Have you ever had to read an email several times just because you could not figure out its meaning, especially if the sender used abbreviations. Some of the emails are not specific enough and won't tell you what action is required; so you have to email back and forth to find out what is expected of you.
I have put together 8 tips on how to make your emails efficient, effective and easily understandable by the recipient.
1. Use meaningful subject
We all receive lots of emails every day and if each of them contained "Hi" or even nothing in the subject line it would be very difficult to process and organize them. You don't want the subject line to be too long, but you do want it to be as descriptive as possible to let the reader know if the email is urgent and what it is about. For example, "Free Inbound Marketing Webinar - October 17, 2013 @ 10AM" is much better than just "Free Webinar".
2. Use proper spelling, grammar and punctuation
You want to remain professional even in your emails. Emails that don't include full stops and commas are difficult to read and can even change the meaning of your message. Refrain from abbreviations unless they're commonly used in your internal communication, and such emails are not sent out to the clients.
3. Create templates
Save time by using templates to answer frequently asked questions. You can keep your standard message in a Word document or as a draft email, and then just copy and paste. If you use MS Outlook, save your email as a template on your computer. Choose New Email, compose your message and click on the File tab to choose Save As option. Pick a location on your computer where you want the template to be stored, name the template, and click Save. Once you're ready to use your template, open it, personalize the message and send it.
4. Reply swiftly
It's a good practice to reply to emails within 24 hours, preferably the same business day. If there are actions you need to take before replying to the email and you know they will take you several days, let the sender know and give them an approximate time frame within which you will reply. They will appreciate it.
5. Use 'Reply All' only if necessary
Use the 'Reply All' function only if all the recipients of the original email need to see your message. You don't want to overload people with unnecessary emails.
6. Read your email message before you send it
This happens to all of us. We type quickly to transfer our thoughts onto the email and we make typos and grammatical errors. Before sending your email out, read it again. Correct any typos, add missing words, and so on.
7. Use signature
Your signature should include your name, phone/fax number, web address and your email address.
8. Say Thank you!
You requested a piece of information and it was sent to you. Please, take the time to reply with two simple words: "Thank you!"
And remember, words can be forgiven but not forgotten; so be polite and respectful of others.