Write by email

Writing business email: tips and samples

A well-written one Business mail can open the entry gate to the deal - or shut it down for good. If you want to attract the attention of the recipient, to put yourself in a good light, you should pay attention to a few things. Career Bible has collected the most important pieces of advice. So write the perfect business email.

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Business mail: Please note

over 205 billion emails are sent worldwide - per day. Most have a business background, including many spam, commercial, and bulk emails. A large part of electronic mail ends up in the trash - according to a study by the online marketing specialists at GetResponse, 78 percent.

Nevertheless: E-mails are still the electronic tool of choice to contact a (potential) business partner, to introduce oneself, to follow up, to initiate a business. What should you look for in a Business mail respect, think highly of? We have put together the most important tips for you.

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Business mail: definition

Basically, a distinction must be made between ...

  • Email Marketing: This includes newsletters, mailings and other e-mails that are intended to directly promote the sale of goods or services.
  • Email service communication: These are mainly automated mails. You can get it, for example, if you have logged on to Twitter, ordered something from Amazon or changed the password on Facebook.
  • Business mail: These include, for example, invoices and reminders, but also non-binding contacts, exchanges between project partners, status updates or acquisition efforts. This is the only category we are concerned with today.

In practice, almost everyone writes business emails these days. According to figures from the Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (BVDW) from 2015, six out of ten companies in Germany operate e-mail marketing and service communication, eight out of ten companies maintain e-mail business communication. It is reasonable to assume that the numbers have risen rather than fallen since then.

Business communication: safety first

IT security - an area that causes headaches for many companies, not just large corporations. In December 2016, for example, the Goldeneye Trojan hit medium-sized companies - disguised as an unsolicited application. If the recipients clicked on the attachment to the email - often an Excel list - they downloaded malware onto their computers.

A case of you make suspicious should: For example, even if a completely unknown sender sends you a supposedly serious business inquiry emails. Therefore, do not lightly open unknown attachments in business emails. You should also consider encrypting your business emails. After all, the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) also wrote in its 2016 annual report that the Hacker and cyberattack threats increase.

Salutation

The opening rates of e-mails with direct salutation in the subject line are, according to GetResponse, 26 percent higher than impersonal e-mails, and the click-through rate is also higher. But this is particularly relevant for email marketing and mass emails. In business emails, from person to person, you should start the text of the recipient out of courtesy and appreciation address personally.

Important: Notation Check the name against it, for example on the company website. Pay particular attention to umlauts (often attract the devil of mistakes). There are no alibis for misspelled first or last names, whether the recipient is Michael Meier (with i), Dimitri Potoparov or Hidayet Demirbilek.

Spell the name correctly. As you have probably already noticed, this is unfortunately not a matter of course.

The following variants are particularly suitable for the salutation:

  • Dear Sir / Madam (formal first contact)
  • Dear Ladies and Gentlemen (if the addressee is unknown)
  • Dear Sir / Madam (if you already know each other better; also ok with the first contact)
  • Hello Mrs. / Mr. (a bit casual, but within the tolerance range)
  • Good afternoon Ms / Mr (a little stiff, but a solid middle ground)

Salutations like Dear Madam / Sir or Dear Sir / Madam. You should only use them if you are (knowingly) dealing with an old-school business partner.

Subject

Please do not forget to fill out the subject line sensibly. The best subject lines are ...

  • shortbut not cryptic
  • descriptive, but at the same time arouse curiosity
  • urgentbut not intrusive
  • invitingbut not outrageous

In the case of marketing emails, the subject line decides whether an email is clicked at all - in the case of business emails, not least on WHEN and how often it is clicked. The market researchers of the Nielsen Norman Group recommend looking at the first 40 characters to focus. "Descriptive and well-written subject lines enable the recipient to make an informed decision about whether they want to learn more details or otherwise continue," said the market researcher.

