For professionals, it takes more than 28% time on average to email. Well, in the name of productivity. You might often overlook the etiquette of writing emails to your clients and customers.
However, there are a set of rules that you must follow, as it’s not just to impress your recipient but to have many chances of getting results in your favor.
To know about email etiquette, here are the rules you should know as a professional.
Essential Email Etiquette Rules to Know and Practice :
Write A Clear And Short Subject Line
Since everyone is constantly buried in their inboxes, when you are adding the subject line, which is creative but clear and short, it surely does have an impact on whether the recipient will open your email or not.
To adhere to the etiquette for email, it’s important that you keep the email subject line clear and short so it can tell about the content using a couple of words or sentences.
Use the identifiers such as application or proposal; this tells the recipient what they can expect from the email.
Never send the email with a subject line; it’s a clear violation of email etiquette; it also guarantees that the recipient will not click on the email, as it seems suspicious.
Also, to make sure that your subject line is on point, here is what you need to know:
- Recipient: Know about who you are emailing; it can be CRO or a sales rep.
- Connection: Think of what can grab the attention of your receiver.
- Credibility: Spamming is not helpful, and that’s why you need to be honest, so if it’s not a follow-up email, then don’t act like that.
Start With A Professional Greeting
However, it depends on the relationship you have with the recipient; you can choose the way of greeting according to that.
The most appreciated way is to start your email with a professional greeting. It can vary from formal to casual; however, don’t be informal with the greeting.
Some of the ways you can consider are using :
- Hi ( first name )
- Hello ( First name)
- Dear Mr/ Ms/ Mrs (Last name)
As for the informal greeting, don’t start it with Yo or Heya, or simply use the name of your recipient.
Remember To Introduce Yourself
One of the basic email etiquette that you need to remember is never assuming the recipient will remember who you are.
Especially if you are in touch with them, then you need to start with a brief introduction; keep it short, it can be two covering relevant information as it can work too.
If you know you’re recent but are not sure if they remember your name, it’s best to mention when last time you talked or find a way to remind them how you both know each other.
Keep Your Email Short
As stats say, there are more than 100 emails in a day that an average office worker receives. And there is no time to read all of them, especially when they are lengthy.
The worst thing you can do is to write a lengthy message, due to which your recipient has to skim through the whole email in order to find out what your email is about.
This is why you need to be upfront about what the purpose of your email is about it needs to start with a message right away, so they don’t need to wait.
Make your points fast, don’t be too worried, and keep the sentences that you can use for reading well.
Refrain From Hilarious Punchline
It’s difficult to understand the exact emotions when it’s written, especially sarcasm and humor.
The reader can interpret something completely opposite of what it actually means.
Unless you have the right connection, it can be a good way, but if not, then it’s better to stay away from using jokes and humor in a professional email.
Your Tone Should Be Professional
You still don’t know much about prospects after doing a discovery call, so it’s best to keep the subject line much more descriptive and formal.
When you are doing it, make sure the message is strictly professional and focuses on the message.
When you are using the tone, make sure you are focusing on the word that you are using and how you are emailing.
Such as :
Avoid Using Sarcastic Comments
Written emails are not a good way of showing sarcasm. Also, the recipient might don’t understand and take it the wrong way.
So make sure you are not using sarcasm.
Frame Email Positively
When you are writing an email, make sure you are using positive words such as improvement and benefit instead of focusing on negative ones such as failure and mistakes.
Avoid Using Vague Subject Lines
The subject line of your email should tell prospects what your mail is about and what they can expect once they click on the email. Also, the greeting should not be too casual; it’s important that you do the personalization and add the information needed.
It’s important to keep your subject lines straight to the point, don’t use vague words to describe the subject.
Use Proper Punctuation For Email
Punctuation is subtle when you are using it in the correct way; however, make sure you are not making your recipient crinkle. In order to avoid that, here are some of the rules that you need to memorize and follow them.
It includes :
Each one of your emails should end with a terminal punctuation mark, be it a period, question mark, or exclamation mark.
If you are skipping the use of terminal punctuation, it makes the sentences sound like they are incomplete and your thoughts are not clear.
For example :
I talked to Jenna, and she sent her approval on the agreement
Instead of writing this, you need to add the terminal punctuation, so the correct way is :
I talked to Jenna, and she sent approval on the agreement.
