E-Mail Etiquette (16 Tips for Success)

For many businesses, e-mails have become by-far the most commonly used method to communicate to their customers, prospects, vendors, and to other staff members.  When that happens, the e-mail correspondence takes the place of the “sharp suit”, the well-designed business card, the attention getting presentation folder, and the well-adorned lobby.  That is why I am frequently amazed at how little attention businesses give to the appearance and general handling of e-mails.  The company has a dress code, company shirts, behavior policies, etc, but no policies and no training for how to handle electronic communications.  Here are a few tips to consider for good e-mail “netiquette”.

  1. Create an e-mail use policy and provide training (should I use the word “liability”?).
  2. Require timely and complete responses.
  3. Reply to ALL questions, not just the first one noticed while speed-reading.
  4. Attempt to preempt further questions.
  5. Require that all users spell-check ALL e-mails by default.
  6. Use corporate templates for frequently asked questions.
  7. Quote the sender’s e-mail to establish continuity (aka creating a “thread”)
  8. Don’t type in ALL CAPITALS, or too much punctuation!!!!!
  9. Please use meaningful subject lines.  It makes finding e-mails later a lot easier for everyone.  If appropriate, modify the subject when replying.
  10. Avoid using deliver and read receipts for all e-mails.
  11. Avoid using e-mail for confidential information.  E-Mails are not truly private.
  12. Limit the number of cc’s listed.
  13. Standardize e-mails closing company-wide.
  14. Avoid long closings, with large amounts of text and/or logos.
  15. Avoid sending attached logos, use HTML references to images (look for a future blog post on how).
  16. Unless required by your legal council, avoid using full closing with each and every back and forth.


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