clients, landing those clients faster, eliminating communication-related mistakes and more.
Here are those tips.
1. Shorter Is Better
I had a tendency in the past to write novels in emails. And I still find myself doing it today. I have to remind myself to not write so much these days because I know that people see huge emails and get turned off. I’m sure I’ve lost some potential clients because of it.
And it’s really easy for information to get lost in long emails.
I’ve found that 3 emails can be better than one long one. Ask one question now. Get a reply. Then ask your next question. Do that instead of asking all questions in one email.
I’ve also tried to answer more common questions on the GBW website so when a new person inquires that we don’t have to go over as much in email.
Short sentences and more paragraphs also seem to work well to help make the information in an email easier to understand.
2. Break Content Up
And if you do have to write a longer email it’s good to break it up. And I have a few tricks for doing that.
One way that’s common that a lot of people do is when you’re answering questions. You copy the questions and then provide you answers in a different font. That works well and keeps things separated and easy to comprehend.
I also use headings in emails like I do in blog posts. I bold the headings. So if I change topics slightly I’ll add a new heading.
And I also use little dashes like this “–“.
It seems to break up content.
And signify that you’re changing subjects slightly.
3. Short And Descriptive Subject Lines
You always read about subject lines in email marketing, but they’re just as important in business communication. There is a tendency to use short and even one-word subject lines that are very vague in business email.
Or I’ve seen it the other way where some people will put a whole question in the subject line and then simply put a question mark in the body of the email.
I like short, descriptive subject lines. You want to let the person know what the message is about and why it’s important to them.
For example, when we get a new client that wants a first post I reach out to a writer I feel will be a good fit. I’ll use this subject line:
New Client: XYZ Company
It’s short, but describes to the writer what the email is about.
4. Identify Yourself Earlier
This is one that many people do, but I didn’t always do it and it works well.
If you get an email from someone new like a contact form submission or something like that I like to identify myself early in the email; usually in the first line.
Thanks for reaching out. My name is Dayne…
This way the person knows who they’re dealing with without having to read the entire message to get to the signature.
5. Respond Within 1-2 Business Days
This seems to be pretty standard throughout the business world. It’s what I try to do at GBW. And even with new inquiries I kind of wait about a business day instead of responding right away.
There are certainly positives to responding right away, but I’ve found that doing that can lead to the wrong expectations.
I’ve killed myself in the past trying to always keep my email open at all times while responding immediately when something comes up. I’ve found that those types of expectations are mostly put on by one’s self.
You can respond within a day and most people will be happy.
6. End With Clear Next Steps
Nothing is worse than having an email out there hanging in the interwebs.
Always end your emails with a clear next step whether that’s for you or the other person. End with a question. End with a something you need from the person.
Or end with what you’re going to do next and when you’re going to deliver. This way you and the other person (or persons) know what to expect and from who to expect it.
I still have a few emails go without replies out there and I always look at what I could have done better to get a response.
But that also leads to the last tip.
Don’t be afraid to follow-up on an email. Sometimes a person is just too busy when they first read the email and it can get lost. Or maybe they’re still thinking about what you wrote and needed more time than you thought.
Depending on what the email is about I’ll follow-up the next day or maybe a few days later. I’ll keep the follow-up short and restate what I was expecting as a response even if that’s just an acknowledgement that they received the email.
And this works the other way to. Always try to follow-up with some kind of response within a day or so like was mentioned above. You don’t want to leave the person hanging even if you’re working on what they asked you to do.
Hopefully these tips can be helpful. I’m sure you have your own little tricks for making business email work for you, but over the years these have worked the best. And I’m probably missing a few so maybe I’ll have to write a follow-up post on the subject. It’s one I know affects a lot of us out there in the business world.