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Sep 23, 2021

Writing

20 tips on how to send better emails

Looking to improve your email writing skills? These 20 tips on how to write better emails will make you go from good to great in no time.

Blog writer

Samuli Pehkonen

Marketing

Blog image
Blog image

Wondering how to write better emails? Well, good email writing starts with knowing the basics. 

Once you build up your confidence, you can apply more nuances to improve your email writing skills even further. Up-leveling your craft doesn't require books, courses, or classes on how to send better emails. After you've invested 10 minutes into reading this blog post, you know everything you need to compose a good email message in every situation. That's an investment in your career that holds the potential for infinite ROI.

Next up, 20 email writing tips helping you become a better email writer no matter the starting point.

1. Consider your recipient

In all professional communication, your audience should be your first consideration. Who will read your email dictates how you write it from tone to content. As simple as that.

If you disagree, consider whether you communicate similarly with your boss, co-worker, client, and contractors –  let alone your family and friends. Your email doesn't need to be as formal as when making a business inquiry when communicating with your co-workers. Some of the function-specific lingoes can be efficient for exchange between teammates but confusing to top management. 

Also, remember that your audience includes everyone added into "To:", "CC:", and "BCC:" fields, focusing on the first one. An audience of one makes it easy to personalize your message and tailor the approach for the recipient. Make sure to reflect the relationship and earlier correspondence between the sender and recipient when you start to type.

2. Set a clear goal for your email

If you are not clear about the purpose of your email before you start to write it, you can be sure that the recipient won't be either. Clarifying what you are trying to accomplish with your message helps you express yourself effectively when you decide to put pen to paper.

All good emails have one – and only one – goal. This is called the 'one thing rule.' By covering only one thing in your email, you make it easier for the recipient to understand and take action. Requesting more than one action in an email can lead to confusion, which leads to inefficient communication.

To define a goal for your message, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are you asking the recipient to do?
  • How do you want them to feel?
  • How should they respond?

At times you absolutely need to cover several things around the same topic in one email. In this case, it's increasingly essential to format your message clearly by using bullet points or numbered lists. Highlighting different email components makes it easier for the recipient to process your message and respond in a manner that covers everything you need. 

3. Make sure that your email is necessarily

Email has become the default channel of business communication. No matter how much we all love emails (sarcasm), and no matter how important it is to provide e-paper-trail of communication with clients, contractors, or colleagues, email is not the right channel of all workplace communication.

When you are clear about who the recipient is and why you are about to send them an email, stop. Take a deep breath and ask yourself: "Is this email necessarily?" Professionals across the board tend to over-communicate via email even though a quick phone call or Slack message would do. Or how about the Loom video? Despite the popular meme, it's good to remember that not all the meetings could have been emails.

So, remember that email is just one channel of professional communication. With the vast array of channels for async communication, choose the one that fits the message.

4. Know your email etiquette

Email etiquette refers to the set of principles that guide our behavior when using email.

It can be defined as a code of conduct that includes unwritten guidelines for email communication regarding language, spelling, grammar, and manners. The etiquette depends on whom you are emailing. It's always safer to stay on the formal side of conventions.

Adhering to email etiquette will help you establish professionalism in your communication, build strong relationships with your co-workers and represent the company well. As there's no authoritative resource on this topic, we've compiled a list of the most important rules and tips on email etiquette every professional should know. With this quick read, you can update your knowledge on the topic and assess your email with a critical eye.

5. Follow proper email structure

The best way to write an email is to stick to the format. Email has been around for decades, and many of us have been using it since our childhood. That's why our brains are wired to read them in a certain way. Whether the recipient would skip all the niceties and formalities, it's easier for them to get the gist of it if you don't steer away from what's expected.

The best practice for email structure is as follows:

  • Subject line
  • Greeting
  • Opening line
  • Content
  • Call-to-action
  • Closing sentence
  • Sign-off
  • Signature

If some of these components of a good email sound like a foreign language to you, don't worry. We'll cover each part of a well-structured email in this blog post. By the time you've done reading, you'll know everything you need to know to finesse all of them. And if you need further help, you'll also soon learn about a tool called Flowrite that can become your AI email assistant and take care of structuring your emails for you.

6. Make the most of the email subject line

The subject line is the first – and possibly the only – thing the recipient sees in your email. Emails with poor, or better yet, no subject line, will quickly get deleted without reading or find their way straight to the spam folder. 

You should think of the subject line as your email's headline. It's a summary of your email. It has the single most significant impact on whether your email gets read or not. The goal of a subject line is to get the recipient to open your message and give the email's body to do the rest of the work. It is also the place where email faux pas most often occurs.

