If you’re looking for ways to improve your business emails, you’re not alone. Professionals regularly struggle with writing emails, citing clarity, concision, and speed as major hurdles.
Crafting the perfect business email doesn’t have to be complicated, and you certainly don’t need a PhD in literature to write clear and compelling emails. A few simple tips and tricks can help you communicate more effectively and spend less time doing so.
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1. Use text formatting to your advantage.
Almost all modern emails are sent in HTML, which means that you can leverage formatting to add emphasis or provide clarity. Selective use of bold, underlined, and italicized text can convey importance, urgency, and relevance.
By using formatting to draw attention to key concepts, your email will be easier to read, and convey more information at a glance. Considering that the average office worker receives more than 80 emails per day, this will help yours stand out as being clear and easy to understand.
Never use CAPITAL LETTERS to emphasize a point; people find it off-putting and even rude.
2. Add hyperlinks like a pro
It’s quite convenient when somebody mentions a document or website, and all you have to do is click on the keyword in question to check out the source for yourself. Hyperlinks are a great way to make your emails look more professional and will be greatly appreciated by your readers.
It’s also another reason that it’s important to opt for a good email program, although most web-based ones today, like Gmail, can handle links just fine. While it differs from application to application, Ctrl + K (Cmd + K for Mac) is an almost universal hotkey for adding a hyperlink. If it doesn’t work, just check your application’s Help menu for instructions.
3. Avoid unusual or unprofessional fonts
Yes, this includes comic sans. When choosing a font for your professional emails, stick with the classics. Arial and Calibri, for example, are both easy to read, immediately familiar, and well-suited for business environments. Also, use the same font throughout for maximum readability.
4. Take the time to create a professional signature
Some companies will have guidelines on what to include (or not) in your signature, but if not, you have the free space to build a professional image.
Adding your company logo can go a long way toward creating a polished look. Modern email applications should allow you to center your logo and write text beneath it or align the logo left, with text to the right. Either way, your emails will immediately look more professional, and readers will have an easier time connecting you to your company.
Also, when it comes to an email signature, less is more. Stick to the basics: your name and position, phone number, and if appropriate, simple icons for social media. Brands like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all have resource pages with icons that you can add to your signature, which will link to your profile(s).
Alternatively, there are a variety of signature generators, like WiseStamp, that will help you build a professional signature in minutes.
5. Proofread your emails
This can be a tough habit to build, especially for those of us who write 30 or 40 emails a day, but it will make a significant difference in how well you communicate. Spelling mistakes, typos, and incorrect grammar will all make your email (and you, by extension) seem less professional.
Don’t hesitate to look into a good grammar and writing aid. Grammarly, for example, is a browser extension that many find helpful for catching such mistakes. However, be careful not to rely solely on automatic writing aids. You should still proofread your email from start to finish.
6. Avoid fluff and filler
Like you, most people have a never-ending flow of incoming emails. Aside from a simple salutation and a polite closing, keep things as direct and simple as possible. Pay special attention to repetitions, run-on sentences, and filler.
Writing an email is not like speaking: the text stays on the screen, accessible to your readers at any time. There’s no need to mention something more than once nor to make multiple references to the same product or concept.
As discussed, by using formatting for emphasis and hyperlinks to reference documents, you can greatly simplify your text for a more effective email.
Writing great business emails shouldn’t be stressful or time-consuming, although it does take practice. These six simple tips will help you create emails that are clearer and easier to read and understand and have a more professional look and feel.
Crafting professional emails with confidence and in a timely manner is a skill that can be learned and improved like any other. There are many resources available online, including free email templates to use as inspiration and that can facilitate the task.
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