Receiving and responding to email is a large part of a business owners’ role. Even though we are Dog Trainers, Pet Care Providers, Groomers, we still have a responsibility to communicate professionally which means it is effective and easily understood.
Using proper email etiquette will ensure you are not offending others or being rude and that your communication is received well and understood. Emails last a long time and can stay on an email server for years!
Here are some tips to ensure that your emails are well-written and display good email etiquette:
- First, understand when email is appropriate versus text or some other messaging system. I don’t personally like to use messenger for important business as I feel it should be done via my inbox. This ensures the communication can be archived for the business, it can be saved, forwarded or used some other way.
- Avoid using email to write a long letter. Most people will not read the entire email if they have to scroll through it. When I get an email that reads like a thesis my heart rate increases. It makes it really hard to read and get to the facts. Keep email simple and short so its easy for the reader to understand quickly what you are communicating.
- Avoid getting straight to the point to your email. Do not forget to be polite and use common courtesies. For example, before asking for what you want, ask how they are or how was his or her weekend. How you address this will depend on how well you know the individual you are emailing and what type of relationship you have. Is it a friend, relative, client?
- Don’t use shorthand or text messaging abbreviations in your emails. Not everyone understands them or has the time to look them up. It’s important to know your audience and communicate effectively so they can understand your communication easily.
- Make sure to use spell check and proper grammar. Remember your written communication speaks volumes about you. Sloppy emails can depart from an important message. You are also your brand and everything you do represents you and how you are perceived. Control your image and represent yourself well.
- Remember to say please and thank you. Common courtesy should not be omitted from written communication. A simple “hope this finds you well” or “how are you” is a nice way to start. Be careful about being too personal, assuming a relationship that does not exist can be harmful to your business relationship. Always address your audience and know who they are!
- If you are contacting someone who is unfamiliar to you, avoid using his or her first name. Instead, use Mr., Mrs., etc. Always double check the spelling of names and use preferred pronouns if you know them.
- Never type your email in all capital letters. This is seen as screaming and is difficult to read. Check the fonts you use also. Ariel and Verdana are recommended for digital use such as email.
- Give your emails appropriate titles. This makes emails easier to find in the future. For example, if you reply to an email titled “The Next Class Dates” and your content is about treats to use, it will be harder to search and find the email later on. You can always replace or change the title when you email the sender this new information.
- Use BCC and CC appropriately. If you are sending out an email to several people who do not know each other, then it is best to use BCC not CC. There is nothing more irritating than seeing your email in an open format sent to lots of other people you don’t know. On that note, when you replay to a distribution email, don’t cc everyone, unless they really need to read your message.
Following these tips should help you write effective and polite emails.