Writing Effective Email Messages

Wednesday, September 09 at 08:05 AM
Category: Business Banking

Email can be a very effective communication tool for many businesses when it is handled properly. The speed, ease and interactive nature of email coupled with clear messages can be an effective way to communicate with customers, vendors and employees.

Unfortunately, not all email senders communicate clearly and in a professional manner. Consider the following two messages:

“hi bill  we got your order and wanted some more info.  whats your address/?  we need the po# 2  thnx  jim”
“Dear Bill,
Thank you for your order. We need some additional details to get the order processed and shipped quickly. Please provide a shipping address and a purchase order number.
Thanks again for the order. We appreciate your business.
Jim Smith
(800) 123-4567
Which one do you think makes the better impression on your customer?
Guidelines to write effective email messages
  1. Treat your email with respect. It should be like any other piece of business correspondence. That means proper spelling and punctuation. Take advantage of spell-check in your email system if it is available. Read it over before hitting the send button. Many people print email messages and you want any printed material to properly present you and your company.
  2. Use a clear subject line and state your reason for the email. Many people receive dozens of email messages every day. Get your readers’ attention by getting to the point very quickly. The readers may never get to your message if it is hidden in the second or third paragraph.
  3. Don’t overload the reader. Sending several email messages a day with little pertinent information will bore your reader.
  4. Include contact information. You want the reader to know who the email is from (if the reply email address is not from a business network that easily identifies that) and make it easy for the reader to get back in touch with you. Include your business name, your personal name, phone number and email address. Remember the message may be printed out and then deleted from the reader’s system. If that happens, the reply button will not be sufficient. 
  5. Make it look good. Format the message so it is easy to read. A page of single-spaced type is no easier to read on a computer screen than it is on a sheet of paper. Some white space (a line) between paragraphs and bullet points (when relevant) will make it much easier to read. You can use bold and italic if needed. However, a message that is all bold or all capital letters is going overboard.
  6. Be familiar with the CAN-SPAM Act* which provides standards for commercial emails in three areas: unsubscribe, content and sending behavior. Discuss with your legal representative how this applies to you. 
Email can be a great tool, but remember it will only be effective if it is used properly.

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution. 

Tags: Arvest Biz, Business Banking
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