Business Email: Best Practices For Work

business email

If you are a professional, you cannot function without writing business email. 

From connecting with your clients and customers to ensuring swift business communication within the team, emails serve as a reliable medium. 

And contrary to popular belief, emails haven’t lost their shine when it comes to marketing either. 

If you look at the statistics, email marketing still appears as the most effective marketing channel, ahead of other popular mediums like social media, SEO, and content marketing.

According to HubSpot’s 2020 Email Marketing Report, 78% of marketers have witnessed an increase in email engagement over the last year. 

Email also helps you communicate with different stakeholders in a secure and organized manner.

That said, merely writing and sending emails just the way you want isn’t enough. There are best practices you can follow to boost your positive results. 

Business Email Marketing & Customer Connections

Email marketing is much more than just designing and sending weekly newsletters related to your business’ offers and promotions. Consider it a medium to build relationships with customers and encourage customer loyalty by educating and engaging them continuously through quality content. 

For instance, if you fail to follow up with a potential customer who recently browsed your products, you may lose him to a competitor. On the other hand, if you do follow up by sending an engaging email (with a discount deal thrown in), you might end up retaining a customer.  

When sending an email to a customer, you need to make sure that the email is accurate and easily readable. For that, you must follow a few sets of guidelines to make your email communication flawless and pleasing for the recipient.

Here are the best practices you should follow while writing business emails or creating email marketing campaigns:

Best Practices for Business Email

1. Use Standard Formatting and Fonts

It’s always a good idea to play it safe when you are engaged in business correspondence. Keep your fonts, colors, and sizes classic to make sure they look familiar and easy on the eyes. 

For instance, use standard fonts like Calibri, Arial, or Times New Roman in 10 to 12 font size. Always keep the color of fonts black.

While using bold or italic, keep in mind not to use it on more than a word. 

In case you are copying and pasting the content, make sure to fix the formatting of the text to match it with your email formatting. You can use “Command + \” on Mac and “Ctrl+Shift+N” on a Windows computer to format everything correctly.

2. Use Clear Subject Line

Trust me when I say you wouldn’t want to get your subject line wrong. Your subject line is a significant deciding factor whether the receiver opens your email or not. 

According to a Salesforce report, 33% of email recipients open emails based on the subject line alone. 

Thus, your email’s subject line should always reflect its content, so the recipient knows what’s inside the mail. At the same time, make sure that your subject line is brief and punchy. 

For example, if you are writing an email regarding a venue change, then your subject line could be something like: “Venue changed to the common hall.” 

Or if you are following up on an appointment, then you may write: “Gentle reminder for tomorrow’s meeting.”

Now when the recipients receive these emails, they’ll know with one glance the purpose of the email and be more compelled to take action and open it right away. 

3. Use A Professional Greeting

The greeting you use at the beginning of the email depends on your relationship with the recipient. 

So, if you’re sending emails for lead generation purposes or any other business goal,  it’s always better to keep it professional. 

While a casual “Hello” is okay with your colleague, but when you are connecting with a person for the first time, a more formal salutation like “Dear” or “Mr” will be more appropriate. 

Here are some best greetings to begin your email: 

  • Hi [Full name],
  • Dear [Full name],
  • Greetings,
  • Hi everyone, 

Moreover, make sure to use the full name like “Mr. John/Dear John” if you don’t know whether they use their nickname or not.

This means you shouldn’t assume that Thomas goes by Tom or Jennifer goes by Jenny.

4. Begin by Introducing Yourself 

If you email an unknown person for the first time, then don’t make the mistake of forgetting to introduce yourself. 

Mention your full name, profession, and designation in the first few lines. More importantly, tell them how you got their contact information.

Here is a great example: 

“My name is Roger Reeves, and I work with Black Rock Agency. John Tessler gave me your email and name and suggested that I reach out to you regarding your marketing and advertising services.”

5. Check Attachments 

Try to copy and paste as much information in your email as possible. However, it is impossible to go without attachments, especially when long documents, videos, audio, and other multimedia are required. 

