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How To Send An Email The Right Way [9 Avoidable Mistakes]

Exclaimer

By Exclaimer

How to send an email the right way

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 email.

Before you are ready to send an email to a recipient, familiarise yourself with these common mistakes and how you can avoid them.

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 with many workers receiving hundreds of emails a day, a poor subject line will often lead to your message going unnoticed.

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:

  • We shook hands at the [Event] last night
  • Introduction for [Person 1] and [Person 2] to connect
  • You won’t read another email like this today

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

An overlong email message simply doesn’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 emailing is busy by making the copy as concise and to the point as possible. This means removing unnecessary wording, simplifying sentences, and using bullet points.

The quicker you can convey information to a recipient, the more likely it is that you will get a response.

3. Not proofreading your email before clicking Send

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 so, it makes you and your business seem careless and unprofessional.

When drafting any email, 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 angry email response no matter the reason. 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 very 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.

Whether you like it or not, email disclaimers form part of the law in certain countries, particularly in North America and Europe. For example, if you are a registered limited company in the UK, the law dictates that you MUST include your company registration number, registered address and, if required, a VAT number in corporate emails. The penalty for not doing so is a one-time fine of £1,000 and further daily fines of up to £100 until the offence is corrected.

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 for multiple 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.

The best way to get around this to use a compression tool to decrease the size of your attachments. Alternatively, you can add all attachments to a file sharing site like OneDrive or Dropbox 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 if your company does allow you to create your own email signature design, it will simply become a sub-standard personal, electronic business card on email. You might think it is a good idea to change your job title to one that flatters you but is actually misleading. You might not understand the more technical components of the signature and therefore leave an unprofessional impression on external recipients.

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.

Summary

The process of sending an email is actually more complicated than it first appears. Without careful planning, your email can easily be ignored or cause you and your organization reputational damage. By following these simple guidelines, the emails you send to colleagues, superiors, customers, and other stakeholders will improve considerably.

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