8 Steps to Improve Your Business Email Writing
1. Write Strong Subject LinesThere are no words to express the relevance of a great subject line. If you master writing strong subject lines, nothing can stop you. When emails start pouring in, business people assess their importance based on the subject line. That simple introduction will determine whether your email will be prioritized or overlooked. Keep in mind that 47% of recipients open an email based on the subject line. Ensure that your emails don’t wind up in spam or trash can. Apply the following tips when writing subject lines:
- Be clear about the intent of your message
- Keep the length between 61 and 70 characters
- Place the keywords at the beginning
- Indicate urgency if the email is urgent
- Specify deadline if there is one
- If someone referred you, including their full name (e.g. “Referred by Hanna Miller for Project H”)
- Don’t use all caps
2. Get to the Point ASAPBusiness emails demand speed and efficiency. You won’t be able to deliver that if you fill your emails with empty talk. Here is a golden tip: always be straightforward. Your correspondents will be grateful for that. There is no time to lose when you are working at full speed. So, sharp and direct emails are much appreciated. Before you start writing, outline the key ideas you want to express. If you are writing an introductory email, keep that intro minimal and get straight to the purpose of the email. Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes and understand that all they want to know is the purpose of that email. Clarifying your reasons for reaching out or answering the question they imposed is what you should stick to.
3. Keep It ConciseLong emails look overwhelming. If you open a business email and find a block of text, frustration will come rushing before you even make out what the email is about. Don’t let this happen. Keep your emails short. Use as few words as possible to express yourself. Once you finish writing your email, read it and look for unnecessary segments that you can throw out. Remember that lengthy conversations should be reserved for phone calls. If you can’t be concise, suggest a call. It’s better to transfer to a different form of communication than to make the recipient face an essay-like email.
4. Be ProfessionalYour writing style reflects your respect for the person on the other side of the screen. Make sure that you present yourself as a reliable individual by sticking to a professional style of writing. How to draw the line between professional and non-professional writing? Simply ask yourself: “Would I write this in a text?” If the answer is yes, then you shouldn’t add that in your email. Slang, exclamation points, multiple question marks, or emoticons should be reserved for texting. No matter how close you are to the person on the other end, you should be respectful and avoid overly casual writing.
5. Improve Readability with StructuringStructuring can make a world of difference. Something simple as spaces and bullet points can turn your email from a drag to a goal-getter. The reader should be able to skim the email and spot all the main points. You should also make it easy for them to find what they are looking for within seconds. How? Give your emails a clear structure. Here are a few structuring tips that can improve the readability of your business emails:
- Segment ideas in different paragraphs
- Keep paragraphs short (up to 4 sentences)
- Add spaces between paragraphs
- Use bullet points or numbering for listing tasks/requirements/requests
- Highlight ONLY key thoughts that need to be emphasized