Writing emails is a vital part of professional relationships. Your email inbox is a space that builds relationships but also recognizes that professional boundary. It’s a fine art itself that is usually tricky to get the hang of. Business emails are hard, but it’s best to know the tricks to those tricky business emails.
Good business email writing is nuanced and changes as industries grow. To know how to write a great email, you first need to know what not to do. So, whether you are a young professional or a seasoned veteran, here are a few tricks to business emails applied to the four parts of an email that might help you along the way.
Warm and Cold Business Emails
The first thing to note is the difference between cold versus warm emailing. This can be the key to contextualizing what you write based on your intended recipient. If you’re sending an email to someone with no prior connection to you or your business, that is considered a cold email. Your main goal is to establish a foundation to someone who has not shown interest in your service/product; or someone that you are yet to connect with. Cold emails are difficult to nail right, since it can be labeled as spam or seen as a nuisance. Sometimes, it’s a shot in the dark. You have to be careful with how you write and present your business through these emails so you can scale up in responses and forge better connections.
From there, you can begin with warm emails. These are more personable, catered to the individual rather than the collective. Oftentimes, these are sent to those that want to hear from you. It’s better to promote webinars, new products, and in general more specific aspects of your business in warm emails.
The Tricks: Conversational and Concise
Warm and cold emails present stark differences in how they are written. It’s important to contextualize and know the tone of your professional email before sending it out. That said, both types can benefit from knowing the two tricks and qualities of business emails: being conversational and concise.
The Conversational Approach
Professional emails become lackluster once they read as robotic. That’s why you should always convey a charming tone and keep a personable attitude when writing them. This also helps prevent being labeled as spam.
Nowadays, being too professional is rigid and does not make for a good or sustainable work relationship. It’s difficult to maintain that level of seriousness all the time, especially if you’re talking to people you see on a daily basis. The new professional tone is a peculiar thing to master. You need to find that balance between being casual and respectful.
Tips to Keeping a Business Email Casual
Subject. For individual emails, your subject line should show what you need without demanding an answer. A line written as “I need your opinion about the quarterly report” reads completely different from the simpler “Requesting your opinion on the quarterly report”. It is personable and states what you need without being too aggressive.
For warm newsletters, entice the reader with a curious subject line proposing an action. “New products are on sale” does deliver the message, but it doesn’t have the same zing as “Check out our brand-new products in store!”
Introduction. General greetings like “to whom it may concern” dehumanizes the recipient and shows non-specificity. It’s better to address them by their name alongside a regular greeting. You can’t go wrong with a “Hi” next to their name as it’s personable and poignant at the same time.
Body. Remember that an engaging and well written message keeps the recipient’s attention. Consider as well how the recipient will interpret your message. As we are trying to be communicative, always remember that some messages do not translate well on paper.
For less than friendly emails, it’s better to show what the recipient can do for you. There is a more professional tone to “I need this by Friday” than “You need to finish this by Friday.” Show what needs done rather than mistrust towards the recipient. It’s more respectful and personable.
Closing. A conversational closer ends an email by nudging as to how you want things to progress. Instead of finishing your email with “reply as soon as you read this”, most business emails end with “looking forward to hearing from you soon” because they want the recipient to reply quickly with respect to their schedules.
Being concise does not mean being vague for the sake of shorter sentences. It means that you eliminate unnecessary words to avoid a long block of paragraphs.
If details cannot be communicated concisely in writing, remember emails can always be an avenue to schedule a meeting online or in person. There are details that are better communicated verbally and eventually summed up through an email.
Keep it Short and Sweet
Subject. As an opener, a concise subject line can determine whether or not someone opens your email. In fact, 64% of users open emails based solely on the subject line. Make your subject lines context driven. If you are asking for a file from someone, simply title the email as “File name request” to keep it on point. You can even add an “[Urgent]” to immediately convey the importance of your email.
Introduction. A concise introduction describes your circumstance. If there are any concerns or problems, this is where you air them out. Try not to veer away from your intended subject matter. Get to the point succinctly and immediately before you move forward to the body so that the recipient is able to contextualize the circumstance.
Body. With established context, the body can now state what the recipient can do for you or vice versa. Hedging is something to avoid when it comes to emails. This is where you say things like “I think” or “maybe”. Keep a strong stance to not only convey professionalism but also to keep things brief. Instead of saying “I think we should have a meeting on Friday” write “I am available on Friday for a meeting.”
Closing. As previously mentioned, your closer should mention how you want your conversation to move forward. There are different ways to end a cold email, but they always end with one sentence as you have the potential to lose your recipient’s interest. There’s no better way to pique your reader’s curiosity than with a “cliffhanger” closer. Rather than ending with “We hope you consider our products by browsing our website,” it’s more effective to write “Check out our website to find out more!”
Business Emails are Tricky but Important
The truth is that even seasoned veterans in any industry find it challenging to create proper business emails. However, writing them is a critical skill. Always remember the two “tricks” whenever you’re communicating through business emails. When writing to your co-workers or boss, always keep in mind the importance of their respective time (being concise) and that they’re just people too (being conversational). Hopefully, whoever you’re writing to will thank you along the way.