If you are attaching a file in the attachment, then the best practice is to let the recipient know about the attached file in the email body. It is also advisable to zip or compress large attachments to ensure they do not eat up a lot of space.

Plus, when you attach long video files, large PPTs, or RAW images, it is better to send them in a compressed format. If the files are too big – more than 20 MB – then it is better to upload the files on a cloud drive and send a link to the recipient’s drive folder. They can access and download the files from that link as per their convenience.

This practice avoids miscommunication, and you can rest assured that everything gets across to the recipient. 

6. Avoid Emojis & Casual Language 

While emojis and conversational language work splendidly in some media pitches and email marketing campaigns, they’re still not appropriate for business emails. 

For one, they can reflect poorly on your professionalism, and emojis might even get misinterpreted by the recipient. Be extra careful when you are using humor, as it can also be taken negatively.

I mean, who knows what the recipient makes of that ‘tongue-in-cheek’ emoji you want to send? 

So, it’s better to avoid such things in the first place, no matter how good your intentions are. 

If you are tempted, use emojis and casual language only if the recipient has also used emojis in their previous emails. Otherwise, it’s better to stay formal in your email at the workplace.

7. Use BCC Wisely 

BCC stands for blind carbon copy. While it’s somewhat similar to CC, the only difference is that the BCC field recipients will not be visible to the recipients in the To or CC field and header. Thus, you can use BCC to protect the email address of others in the mail chain. 

For instance, if you are emailing multiple contractors about a change in the contract, you might want to put everyone on the BCC list. 

If you are sending the same email to multiple clients or sending a survey to all the employees, you can keep them in BCC to keep their email address confidential. 

Here’s an example: 

However, use it only when it is required because it can also be construed as deceitful.

8. Keep Business Email Concise 

Let’s face it, lengthy emails are boring and, sometimes, outright frustrating.  It becomes more irritating when you realize that the same thing could have been conveyed in fewer sentences. Hence, always try to write short and crisp emails.

And if you think writing a lengthy paragraph is unavoidable, try using bullet points to convey all the information. Bullet points are considerably more comfortable to read and understand than blobs of text written altogether. 

Take this email, for instance

Also, avoid fluff and filler words like “Just like that” and “Looking forward to your reply.”  These words hardly convey anything. Try using the shortest versions of phrases. 

You can also leverage famous work tools like Hemingway and Grammarly to keep your emails to the point.

9. Avoid Repetitions 

We often end up repeating words in a sentence or paragraph. And it might irritate the recipient if you do it throughout the email. Thus, double-check your email before sending to avoid repeating common words like only, like, always, also, order, even, just, take, and more.

After you write an email, try reading it aloud before hitting the send button. You can also use the text to speech feature on your smartphone to catch overused or repeated words. 

Additionally, you can use Grammarly to refine your content and catch repeat words in a sentence or paragraph.

(Image Source)

10. Proofread Your Business Email

There’s nothing more embarrassing than sending an email ridden with grammatical mistakes. It undermines your professionalism and might even dissuade a potential client from sealing the final deal. 

A typo isn’t any less damaging than a grammatical error. Typos in regular emails and email newsletters not only appear unprofessional but might also get flagged as spam by spam filters. 

Thus, make sure to proofread your emails carefully before hitting the send button. Make sure to give it a manual glance as well as use reliable grammatical tools. 

Write Your Best Business Email

Email is one of the most effective means of communication, even ahead of social media and live chat. It’s instrumental in business settings since emails encourage professionalism and are an integral part of the corporate environment. 

However, you still have to follow certain practices while sending business emails to get it right. Keeping these small nuances in your mind can help you write flawless, to the point, and impactful emails. 

About the Author

Mark Quadros is a SaaS content marketer that helps brands create and distribute rad content.  On a similar note, Mark loves content and contributes to several authoritative blogs like HubSpot, CoSchedule, Foundr, etc. Connect with him via LinkedIn or Twitter