It is important to outline the content as precisely as possible in 40 characters, including important keywords. Above all, the subject line shouldn't be a mystery. Elementary: No special characters or keywords that could automatically migrate the mail to the spam folder.

Examples of useful subject lines in business mail:

  • Current status of project XY
  • Inquiry about your call
  • Appointment for kick-off meeting

Business Mail: You Can Cost the Presidency!

Business emails can even get you in a mess in the US presidential campaign. When it came out that Hillary Clinton During her time as Foreign Minister from 2009 to 2013 she carried out her official communication entirely from her private account, it was a hit for the political opponent. Furthermore, Clinton didn't have an official address, so all emails came here: [email protected]

General problem: private e-mails are - as a rule - less well protected from hackers. A Security risk for the state? In retrospect, it is difficult to judge whether the e-mail scandal cost Clinton the presidency - probably not.

The moral of the story though: write it Business emails if possible always from yours Service account out. An official address will give you credibility, a certain authority and often more security.

content

The basic rules for the content of a business mail are:

  • Meet expectations

    The nicest subject line is of no use to you if it turns out to be a cheap click bait afterwards. It should reproduce in abbreviated form what is discussed in the mail itself. Rule of thumb number one: Don't make promises in the subject line that you (cannot) keep in the text.

  • Put it politely

    That starts with the Salutation at (Dear Sir / Dear Sir) and listen to the Greeting on (Many greetings / best regards). The installation of Politeness phrases, that is, polite, but basically superfluous formulations. These include, for example: Thank you for your mail or I look forward to your reply. This expresses appreciation, draws the reader a little closer to your side, and immediately appears more personable.

  • In short

    And get down to business as quickly as possible. A business email should be more like a cover letter than a speech. So don't start with a gag or anecdote. You write in the first sentencewho you are (if that's not already clear) and what you do. Immediately after what it's about and what you want. No long explanations, Bridges or junctions. If there are really complex issues to resolve, a phone call is probably a better option. When you contact us for the first time, you should use the e-mail do not overload with information.

  • request

    The call to action - or in new German: the Call to Action - belongs in front of the greeting. As a rule, it is not a direct request in the command tone, but more subtle and subtle. Examples: What do you make of it?, Please give me a call or I look forward to your reply.

Business emails: don't send too many!

Anyone who relies solely on email for professional communication could damage their business. That is what Gregory Northcraft of the University of Illinois believes. A few years ago he divided 200 students into groups in an experiment and had them complete teamwork exercises. One group worked in physical presence together, the other collaborated via video conferencing, another communicated via Emails.

Result: The members of group 1 developed the most trust and cooperated best with one another. The participants in the email group, on the other hand, worked the worst together, with the Skypers somewhere in between. Northcraft's conclusion: “When people come face to face, they have more confidence that others will do what they say. If they only write emails, they trust each other less. "

shape

Shape is important, but shouldn't be formality be confused. The content can be lively and gripping (if it is also brief and informative at the same time).

And a Volatility Typo is not the end of the world, it can even indicate that you did not send a standard e-mail, but were personally involved in the matter with great enthusiasm (you should not deliberately include a typo). Basically, however, it shows seriousness, accuracy, seriousness if you pay attention to the following criteria:

  • Standardized font use (preferably Arial, Verdana or Helvetica in dark).
  • No smileys or use other emoticons (unless you already know the recipient very well).
  • Correct Spelling and Grammar note (including punctuation, upper and lower case).
  • In full sentences write (no half-clauses or sentence modules).
  • No shortcuts use (except very common ones like etc., etc., e.g.).
  • Paragraphs and blank lines incorporate for better readability.

Enough

The greeting at the end is essential (except for ping-pong emails). The following building blocks are a good choice:

  • With best regards (Standard, but very sober)
  • Kind regards to Berlin (shorter variant with location reference)
  • Best regards (personally)
  • Best regards (modern)
  • Best wishes (classic)
  • Best regards (casually)
  • best regards (with colleagues or good friends)

signature

The signature gives your mail an official character and you credibility. First and last name, company, position, contact details belong at least here, possibly also social media buttons. Incidentally, the following applies to signatures: No problem if they are very long (well structured that long).

