An informative subject line
Use ultra-specific verbiage within the email’s subject line to spark interest and encourage the recipient to prioritize the email.
- This will help confirm that the message is not spam or junk mail.
A personal salutation
Depending on the nature of the business relationship, address the recipient by their first name and/or their last name with an honorific.
- An honorific may always be included, but is most appropriate in situations of initial contact (Dr., Mr., Mrs., or Ms.).
A sensible structure
Format your email in successive paragraphs to achieve an organized, professional structure and smooth the flow of information.
- First paragraph:
- If you are replying to an email from the recipient, thank them for their email
- Introduce yourself if necessary
- Provide a brief overview of the purpose of the email
- Main body:
- Give thorough yet concise instruction or information
- Be aware of the recipient’s level of understanding and tailor the content accordingly
The appropriate tone
- Keep the phrase “It’s not what you say, but how you say it” in mind when composing emails to customers.
- If delivering not-so-great news, consider first explaining what unfortunately cannot be done, but what can be done instead.
- Offering an alternative in place of a “No” will better reflect your organization’s high regard for customer satisfaction.
A professional closing
- Choose a closing depending on the type of business relationship held with the recipient.
- Some examples are “Sincerely”, “Regards”, or simply, “Thank you” if you have requested something in the email that warrants a response.
- Follow your closing line with your first and last name, your title, and any appropriate contact information.
Things to avoid:
- ALL CAPS
- Inconsistent font style or text color
- Excessive exclamation points
- Negative or inappropriate language
- Internal jargon
- Anything you would not want to become public
What other email etiquette tips can you share?