How to Write Competent Business Emails

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Did you know that in 2015, we sent around 205 million emails per day? As it’s expected, the share of business emails will grow by 5% every next year. Since emailing remains the most effective marketing communication and promotion tool, you need to know the basic rules of etiquette so not to fail when communicating with customers and business partners.


I must admit that today, business correspondence is under the great negative influence of social networks. Many rules of etiquette are leveled, which may provide negative consequences for your business. So please don’t fall under this negative influence and stick to the principle below(.

Habits of Powers that Be

Managers of large and well-known companies receive hundreds of emails every day, so there’s always a high probability that some of them will remain unread. How can businessmen cope with the flow of correspondence and whether it is possible to expect an answer?

For example, Larry Page and Sergey Brin once jokingly confessed to journalists that when examining emails, they start with the most recent messages. And if they don’t reach some letters, they leave them without response. In other words, one addressee may expect to receive a response almost instantly while others will be left without attention.

Jeff Bezos, a founder of Amazon, says that if he sends the letter and receives no response within 10 minutes, he doesn't wait any longer. However, some top managers prefer to respond to all mail personally and quickly.
From the examples above, we can conclude that to guarantee a response to the letter, you should try to interest the person to whom to write, especially if it comes to a person occupying a high position.

A useful example is the history of business correspondence between Mark Zuckerberg and Evan Spiegel, a founder of Snapchat. Zuckerberg became interested in the project and send a letter with a proposal for a meeting. Spiegel, in turn, chose not to respond in a standard style, writing something like "Thank you :) I will be glad to meet you. I will let you know if I suddenly get to San Francisco."

Later, this letter was called arrogant, but it clearly shows that the established order of business correspondence may be non-standard. In some cases, it is better to use a so-called "strategic negligence" to stand out from the crowd. By the way, many believe that due to this non-standard response Mark Tsukerbreg got even more interested in buying Snapchat.

Aside from the "strategic negligence", there are a few rules to follow that can enhance the potential chances of getting a response from a busy person:


#1 Subject of the letter
All starts with the subject. Try to make it as much clear and relevant as possible. Note that the decision whether to open the letter or not depends on the subject.

#2 Sender’s Email
Please send letters to customers and business only from the working mail. At least, name the letter correctly (let it be your first and last name). In no case use the addresses that are not appropriate for business correspondence (sweetie@, baby@, love@, etc.)

#3 Personalization
Forget about mass emailing. Every person is an individual, let alone business sharks with high self-esteem. By sending impersonal messages, you greatly reduce the chances to get an answer.
As for the subsequent attempts, send the repeated message in 2–4 days, but if the correspondence remained unread, subsequent attempts will likely have no effect.

#4 Tone and Style
When you are working with a colleague for a few years, you develop your unique informal style of communication. But when you’re sending emails to new clients or partners, please write in a formal and respectful tone. Always be aware of who is your recipient not to spoil an established relationship by incorrect treatment. Be polite and stick an official business communication style.

#5 Grammar
Grammatical mistakes point to your poor education/inattentiveness/overworking. Spend more time checking messages for errors. Don’t risk losing your reputation in the eyes of colleagues and the leadership.

#6 Humor
Note that people perceive humor differently. Better avoid joking unless you know the interlocutor well enough.

#7 Different Approach to Different Cultures
Be sure to take into account the geographical factor and adapt emails depending on the cultural differences of the recipient. For example, Arabs, Chinese and Japanese want to learn more about you before you start talking about the business while Germans and the Americans pay more attention to business.

#8 Don’t Leave a Single Email without a Response
Always answer the letters received by email, especially if the sender operates in the same industry as you. Sick to good manners and etiquette in email marketing – answer even if the email was sent to you by mistake, but the sender expects a response.

#9 Send Business Letters in Business Hours
If you do want to get the best response, avoid sending emails on weekends and holidays. Also, avoid sarcasm and irony, informal language and gossips, inappropriate humor and profanity. If you are excited or angry, do not respond to emails immediately. Compose a letter, but don’t send it instantly. Take a time to recover and then go back to the workplace and review the letter.

A Few More Tips to Sharpen Your Emailing Skills


  • Do not write too long letters - the ideal length of the text of about 2–3 sentences will save the recipient’s time and allow him to clearly understand the message.

  • Divide the text into paragraphs by meaning to ease the perception.

  • Allocate the main goal of your letter. A long email without a clearly indicated issue has more chances to remain unanswered.

  • Make reasonable requests. First and foremost, your requests should be adequate and not too time-consuming.

  • Show why you need a response. According to studies, most recipients trying to learn more about the sender to see if the answer really necessary and important.

I hope these tips will be useful to you in writing business emails. Feel free to share your emailing secrets in comments.
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