Email is one of the easiest corporate communication tools to use. However, learning how to send an email the right way requires careful thought and consideration. It is all too easy to make simple mistakes that directly impact the success of your message.
Before you send an email to any recipient, familiarize yourself with these common mistakes so you know what to avoid.
1. Putting little thought into the subject line
Using a powerful subject line is one of the best ways to achieve high email engagement levels. And a poor subject line will often lead to your message going unnoticed. So before you send your email, make sure you know what the subject line is.
It is best to avoid using generic subject lines such as "Introduction", "Greetings" or "Great meeting you". Emails like these could come from anyone. It is better to be more specific by using incentivised language:
You must always ensure your subject line accurately reflects the content of your email. The text needs to be as specific as possible, so recipients know exactly what they’re about to read.
2. Writing an email that is too long
When you send an email, you clearly want it to be read. The quicker you can convey information to a recipient, the more likely it is that you will get a response.
However, overlong email message simply don't provide any benefits to you or the recipient. With the average worker receiving 121 emails daily, you’re wasting your time writing lengthy messages.
Always assume that the person you are messaging is busy before you send an email. The best way to do this is to make the copy as concise as possible. This means removing unnecessary wording, simplifying sentences, and using bullet points.
3. Not proofreading your copy before you send an email
We’ve all sent emails in a rush. It’s actually one of the most common mistakes made when sending an email. However, every time you do send an email without reviewing the copy, it makes you and your business seem careless.
When typing your message, take a few moments to spell check and proofread everything. It might take a bit longer, but you'll avoid any unnecessary mistakes.
It’s important to note that spam filters also pay attention to anything you wouldn’t normally see in an email. If there is a lot of repetition, too many spelling mistakes or gaps in words, it will be noticed.
4. Sending emails when you’re angry
You should never send an email when you are angry. Doing so can cause serious damage to you and your company’s reputation. Also your email can be forwarded, archived, and used as evidence against you at a later date.
It is easy to misinterpret the tone of an email. So, it is important that you don’t jump to conclusions when writing a response. If it helps, write a draft email that you never actually send in order to vent your anger.
5. Using urgent email flags to get a recipient’s attention
Adding a “high priority” flag when sending an email does not mean the recipient will action your request immediately. Remember that they may have other priorities so won’t have time to deal with your message immediately.
Also, every time you send an email, you should be looking to give off a good impression. Even if a message is massively urgent, using a flag can come across as desperate or rude.
6. Ignoring email regulations
Is your business aware of all of the current global email regulations? FISMA, HIPAA, CASL, GDPR… every email you send must comply with the laws and regulations within the recipient’s country.
It only takes one errant email to cause an influx of financial penalties. The only solution is to ensure an appropriate disclaimer is appended to your emails.
7. Not knowing how to use the To, CC, and BCC fields
When you send an email to multiple recipients, you need to ensure you use the correct contact field:
To: These are contacts you are emailing directly. It is important to note that everyone will be able to see the address of each recipient.
CC: Also known as “carbon copy” or “courtesy copy”, this field implies that the email is for informational purposes only. It is often used to keep people in the loop while not addressing them directly.
BCC: Standing for “blind carbon copy”, this works in the same way as the “CC:” field. The key difference is that all recipients’ email addresses are not publicly visible. This field should be used sparingly and only add recipients that don’t know one another.
8. Sending large attachments over email
Employees often use email to send all manner of files. However, an average business email account will have a maximum message size. This means your emails won’t be delivered if you’re adding attachments that are too big.
Before you send an email with large attachments, use a compression tool to decrease the size of your files. On the other hand, you can add all attachments to a file sharing site and email a direct link to recipients.
9. Using an email signature you have designed
Very few businesses allow brand compliance to be left up to individual members of staff. This includes email signatures. What you think is professional and on-brand most likely will not conform to your company’s brand guidelines. Even the font style might come across as amateurish.
This is why it is best for a company to implement central control over email signatures. That way, you can just focus on the content and sending of the email.
The process of sending an email is actually more complicated than it first appears. Without careful planning, your email can easily be ignored or damage your company's reputation.
By learning how to send an email with these simple guidelines, the messages you send to colleagues, superiors, customers, and other stakeholders will improve considerably.