If you're anything like us, you are always either sending or responding to e-mails. As business owners and bloggers, it is an integral part of our work flow to stay in communication with clients, professionals and friends. Sometimes it can be easy to send a quick reply without taking five minutes to make sure what you're putting out into the world is professional, reflects your brand and communicates your thoughts well.
How do we ensure we are putting our best foot forward when we are sending dozens of e-mails weekly or even daily? We've compiled a list of 10 tips that you can glance through to make sure you are following proper e-mail etiquette and giving your e-mails the polishing touches they need.
Have a Clear Subject Line
Don't make your e-mail recipient guess at what you message pertains to. Chances are, they are probably as busy as you are, so it helps everyone to state the subject or point of the email clearly. Even more important, if you ever need to go back and search your inbox for e-mails you will be able to find what you are looking for much easier and faster if you included a concise subject line.
We're fairly certain this one is a no-brainer, but just in case: always introduce yourself if you are e-mailing someone new. Take the time to write a few sentences to relay who you are and what you do. This helps your recipient connect with you immediately. Someone who may have disregarded your e-mail will find something personal about you and that may spark an interest, so don't be afraid to let them know who you are. For example, I might say, "Hi there, I'm Ashley Slater, a fine art wedding photographer in the West Michigan area. I'm also the co-founder of The Bloom Workshop, where we teach women about blogging, social media, business, photography and design. I'd absolutely love to get coffee with you and talk about ways to work together!"
Greet By Name
If you can find the recipients first name on their website, address them by it. Simply taking the time to find out about who you are e-mailing shows you genuinely care and want to make a connection. This is especially helpful if you are contacting a new vendor who you have yet to work with. Get to know them and chances are, they will want to get to know you, too.
Make Your Intentions Clear
After you have introduced yourself, cut to the chase. Be clear and precise with why you are communicating. If you want to meet up for coffee, ask politely if they have time in their schedule to do so. If you want to partner for a styled shoot, give the vendor as many details as possible so they can make a well-informed decision on if working with you is a good fit or not. Again, the person you are emailing probably gets a dozen or more emails a day as well, so the shorter and more clear the email is, the better.
Choose Optimum Times to E-mail
Try and send e-mails Monday through Thursday. E-mails sent on weekends may be forgotten, as most people are out of office. Your message could get pushed down and missed. Business Insider says the best times to send emails are between 8-10am and 3-4pm.
This article is extremely helpful in learning what day of the week and what times are the most effective to send different types of emails. We were surprised to learn Tuesday is typically the best day to send an email and get a response, because the effect of the weekend has worn off and people are settling back into their work roles on Tuesday.
If you are included in an e-mail with multiple people, always hit reply-all so everyone stays in the loop. This is especially important if you are working with a team on a project or event and everyone needs to stay up to date on the latest information. Try to respond in a timely manner, and if you're on vacation or out of the office, an auto-reply email letting your clients know your reply time will be delayed is courteous.
Keep It Professional
Be aware of how many exclamation points you are using. Keep your tone professional, and steer clear of smiley faces unless you have a personal relationship with the person you are e-mailing.
When referring to a website, try and use hyperlinks instead of copying and pasting the url. Recipients are likely to click on a link rather than copy and paste the information into their search bar themselves. Make it easy for them! For example, "We'd love to meet you at our next Bloom Workshop!"
Utilize Spelling + Grammar Check
Take the time to run your message through spelling and grammar checks, even if you think you're mistake free. Nothing is worse than seeing words used improperly, like "I love you're work!" instead of "I love your work!" Just one minute of proofing can save you from an embarrassing mistake.
Follow Up E-mails
If you haven't heard back within a week, we think it is safe to send a follow up. Chances are your recipient has simply forgotten to reply, so sending a second message is fine.
As creative business owners, we understand how much of our time is spent online, so hopefully these tips help the future of your emails.