The most common mistake is to try to trick the recipient into opening your email. Your subject line shouldn't be a tease, and it should always be related to the content of the email. Subject lines that are too short or too long often confuse. The same goes for vague and generic ones. The best subject lines are informative yet concise.

The challenge is to keep your email subject line concise but specific. The ideal length is somewhere between 3 and 8 words, which should be enough to provide an overview of your message.

7. Choose the best email greeting

The way you start the email sets the tone of the message and builds the recipient's first impression of you. Unfortunately, many don't pay enough attention to it. What's the proper way to start my email then? Well, it depends.  The appropriate greeting for your email can be formal or friendly, depending on who you communicate with and your purpose.

Examples of most common email greetings include:

1. Hello <Name>

2. Hi <Name>

3. Dear <Name>

It's easy to overthink your email greeting, especially when you're not very familiar with the person. Or if the email is especially important. If you find yourself wasting time with whether to say "Hi Tom", "Hello Mr. Smith", or "Dear Sir", it's always safer to err towards the formal one.'

To help you navigate these waters, we've written a complete guide on best email greetings.

8. Add an email opening sentence

Before moving to the actual content of your email, you should add an opening line that addresses the recipient or provide context. And for the sake of everyone involved, please come up with something more imaginative and considerate than "I hope this email finds you well".

Good email opening examples for different situations include:

  • Allow me to introduce myself…
  • To follow up on our conversation…
  • Thank you for getting in touch…
  • I hope the week is going great so far…
  • I could use your advice…
  • Your quick response is much appreciated…

With these options in your back pocket, you shouldn't struggle to land on that perfect opening line that seamlessly segues into the content of the email. As a bonus tip, try to avoid weekdays or times of the day in your opening sentence because you don't know when the recipient will have to read your message.

9. Should you introduce yourself?

The answer is: If you are reaching out to someone you don't know yet, yes, you should. No matter if it's someone within your organization or external contact. It's good email etiquette and common courtesy. "How do I introduce myself in an email then?" You may ask.

Here are two foolproof ways to do self-introduction in an email:

  • My name is <First name> <Last name>, and I work for <What the company does> called <Company name>.
  • I’m <First name> <Last name>, and I work as <Job title> in our <Department>.

Remember that your email is often not about you, so you shouldn't spend more than a sentence or two introducing yourself no matter how much we all love talking about ourselves.

10. Start with the most important

Good emails get to the point fast. The Pyramid Principle is an approach to professional email communication. McKinsey executives created this method already back in the 1980s to structure thoughts efficiently and improve business communication.

The basic principle is to make the most crucial point at the beginning and structure your email accordingly. A typical business email answers the question or presents the requests at the end. Still, it's more effective to lead with the most important point and provide arguments and background information only after that. For example, your boss sends you an email asking whether you should extend a colleague's contract, you want to give your answer head-on and explain the "why" after that.

If you struggle with how to send better emails, think about a pyramid, start from the top, and announce your intentions up front.

11. Don't save on periods

If you want to write better emails, don't spare the periods. 

The slight pause between sentences gives readers time to digest the message. Concise sentences allow them to have more of these opportunities. You should also consider breaking lengthy and complex sentences even when they wouldn't be run-on sentences.

You should also learn to use commas correctly, especially if English is not your first language. Too many or too few commas – or one in the wrong place altogether – are prone to confuse.

12.Use sentence case 

Using a sentence case refers to capitalizing the first letter in a sentence and any proper nouns. Most of us know that this is the correct way to use capital letters but still fail when composing emails. Sentence case is part of business emails etiquette, and foraying from it is never a good idea when writing professional emails. Also, remember to avoid writing in all caps. It's always a no-go. With Flowrite, you don't have to worry about such details – no matter how carelessly you jot down your instructions, our gets capitalization correct for you.

13. Mind your tone

It's not just what you say but how you say it.

Tone can be defined as the voice of the written word, expressing emotion, character, volume, intonation, and the overall attitude of the message. That's why it's crucial to be intentional with your word choices and consider how the recipient might interpret them. As you can't rely on facial expressions and intonation to deliver the message via email, you should put effort into coming across in a positive light. 

A professional tone in email can take much time to get right, as sometimes you want to be formal and lean into a more friendly end. How to express excitement, decisiveness, or encouragement? To help you deliver the message effectively, we put together an all-encompassing resource on striking the right tone in all your emails.

In addition, Flowrite can help you deliver the message in the way you intended to. With our AI email generator, you can choose the tone for the email you want to send and let us do the heavy lifting.

14. Keep it concise

Keeping your email short and sweet ensures that you deliver the message effectively. Lengthy emails that bury the point easily get unanswered and eventually forgotten. Or worse, misunderstood. As an average professional receives well over 100 emails a day, no one has time to read long emails.

