We all use email, and we use it all day long. It’s both a great help and a great hinderance. Great for some tasks, massively overused for others. In many ways, it has changed the way that we work, and the speed at which we correspond.
The reality is that email is as much a part of our working lives as the telephone is, in fact it has even taken over a lot of what really should still be done by telephone (but I’m not going to get on that high horse today).
So why is this hugely valuable, and indispensable business tool so badly used? Do people respond to your emails in the way you want them too, or do they miss the point? Are you making the best possible impression every time you press the send button?
Make most of your email
Here are my 4 top tips for business email, to ensure that you get the most you can, every time.
1. Subject lines are headlines
Newspaper headlines grab people attention, they help you decide whether to read the article or not. A well written headline draws you in. The same can be said for an emails subject line.
Decide on a few well chosen words. Remember that everyone is trying to reduce the amount of spam they get everyday, so an appropriate subject line will increase the chances of someone reading further.
And never leave the subject line blank. Emails with blank subject lines are usually seen as spam.
2. Make only one point per email
If you need to communicate on a number of different things, use separate emails for each subject.
This is a really great way to help your reader reply to each individually and in an appropriate time scale. You will get clearer answers and increase the chance of each point being adequately addressed.
Also, this means that a quickly answered point is not held up by another that requires more attention or research.
As with traditional letters, you need to be clear and concise, with the purpose of the message detailed in the first paragraph.
Sentences should be short and to the point.
3. Specify the response that you want
You must let the reader know what you want from them in return. This means ensuring that you include any call to action that you want, be that a reply, phone call or appointment.
Make it easy for them to reply
If this call to action is call back, or similar, be sure to include your contact information including name, title and phone number. Make it easy for them to reply. If a reader has to search for this information, they almost certainly will not bother.
And, do this on internal email too. The easier you make it to respond the more responses you will get, in the time scales you would like them in.
4. Be a good correspondent
Make sure that you go through your inbox regularly, and respond as appropriate. It is so easy to let email messages slip, and once they are no longer visible at the top of the inbox page, they may be forgotten altogether.
This is really just simple courtesy, and will encourage others to reply to you in a timely manner too.
If a detailed response is required and you don’t have the time there and then, send a holding email saying that you have their email and you are dealing with it. You will be surprised at the difference that this little tip makes.
For more on developing yourself, your staff and improving the profitability of your business, please do get in touch. You can email me at email@example.com, use the contact page on my website www.jamesnathan.com or call me on 07736 831151. Follow me on Twitter at @jamesnathan, connect to me on LinkedIn, or follow me on Facebook.
I look forward to speaking soon.