When you are using question marks, make sure you are using them sparingly. So if you are using too many question marks, this will make the question more like an interrogation. Such as :
What’s your update? Have you talked to Jenna? Are you free for the meeting tomorrow?
One of the most common yet blooper is adding commas where they shouldn’t be. When you are writing an email, make sure you understand the use of commas ().
Some rules that need to understand are :
Use a comma before the coordinating conjunction i.s. And, but, for, so, or, yet. This connects two independent clauses. Such as :
Jenna worked with similar clients last month, and their open rates increased by around 20% within a month.
The second rule is to use after the dependent clause at the beginning of a sentence. Such as
After improving the subject lines, their open rate increased dramatically.
Use a comma for separating items in the list. It includes :
I can focus on email length, content, and readability.
A semicolon (;) is for connecting two unique sentences which are related. However, it cannot act as a comma.
For example :
Jenna can call you tomorrow; she can give her an answer then.
Instead of this, it should be like :
Jemma can call you tomorrow; she can give her an answer then.
The next one is Salutation punctuation; well, there are different ways that you can consider. It’s the first line of email where you use the name of the recipient to address them.
If you are writing a formal email, then you need to use a colon.
For example, Dear Ms.Walker:
If you are writing a relatively casual email, then you need to use a comma.
For example, Dear Jenna,
And if you know the person and are on close terms with them, you can use a dash.
For example, Hi Jenna –
One of the crucial aspects is to understand where to use the exclamation mark in an email. It’s important to use it sparingly, like question marks.
If you are going overboard with the use, this makes the sentences way too hyper and overexcited.
For example: Thank you for having a productive conversation yesterday! Good news, I talked to Jenna, and we are good to go! I can’t wait to work together!
Well, using exclamation marks is not considered professional, So it’s best to use them when it’s really needed, for example, when you are sending a message to friends.
Practice To Keep Grammer Good
Making grammatical errors is bound to happen but occasionally can be excused. However, if you are doing it more, not just it ends up changing the meaning of sense but also annoys the recipient.
Where no one really cares about following every single rule, clear basic mix-ups can be easy to catch, and also you need to know the difference.
So here are some of the words you need to know about for what they are used and how they are different such as :
- Its/ it’s
- There/ they’re / their
Resist Using Emojis
Emojis are in trend; people use them while they text their close friends. And the urge to add a smiley emoji at the end of a sentence, which potentially makes a joke using laughing emoji, is tempting.
But if your recipient hasn’t used one, then it’s best not to use it too.
According to the research, including emojis in work emails have a bad impact on your reputation. The use of an emoji, it makes you look less competent and has no effect on the friendly image.
Choose Email Salutation Carefully
It’s not just important to use the right punctuation in the solution when you are writing an email.
You also need to pick the right and suitable greeting. Well, it can be formal or informal, depending on the email and the relationship you have with the recipient.
However, the casual salutation is appropriate most of the time. With this, you can make a friend. Communicate and have an easygoing tone.
Casual email greetings can include :
- Name of the recipient
- Hey/ hi there
- Good morning or afternoon
If you are reaching out for the first time, or they are working from an industry that is conservation, then skew the more formal.
It includes the greeting such as :
- Dear ( use the first name)
- Dear Mr/Ms ( add their last name)
Find Right Way To Sign Off
The right of sign-off complement with tone as well as the content of the email. Since it’s the last thing on the email that your recipient will read, this influences the last impression they have.
If you are keeping the tone lighthearted, make sure you are using the warm sign-off.
Here are some of the informal signs offs, including :
- Thanks again
- Talk soon
- Happy ( add the day of the week)
- Talk to you ( add tomorrow, Wednesday, or when they get back)
- Looking forward to working together
- Enjoy the weekend
- Excited to hear the thoughts
But if you are tone is reserved, then you can sign off with a formal sign-off, including :
- Thank you
- Have a wonderful ( day or weekend)
- Thank you for the time
Check The Name Of Your Recipient
One of the rules is to check the recipient name, check it triple time, and see if the name is spelled. It just takes two seconds; you can simply see the Linkedin profile and compare the headline to the name you are using it.
Also, don’t shorten the name unless they signed the email accordingly. So don’t assume Micheal becomes Mike on your own.
Use The Sentence Case In Email
When you are texting, there are chances you don’t capitalize a bit when you are writing a professional email; it must be that you use the sentence case.
Capitalizing the first letter of the words and in sentences as well as proper nouns.
For example, Pets are welcome at HubSpot.