15. Use an active voice

Writing in a passive voice may appear formal and professional and only uses a couple more words, but those add up. Furthermore, it's harder to read and understand. So get rid of wordiness to get your message across clearly by using an active voice. It can be hard at first, but once you get used to it, you'll notice that your writing flows better than before.

16. Format for clarity

Using bullet points and numbered lists helps you structure your email and draw the recipient's attention to what's most important. In addition to serving as visual cues, lists make it easy to write short sentences., You can also use bolding to highlight, for example, your call to action.

17. Make a clear call to action

You can't expect the recipient to know what to do next unless you tell them. If you're asking for something, provide clear instructions. If it's an interview invitation, say so. If you need a response by a specific date, tell them.

The best practices for clear CTA include:

  • Provide dates and details
  • Use single sentence paragraphs
  • Break complex requests down into steps
  • Don't be frightened to use bold

Including a clear call to action –is the most effective way to get the results you want. Don't forget to use it.

18. Seal the deal with email closing sentence

Becoming a better email writer requires constantly building your toolbox. One of these tools is a closing sentence that ends the content part of your email. These phrases can be used to show gratitude, set expectations for the future, and express your willingness to help.

Best closing sentences for an email include:

  • Thank you for your help/assistance/support/time
  • I'm looking forward to your reply
  • If I can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me

There are endless variations of the above examples. Once you build up confidence in your email communications skills, you can start to introduce more variance that shows off your personality and comprehends the tone of your email.

19. Decide on the best way to sign off the email

Considering that your email greeting gives the ever-important first impression of yourself to the recipient, your sign-off dictates what kind of taste your message leaves in their mouth. Deciding on the best way to end your email can be time-consuming as there's no one-size-fits-all solution. However, overlooking the importance of the sign-off is like stumbling on the finish line.

The most common examples of email sign-offs are:

  • Sincerely,
  • Best wishes,
  • Regards,
  • Best,
  • Cheers,

The best way to sign off an email always depends on the recipient, your relationship with them, and your email's purpose. Choosing the right one for each context requires a bit of further reading. For that purpose, we have written a comprehensive guide on best email sign-offs from the most formal ones to those not suitable for the office. 

Once you've come to terms with your decision on the sign-off, add a comma, and write your name on the following line.

20. Check your spelling 

The last thing you want to do before hitting "send" is to catch any spelling errors and ensure that your capitalization is correct. 

Incorrect spelling indicates carelessness and can destroy all the thought and effort you put into making your email better. Spelling checkers like Grammarly are great, but they won't catch everything and, at times, fail to read into the context. That's why you must train yourself to pick up the errors yourself.

When using Flowrite to write emails and messages, the human errors are eliminated by AI that generates native-level English, cutting down the time obsessing over and checking the spelling.

How to write better emails with artificial intelligence

Flowrite is an AI writing tool that turns short instructions into ready-to-send emails and messages in seconds. It takes care of the email structure, capitalization, grammar, spelling, punctuation – you name it. The emails our tool generates are native-level English, so you don't have to worry about that either. Essentially you can focus on your thoughts and ideas, and Flowrite will give them wings. We dare to say that it's the fastest way to start writing better emails, and many of our users have said that they have learned a lot by using it.

To get started, write a couple short sentences your email could consist of. Don't worry too much about the phrasing or grammar, but aim to jot down thoughts as they naturally come out of your head. After this, you are ready for the next step.

How to use Flowrite

1. Write short bullet points as instructions

To get started, jot down thoughts as they naturally come out of your head. That's it. You are ready for the next step.

2. Choose the type of email you want to write

Now is time to consider who's the recipient and what you are trying to achieve with the email? Perhaps you are cold contacting a potential hire, following up on a sales lead, or scheduling a meeting. We got it all covered.

3. Witness AI to generate your email

Now it's time for some magic. After selecting the suitable template, you take it easy for a couple of seconds it takes for Flowrite to generate a fully-fledged email based on your instructions. In case you are dissatisfied with the outcome, it will create a new version with a click of a button. If you trust your email writing skills better, you can also make manual changes before sending the email.

This is possible thanks to our use of the latest advancement in artificial intelligence. If you are still not convinced that it can help you compose better emails, let's forget the instructions altogether and let Flowrite write the whole email for you.

Quite neat, isn't it? +25,000 people that have joined our waitlist for early access to the future of writing sure think so.

You are starting to catch up on how to write better emails already, right? We hope that these email writing tips (and perhaps our tool) could get you started on your journey to send better emails with confidence and build trust in your email writing skills.

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