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What Is Email Etiquette? 10 Best Practices For Businesses

Email etiquette provides the foundation to write emails with the utmost professionalism.

Etiquette rules for businesses include an array of guidelines that dictate the tone, grammar, and structure of your email.

Minding your manners when communicating via email is vital for ensuring your message is clear, well-written, and compelling. Millions of emails are exchanged daily between clients, coworkers, managers, and stakeholders, so knowing all about how to avoid mistakes can prevent misunderstandings and portray your business in a positive light.

If you want to ensure your emails are as professional as possible, having a good grasp of email etiquette is important. We’ll cover the top best practices to help take your emails to the next level.

What is email etiquette?

Email etiquette, which is also known as email courtesy, includes guidelines that help you communicate in an appropriate way, whether that’s in a professional or social capacity.

Etiquette expectations will vary depending on who your audience is and the overall voice and tone of your email. In business emails, the goal is to ensure your content is clear and respectful, regardless of who your audience is.

Keep in mind that basic email etiquette can vary among different industries and cultures since it’s dictated by societal norms.

Why etiquette matters

Whether you’re writing sales emails or building trigger campaigns, etiquette is crucial for exchanging emails in a professional manner, building a positive relationship with clients, and maintaining your brand’s reputation.

Email etiquette also demonstrates to recipients that you value your relationship with them and their time.

Here are a few other reasons why proper email etiquette is essential:

  • Ensure clarity. The clearer your email is, the easier it’ll be to read and understand. This may mean recipients respond to your messages more quickly.
  • Prevent misunderstandings. Misunderstandings between you and your customers can lead to frustrated clients, which can result in decreased sales. Misunderstandings can also create friction between you and your team, resulting in delayed and overdue projects.
  • Minimize errors. A common best practice for writing effective emails is avoiding grammatical and spelling mistakes that may make your business appear unprofessional, lazy, or inexperienced.
  • Reduce liability issues. Email etiquette can help you communicate in a way that aligns with your organization's email policy, so you can reduce the likelihood of legal problems.
  • Maximize efficiency. When your email is direct and to the point, it can reduce time-consuming back-and-forth communication. As such, less time will be wasted on writing emails.

In addition to following email etiquette rules, it’s important to make sure your email is relevant and valuable to recipients.

10 email etiquette tips

Whether you’re new to email etiquette or need a refresh, the tips below can help you write professional emails.

Professional email etiquette quick tips

1. Use a direct subject line

Consumers receive several emails a day, and a strong subject line can ensure yours stands out in a sea of unopened correspondence. Since the subject line is the first thing someone will see in their inbox, it should be direct but descriptive enough so that it clearly states what the email is about. Otherwise, they may never interact with it.

Whether you’re leveraging trendy email subject lines or something more simple, try to give context about the topic of the email without going overboard or being too vague. It’s also best to avoid misleading subject lines that trick users into thinking the email will be about one topic when it’s actually about another.

Some straightforward and clear subject lines are:

  • Agenda for meeting on [month]/[date]
  • 50% off storewide + Free shipping
  • Your order has shipped

2. Properly greet your audience

Make sure to greet your audience with an appropriate salutation. Ultimately, what type of greeting you use in your email will depend on the relationship you share with recipients and the message you’re sending. For example, you wouldn’t send an email to a client with “Yo [name],” as the salutation, but you might if you were talking to friends. Here are a few popular greetings you can use in your next email:

  • Hello [name],
  • Hi [name],
  • Dear [name],

Additionally, you can greet recipients with their conventional or professional titles. This includes Mr., Mrs., Dr., and so on.

Don’t forget to introduce yourself after the greeting if you’re sending an email to someone for the first time. Keep this introduction short and to the point and discuss why you’re interested in starting a conversation. Doing so will ensure you make a good first impression.

3. Don’t use a no-reply email address

A no-reply email address is an address that doesn’t allow replies from the recipient. It’s typically used for transactional emails and marketing campaigns that don’t warrant a response.

However, this type of address can have a negative impact on customer experience since recipients can’t respond and get the support they need. It can also affect delivery rates.

4. Avoid emojis

A good rule of thumb is to avoid using emojis in professional emails. While we may use them regularly when texting friends and family, they’re often considered too casual for professional settings.

That said, they may be appropriate for marketing campaigns targeting younger audiences rather than day-to-day conversations with customers or coworkers. You may also be able to use an emoji in your response after the recipient has used one.

5. Know when to use CC or BCC

CC (carbon copy) and BCC (blind carbon copy) are 2 types of address fields you may have seen when building an email. The CC field is often used in emails where a response isn’t expected, but recipients will be kept in the loop.

Use the BCC field to protect the privacy of your email's recipients

On the other hand, BCC emails can keep addresses private and secure when communicating with multiple recipients. While they may look and sound similar, they serve different purposes and should be used correctly.

6. Follow grammar rules

Grammar rules include using correct punctuation, avoiding sentence fragments, using active voice, and many other guidelines that can make your writing clearer and stronger. You can use grammar-checking software to make your life easier, but make sure you still know the basics since it may not always catch your mistakes.

7. Include a professional sign off

Closing your email professionally is just as important as your greeting. This is because the sign off is the last thing people will read, which can influence whether or not they engage with your email further.

Like your salutation, it should reflect the voice and tone of your email.

Professional email sign offs

8. Proofread your content

One of the most important email marketing best practices is to proofread your content. Doing so can prevent mistakes, such as spelling errors, grammar issues, formatting mistakes, and other blunders that can tarnish your brand’s reputation. Look over your content more than once, read the email out loud, and ask someone else to review it to catch anything you may have missed.

You can also send a test email to yourself to verify that it’s free of errors. When conducting an email test, check that all attachments and links also work correctly.

9. Be mindful of your tone

Be mindful of your voice and tone because you don’t want to come off as negative or rude. After all, you don’t know how someone may interpret your email. Make sure to use positive, friendly language and refrain from negative words.

It’s also best to avoid humor, sarcasm, too many exclamation points, and all capital letters. All caps and exclamation marks can make it seem like you’re yelling at the reader.

10. Keep the content short

Keeping the contents of your email short can prevent recipients from losing interest and stop reading. As a result, they may not move to the next step in the marketing or sales funnel. If you’re talking to a coworker, a long-winded email can take time away from their busy day. Lengthy emails can also be difficult to read on mobile devices.

Using your manners online

Using your manners when communicating via email in a professional environment can go a long way. Not only can it show the recipient that you value and respect their time, but it can also ensure your business is reflected positively. Additionally, it can make communication more efficient, allowing you to reduce frustration among clients, coworkers, stakeholders, and so forth. So use the etiquette tips above to make your emails more effective and clear.

Are you ready to create an amazing email? Use Mailchimp’s intuitive email builder to help you design a beautiful email tailored to your brand and messaging.

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