Email Etiquette When Communicating with Clients

by Thom Tracy

2 min read

When you or your staff send emails to your business clients, your goal should always be to present a first-class and professional image of your company.

The Basics of a Professional Email Account

No matter how small or new your business may be, always make sure that your email account reflects positively on your brand. Use a company email address, not a personal one, when communicating with clients. The email address itself should only convey your name, your company’s name, and maybe your title.

Next, make sure your emails have a professional signature block with your name, position, contact information, and maybe a little blurb about your company. This is also an opportunity to add social media buttons or other associated links.

Use auto-replies if you are going to be out of the office for an extended period of time. Auto-responses are not always exciting to receive, but they don’t leave your clients hanging and left to wonder about your priorities.

Email Content

The first content that your clients will see is the subject line. In almost all cases, it is best to write a short, clear subject line. Being direct and open with your clients helps build trust. You may come across as suspicious if you rely on coy or attention-grabbing subject lines.

Start each email with a proper salutation. You are not likely to reflect a professional image by starting your correspondence with “What’s Up!” or “Howdy folks.” Stick with “Hello” or “Hi,” followed by the recipients name.

Be precise with your email body. Your content should be written in a way that shows you are busy and that you respect your client’s time. This means brevity and directness while being polite.

Spelling and grammar are essential. You can rely on grammar software such as Grammarly to quickly scan for mistakes.

Some practices to avoid:

  • Using a lot of exclamation points, smiley faces, or similar emotive expressions
  • Writing in slang
  • Using strange or exotic fonts
  • Filling your email with humor, especially dry humor or sarcasm
  • Writing in giant block paragraphs
  • Relying on highly superfluous langauage
  • Delaying responses — never more than 24 hours at the latest

Don’t Send: Know When to Not Use Email

Even in a world with fast-paced communication where texts and tweets are the norm, never forget that your business has a phone. Sometimes the right thing to do is to call your clients, set up a Skype call, or meet in person. Email is very convenient, but it can’t capture the tonality and emotional impact of a real conversation.

Avoid email whenever you are discussing sensitive information that shouldn’t leave a digital trail or if you feel that your client deserves a warm outreach.

Remember that emails are not private, even when only two email accounts are included and both users send the email to the “trash” afterwards. Digital copies survive on your respective servers and you may not know if someone else has been blind copied from the other side.

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