Find The Tone Of Your Email
It’s important to stick with the right tone in your emails; it’s difficult to do, but one of the rules which you need to start with.
According to research, people overestimate how often they would correctly identify if the tone is serious or not or if it’s sarcastic.
While you believe that the recipient will get it right at 80%, in reality, it’s around 56%.
It’s important that you are using the right tone so your readers don’t have to work hard on interpreting it.
Use Only Standard Formatting And Fonts
Using wacky fonts, fun colors, as well as offbeat formatting not just makes your recipient’s eye hurt but can make it look less professional.
That’s why you need to use the standard font, never use a color besides black, and stick to the standard font size. It’s best to avoid bold and italicizing more than one word in your email.
Also, if you are copying as well as pasting the text, make sure you are highlighting and keeping the clear format.
The writing a business email including format including :
- Subject line: Describe what your email is about within a few words.
- Email greeting: Mention the recipient’s name and add a proper greeting.
- Body: Write the message, and one asks.
- Signature: include the name, surname, company name, and sign-off.
Shorten the URLs
When you are using the URLs, make sure that you are not putting long ones.
It can take up valuable space and look messy. Not just that; make sure you are using hyperlinks or inserting shortened URLs.
For example, check this out : ( add link) or Check out this article on sales emails.
Both are wrong ways to use; the right one is :
Check this out : ( add the shortened link)
Call Out The Attachments In Email
When you are adding the attachment in the mail, indicate somewhere in the email that you have included an attachment so the recipient won’t overlook it.
It can be something like “ I have attached a ( document or spreadsheet) for ( add purpose or reason). “
Apart from this, make sure you have reattached fuels when you are adding them to the email chain.
Choose Perfect Email Signature
A bad email signature can do bad to the relationship, even if you are writing the most eloquent and persuasive message, but if you are using a poorly designed signature, it will make it look amateur.
Keep that in mind; you should be relatively something that is small, simple, and restrained.
It’s not the time that you have to add your favorite inspirational quote, headshot, or possible way to reach it.
Stick to simple things such as job title, name, URL of Linkedin, company website, and phone number.
Fill Out The Email Fields
There are two basic fields, including To, Cc, and Bcc
This field is much easier; add the email address of the recipient you are trying to send an email.
If you are like to include someone else who needs the message, Cc them. You are essentially saying that they can read this but are not obligated to respond.
Also, make sure you are not overusing the Cc field, this will cause clutter to inboxes and it’s better to consider email comments. You can use such instances:
- When the information is relevant to the recipient, and you want to keep them on the same page as you.
- When you want to make email more priority, in that case, use CC to higher up in the email.
- When you are helping a colleague or coworker with their work, but they are on holiday and want them in the loop.
Well, Being copes the contact the email, but no one beside them requires to receive it. If you are sending the email to one person and then bcc to another person. Here the first person will not know that someone else also got the email.
Keep The Use Of Bcc Appropriate
Bcc can be used for hiding the email address and to protect the email from being exposed to others.
For example, if you are planning to send an email about an upcoming event to a group of people, then it’s better to consider using Bcc as you don’t want to expose emails without their permission.
General FYI: Well, the Bcc can let others see the message without including them in threads to follow it.
Common Courtesy: Bcc allows the opportunity to remove people from threads.
Know When To Use Reply All
When you are using Reply All, it’s important that you need to consider it. Not just that, it’s crucial as email etiquette rules too.
But before that, you need to know the difference between reply and reply.
When you click on a reply, it means you are responding directly to the person who emailed you.
If you respond directly, the email will go to the original sender. But if you respond to someone else’s email in a thread, this ends up replaying that person.
When you are choosing the reply all, you are emailing back to everyone who’s into or cc fields.
The benefit you get is that everyone in the thread knows about what issues are addressed.
Know When To forward
Forwarding emails is another important part of understanding email etiquette. When you are considering this, here is what you need to know:
Some emails are not for forward; for example, if the person shares something sensitive or private information, be highly cautious when you forward. It’s best that you ask permission to forward it.
When you are forwarding the long email thread, the courtesy here is to summarize who discussed below, so the recipient knows what they need to know.
Some of the basics that you need to follow in forwarding etiquette includes :
- Those emails contain anything sensitive information; if it’s needed to share the contact, then erase the sensitive email.
- If the email contains a lot of information, especially long email threads, make sure that you create key points, so the recipient knows what they need.
