If possible, create an email address that’s associated with your website domain.This will help customers and potential customers to see your business as professional. For example, OneFocus Consulting Service might use firstname.lastname@example.org as her email address.
- If you can, leave the To line blank until you’ve checked over your message to avoid inadvertently sending an email before you’ve perfected it.
Replying and Forwarding
- Make sure you know whether you want to Reply or Reply all. Many experienced email users have sent sensitive information to a large group of people because they clicked the wrong button. On the other hand, sometimes it is important to send information to everyone on an email list, and you need to make sure to click Reply all.
- If you decide to forward a message, make sure to remove any personal or sensitive information from the original email first. When you forward a message, it is courteous to edit out any information that was meant for only you before forwarding.
- Include a meaningful subject line. People receive so many emails in a day that they are likely to ignore emails that have no subject line or have a subject line that is not compelling. Your subject line should describe what your email is about. Remember, your email has lots of competition!
- If you reply to a message, don’t necessarily just leave the subject line as it appears after you hit Reply. If your message has information that might be better described by a different subject line, change the subject line to be more meaningful. If your message is unrelated to the original email, start a new message all together.
- Personalize your message to the recipient. Your emails should have greetings that express the level of formality you should have with the recipient—when in doubt, use a high level of formality. Begin your emails with “Dear Ms. Jane,” “Hi, Jane,” or even simply “Jane.”
- Make one major point in your email. Emails are often read quickly and complicated emails with multiple points can be confusing. If you have multiple ideas to discuss, consider sending multiple emails, each with a different subject line to identify the point you are making. If you have more than one point to make about a particular project, try using bullets or numbers to make each separate point.
- Account for tone in your email. There is no subtle body language conveyed in email, so something you might say to another person face to face could have a much different meaning when typed in an email. Be thoughtful when you write your emails, and read your message as if you were the recipient before you hit Send.
- Don’t use emoticons, abbreviations, or Internet slang in your emails. At best, the recipient may not know what this mean; at worst, he or she may find these unprofessional.
- Do not use ALL CAPITALS. When you write in capitals, it is similar to shouting.
- Spelling and grammar are important factors in how your email will portray you. If your email contains misspellings, grammatical mistakes, or typos, people may get the impression that you are careless or—even worse—not very capable. Spell and grammar checkers can help, but they may not pick up every error, so you should carefully read your email before sending.
- Keep your message short and to the point. If you have something more involved to say, make a phone call or schedule a meeting.
- Do not communicate personal or sensitive information in an email. Email can be easily and thoughtlessly forwarded, and you have no control over what happens to what you write after it leaves your computer.
- Always include a signature that identifies you and includes contact information such as your phone, fax, and street address. You can use your email software to set up a signature file that is added to the end of every email. Some email tools allow you to set up multiple signature files that can be used for different purposes.