Business Etiquette When E-mailing Clients
By Michael Alter
Top 7 E-mail Etiquette Tips
1. Subject line: Be clear and direct; get to the point of the message.
2. Greeting and closing: Don't make assumptions. Don't assume clients remember you. If there is a possibility they might not remember you, open with a simple reminder of who you are. The closing of your message should be professional and clearly communicate the next step, if a next step is needed.
3. Remain professional in tone: Only discuss matters of your business relationship, and never compose or send an e-mail when you feel tired or angry. A good habit to develop is to read your e-mail message aloud before sending, to listen to the tone as it might be interpreted on the receiving end.
4. Communicate clearly: Details matter. Be comprehensive and eliminate wordiness. Using smiley faces, emoticons, exclamation points, or all caps can make you look less professional.
5. Format and structure: Think of your e-mail as a message that is being printed and sent on company letterhead. Do not structure the message in a way that would overload the recipient with too much information.
6. Frequency: Resist the temptation to send multiple e-mails to a client in one day. Multiple e-mails can overwhelm the recipient and devalue your e-mail communication.
7. E-mail signature: Design your e-mail signature with as much information as your business card. Limit the amount of graphics in your signature line - some spam filters block images or, worse, force your message into the recipient's junk folder.
- Make the subject line relevant, brief, and intriguing.
- Don't!!!!! use!!!! too!! much!!! punctuation!!!!!
- Don't use "spammy" words (e.g., free, limited time, discount).
- Don't use ALL CAPS - it can be perceived as SCREAMING in e-mail and considered to be rude.
- Limit the number of attachments; typically, two are enough.
- Name the attachment logically.
- Ask for permission before sending a large attachment. Clients may ask you to send a large attachment on a certain day, at a specific time, or after business hours.
- Consider making attachments easier for your clients to open by printing a document to PDF and attaching the PDF to your e-mail.
Voice of the Editor
What makes a company a great place to work? Experience, a ConnectEDU company, uses criteria that include benefits, career advancement opportunities, culture, and work/life balance to form its annual list of the Best Places to Work for Recent Grads. BDO USA and Ernst & Young both made the Top 25 list. Read what makes these firms stand out and find out what can be done at your firm to entice college grads.