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Best Business Email Practice for SME Owners

Subject Lines – Don’t leave the subject line blank but don’t make it too long either.  The whole purpose of a subject line is to offer a brief, but clear explanation of the main topic in the email.  According to email delivery companies, the ideal subject line is about 65 characters in length which is about the same length as the average sentence.  The email subject line should be a succinct description of the email’s contents that has enough information to get the recipient to click and open the email.

Mail Merge – While technology is often blamed for our online mistakes, when it comes to mail merge, errors are often caused by the user.  One small mistake in a mail merge can turn into a serious problem when the bulk email is delivered to your entire customer list or sales funnel.  Mail merges require very precise bracketing and labelling for the names to be mapped to their correct place in an email.  In many cases, simply missing a closing bracket or misspelling in the mail merge forms case issues.  Whenever you send a mail merge email to a group, always double check everything before hitting the send button.

Reply All – When you realise that a message has gone out to more than the intended recipients moments after hitting the send button is too late!  Avoid this by setting your default button to “Reply”, rather than “Reply All”.  Using “Reply All” at the wrong times and sending out emails to too many recipients can result in loss of custom in some cases, so avoid doing this by fine tuning your defaults.

Make it Personal – even though you’re using a template email, make sure that you personalise some areas of the email, by using the recipient’s name or customising a sentence or paragraph in the email that take a more personal approach. 

Keep it Short – Don’t write an essay when a simple paragraph or two will get the message across.  Try to keep your emails to one paragraph in length, plus the requisite greetings.  You may be surprised to learn that most email recipients read the first paragraph of an email and, if they haven’t got the intended message or information, they will click to the next email.  Get your message across straight away.

Don’t do Casual – that means don’t write emails using text message grammar.  Whilst OMG, LOL and LMAO are appropriate acronyms to use when messaging your friends, they do not belong in the business world.  Don’t send email messages to clients or customers that look like text messages between teenagers.  You should always use proper spelling, grammar and punctuation in your emails, as they are business correspondence and should be taken seriously.

Don’t Email Overload – Everybody is busy these days and email takes up too much of our time.  Do your best to gather up information to send in one email, rather than sending a string of emails with a new message in each.  Don’t send business email without a business purpose and keep your emails focused on and limited to the priority issues that impact the recipients.