You can set up a signature relatively easily in Outlook or alternatively attach a business card. But that is clearly the worse option. Attachments are associated with circumstances and often even a source of danger for the recipient.

Attachments

In the first contact you should completely avoid attachments of any kind. If you send manuscripts, documents, applications, contracts, then make sure that the attachment does not exceed the famous 5 MB limit. Oversized attachments cause extra work and data congestion for the recipient - clear stop sign!

And: don't send any exotic formats. It's best to go with the classics: JPG, PDF or DOC.

correction

At the end of every email there is a correction. Proofreading once thoroughly - you should get used to that in principle. Beware: the devil of errors creeps in not only in spelling and grammar.

An everyday example: You conscientiously write an important email on Friday and close with the greeting best regards and have a nice weekend from. But now you want to check something before you send the mail, so leave it in the drafts folder for the time being and only send it on the following Monday.

Well, your weekend greeting could be on Monday for Serenity to care. Maybe it will be well received, but maybe it will also signal lack of care, creates suspicion or the recipient sees it as an inappropriate joke. So: Pay attention to such details.

time

The - perhaps - best time to send your business e-mail: Tuesdays to Thursdays between 7.30 a.m. and 10 a.m. At this time, most of them sort their inboxes, going through the emails from the previous day. The time window between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. is also an option.

Reason: The workforce comes out of the lunch break well fed - and sits down with them fresh energy again in front of the monitor.

timing is also important if you reply by email. Example: You receive an email with a complex issue. Anyone who replies two minutes later gives the impression that they have not dealt with the topic at all.

The other way around: In the case of a brief, concise request, you should not let the sender fidget for days, but rather reply as quickly as possible.

Checklist: 5 steps to the perfect business email

  • Salutation: Start with a suitable salutation: Dear Ms. Teichmann or Dear Mr. Koehler
  • thanksgiving: Thank you - as a matter of courtesy. There is (almost) always a reason for this. Thank you for your message, Thank you for your inquiry, Thank you for your interest, thank you for your application
  • issue: Briefly and succinctly explain the reason for your e-mail. Nobody likes long e-mails. I wanted to ask you whether ...I would like to suggest that ...I am the new colleague from XY and wanted to introduce myself to you.
  • Closing word: That can be another thank you or an indirect call to action (I look forward to your call back) or an offer (If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me).
  • Greeting: Who best regards sends, basically can't go wrong. Then proofread and send again.

Business Mail: These are the 7 Deadly Sins

Labor psychologist Emma Russell from Kingston University in London believes the seven Deadly Sins in Email Communication to have identified. Whereby the label mortal sin is probably a bit too high, because for each of the seven points there are very justified reasons and scenarios.

In most cases, however, please do not do this:

  1. Ping pong mails: If both actors repeatedly click on "Reply", an endless line emerges. Sometimes helpful, but often annoying and confusing.
  2. time: Out-of-hour mails are those that you write at impossible times, for example at night or on the weekend. They create pressure.
  3. society: Do you want someone to look over your shoulder while you email? E-mailing in company is also a very bad idea because it can influence and falsify the content.
  4. ignorance: Not responding to an e-mail at all is impossible - but it probably happens to everyone sooner or later.
  5. Read receipt: Those who claim it want to reinsure themselves. Unfortunately, it also seems very demanding, impolite, sometimes even outrageous. Better not do it.
  6. Alerts: Email alerts often contain a clear message: Please do not reply to this email. However, not everyone takes the advice to heart.
  7. automation: Automatically generated email replies are impersonal and do not go down well. Nevertheless, they are sometimes indispensable - for example when you are absent due to vacation.

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