6 Common Email Mistakes and easy ways to fix them right now!
Whether you are using email for marketing or simply for business correspondence, there are common mistakes people make in their emails every single day that are making you appear unorganized, unprofessional, confusing, or possibly even rude. Let’s fix these and clean up your image a bit, shall we?
Mistake #1: Unclear/vague subject lines.
If you’re writing to ask about a meeting, use those words in the subject line. When people can identify the subject of the email, they are quicker to open it, and MUCH QUICKER to find that email again if they are searching for it later. Write every subject line with the assumption they are going to look for it again next week – how will they find it?
Fix: GET DESCRIPTIVE IN YOUR SUBJECT LINE!
Mistake #2: Multiple topics in one email.
If you want to ask someone if they are prepared for tomorrow’s meeting and also request last quarter’s revenue report, don’t put it in the same email. They are likely to see the first thing you mention, or pick the one they find most important, and only focus on that. Tomorrow’s meeting prep needs to be answered now. The revenue report could possibly be done another time. Separating subjects also helps you get concrete answers. Don’t you hate it when you ask someone four questions and they respond with the answer to only one or two? Don’t set yourself up for that! This also relates to mistake #1 – if they want to search later for the email, they may type in the main topic and forget the other one.
Fix: KEEP TO ONE SUBJECT PER EMAIL
Mistake #3: Copying too many people
If people need to be in the loop, by all means cc them on your email. Before you automatically include every single person you think may be interested, however, give it some thought. Many times people are added as a courtesy, but they may not appreciate all the replies that follow from everyone else cc’d on the email. If someone is not directly involved in the conversation thread, might it be better to forward them a copy of the email afterward? Then they have the information without getting caught up in a conversation that is not necessary for them to be part of.
Fix: CC ONLY THOSE CRITICAL TO THE CONVERSATION
Mistake #4: Not having a call to action
When you email someone, you probably expect them to do something. RSVP to an event, answer a question, send you information, visit a website, call you back, etc. Not every email has to have a “next step,” but for those that do, ask them directly for what you want. “Please let me know by 4:00,” “call me to set up a time,” “buy your ticket here,” and “read this week’s blog post” are all calls to action. You don’t have to be selling something to need a call to action.
Fix: SPELL IT OUT FOR THEM – WHAT DO YOU WANT THEM TO DO?
Mistake #5: Not checking spelling, grammar, punctuation before you send
Some people have the opinion that email is a casual, quick, informal means of communication, therefore the rules of the English language (or whichever language you’re using) don’t apply. Not so! Email can be a quick way to ask a question or share information, but it is an actual documented form of communication, much like a written note or letter. Using a computer keyboard instead of a pen and paper doesn’t lessen the expectations for professionalism. Please check your spelling and grammar before hitting send. Not everyone is a grammar police, but you might be surprised how many people are, and their opinion of you drops a notch every time they see a sloppy, mistake-ridden email.
Fix: CHECK YOUR WORK JUST LIKE IT WAS BEING PRINTED IN A BOOK
Mistake #6: No signature block with contact information
This one is easy to do, but also easily overlooked. Have you ever wanted to pick up the phone and call the person who emailed you, or go to their website, and that information isn’t even in their email? It can be frustrating, right? Create a standard signature block. It can be as short as your name and phone number, or as long as complete name, title, company name, website, email, and all other contact information. Some people even include a short quote, whether an inspirational message or a client testimonial. Regardless of what you create, or how many, you can pre-program your signature to appear in every single email you write. Easy to do and most of all, easy for email recipients.
Fix: CREATE AN EMAIL SIGNATURE BLOCK AND PRE-PROGRAM IT!
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