As a consumer, I get emails everyday from stores that I’ve shopped at. As an employee of a growing company, I am constantly getting emails from people that want to sell me a list of names or a spot in their magazine. As a Meetup Organizer, I receive emails from people that want me to invite my Meetup group to their planned events. And as a marketer, I will admit that I’m sometimes the person on the other end sending out those emails.
At the heart of every email there’s a goal. My goal is usually to share our love for the products that we use and enjoy at Cloudbakers, as well as to spread the word about our Partners. For the emails you’re sending, maybe your goal is to set a meeting, update your team on new strategies, or answer your client’s questions on project time.
Regardless of what your goal is, there are a few ways to make sure your emails are credible, clear, and something that your recipient actually wants to read.
Email will be around for a while, despite rumors and the plethora of other ways to communicate (Chat, Hangouts, Switch, etc. – each perfect for certain situations), so let’s continue to make it enjoyable to all of us that use it. Here are 5 characteristics of a great email:
1. Your email is written in a positive light
If you’re relaying a problem to someone, add specific ideas or possible solutions to the issue that can help the reader help you. They will be able to take what you’ve written and most likely give you the quality response you’re hoping for.
2. Your email serves a purpose
If you are simply sending an email to say that you’ve received the message you were initially sent, try to add another point of value within your response. If it’s something the sender needs to know you read, chat them in real time instead. This habit will help keep everyone’s inboxes clean enough so that they can find what they’re looking for in a specific email thread later on.
3. Your email has a professional signature
Below is an example of Cloudbakers’ standard signature that we created through BetterCloud.
If you find that employees tend to change their own signature back to something else, you can set a timer so that every night (at midnight, let’s say), the signatures return to the company standard. The templates that you can create in BetterCloud pull information from your Google Apps admin panel to populate the specific fields in the signature. With this setup, you’ll have no problem keeping your company’s brand in check with consistent signatures.
4. Your email links to the content you are referring to
Remember attachments? If you have too many, the email won’t send, if you want to edit, you have to download, if you….With platforms like Google for Work, every document, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing or form that you create is a link. You can copy and paste that link into any part of your email so that the reader can access your document and start editing or giving suggestions immediately.
5. Know when it’s time to bcc people (when they no longer need to be in the thread)
Have you ever been part of an email conversation that trails off into back-and-forth messages between a subset of the participants? Instead of overusing the ‘Reply All’ button, bcc those who need to know you responded to the sender, but don’t serve any other purpose in the conversation and won’t necessarily need the extra information going forward.
For example, a lot of people reach out to Mitch asking him to speak at events, and he usually introduces me right away to handle the details and logistics. Because I take over these tasks, I make sure to bcc Mitch when responding to the event coordinator. Mitch himself doesn’t need to be interrupted by the sending of bios, headshots, presentation slides, etc., when it’s not his direct responsibility. When he needs to be added back into the conversation later down the line, it’s easy enough to do so.
That’s five already and I know the list could go on. I think that by focusing on these five aspects of a well-written message, you will keep a good email reputation and begin to generate some of your own must-dos. Once your etiquette is covered, strive to add your own personality as well!Originally published on August 10, 2015