You don’t want to send 25 chain threads with a note to see below; expect them to read every single email to get on the same page as yours.
Respond On Time
The feeling of dealing with overwhelming inboxes, especially when they are going through busy schedules, so it’s not possible for you to respond right away.
Choose the appropriate response depends on the person; it can be :
This can be responded to within 12 hours. The team relies on the work you do and get it efficiently, so most emails need to be on time.
Unless the email is marked as urgent or needs an ASAP response, you can respond to them by the end of the week. For example, if you received an email on Tuesday, you can respond by Friday.
But if it’s high-value contacts, you can respond within the hour frame of 24.
If you are sending emails to general colleagues, you can respond within a 24 hours time frame. Well, you can address the request in time, and if you can’t, you can respond by letting them know you have read the email and follow it on time.
Set Out Of Office Replies Informative
Well, in a situation when you are not unavailable for a long time period, it can be automated. OOO replay or out-of-office reply can let whoever contact you and when you are not in place of responding to their message.
So when you are considering OOO or Out Of Office, here are some of the points to know :
- Do include how long you are going to be unavailable.
- Don’t create the OOO response, which is for one day.
- Do include the other person whom they can contact if they have something urgent to discuss.
- Don’t include the college to contact without letting them know that they are in OOO reply of yours.
- Do include OOO in the subject line, so they know it’s an automated response.
- Don’t include details that are not needed, such as location to be an exact vacation.
However, if you are taking a vacation for an extended time, it can help in having the attention of a truly urgent and needy person, as well as the situation.
Track The Click-Through Rates And Email Opens
Track the click-through rates and email open instead of sending passive-aggressive emails like “ Did you see my email?”
With the help of email tracks, you know the exact moment when your recipient opens the email, and even if they don’t reply to it, you can get the non-irritation reason, such as sending an email related to it.
Don’t Use Sent From My Phone Caveat
Another rule that you need to follow is to avoid using the sent via phone caveat.
A Lot of emails contain “ Sent via phone; please forgive any typos?”. Many people might take this as an excuse to be lazy and not consider it before you send it.
Spare From Using Exclamation Points
If you are not shouting at work then you need to avoid using exclamation points.
It’s important that you are mindful when you are using it. The only real reason is to express excitement.
And never requires more than that; use more than one per email; it can make your email look unprofessional. Not just that, using a lot of them in sentences makes you sound like you are shouting.
Be Sure Of Cultural Differences
Another rule that you must follow is to be aware of cultural differences. Miscommunication can happen, and especially when you are emailing someone, make sure it’s understanding of cultural differences.
The risk is even greater when it’s in written words, as people can use language to accompany the message.
That’s why you need to try to familiarize yourself with the culture of the recipient when you are emailing someone abroad.
In some countries, it’s preferred to be on point. In contrast, it’s customary to get to know the business associate. You can start mastering the nuances of email etiquette by reading articles.
Don’t Respond When You Are Emotional
There are a lot of situations when you feel a lot of emails while you are writing emails. It can be a situation like, some client might not have paid, and it’s late again, this makes you angry and all set to give a piece of your mind.
However, what you need to remember is that what you have sent will never be undone. So it’s best to take a step back and take a breath, and then write an email with much calmed down.
Never respond to an email when you are feeling emotional.
The occasional spelling and grammar mistakes are unavoidable; if your email is always littered with a lot of it, then it’s a huge problem.
You also look unprofessional, and like you are not interested in the job, this is not a good image that you want to portray among your clients and colleagues.
So make sure you proofread the email, especially when you are writing longer ones. It also helps you in keeping it professional.
Don’t Send Emails Over Weekend
During weekends people prefer to disconnect from work, and it’s important that you respect it.
Avoid sending emails late on Friday and over the weekend.
If you don’t want to send an example of how you want to treat yourself, as if you don’t like receiving mail on Saturday afternoon when you are enjoying a barbecue, then don’t send others.
Reply Even If It Wasn’t Intended For You
However, it’s difficult to reply to every email message that is sent to you, but you can consider doing it.
This includes accidental email, especially if the person who has sent the email is expecting a reply.
It’s good email etiquette, especially if you are working with a person in the same industry or company.
Also, they can know that the email has been sent to the wrong person if they didn’t get it by now.
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I am certified and awarded Email marketing expert. I’ve spent the last decade reading and writing marketing books and blogs as well as my articles helps people to start their Email Campaign from scratch or boost their existing business.