I often send customers emails that contain one or more website links. When I do this, I always check each and every link and make sure that it actually goes to the expected location.
You don't want to send a customer an email that says "here's a link to my website" and then have them click through only to find that the link doesn't go to the correct place do you?
Website addresses have to be spelled correctly or they won't work. Best case scenario when an address is mispelled is a search engine result that may or may not contain the correct link. Worst case scenario is a "404 file not found" or "oops" page.
This is especially important when dealing with pages within a website i.e. not the home page. These page addresses can often get a bit long and complicated. In these cases, I go to the page I want to link to with my internet browser and copy the address out of the address bar at the top of the screen. Then I paste it into my email. As a final check, I click on the link from the email.
This can be a bit tricky with mobile devices which often don't make the link clickable until you send the email. In this case, copying the link into your internet browser is a good way to check if it's correct.
A little trick I learned when sending an email that contains an attachment: add the attachment first before you even begin typing, so you won't forget to add it when you hit send.
Also, before you send, click on the attachment from the email to make sure it's the correct file and that it opens correctly.
Check the size of your attachment. You don't want to send huge files that will clog up someone's mailbox. Many mail programs have a limit of 5MB so if your attachments is bigger, the email may not even send.
Your signature is especially important in business emails. Make sure your name and/or company name is listed so the recipient will know who you are.
It also helps to list your phone and/or website in case the recipient needs to call you or refer to something on your website.
Most email programs will even let you include a signature link or image in your emails. Just be careful with images, they don't always come through (especially if the recipient has their mail client set to "Text Only") and you don't want to include a huge image file that eats up your recipients bandwith.
Before you hit that send button proofread what you have written. Re-read to make sure it says what you think it does, check your grammar, check your spelling (not just with spellcheck which is often wrong) and most of all make sure what you have written is clear, concise and easy to understand.
You want to convey the impression that you are an articulate, intelgent and professional business person. You also want the recipient of your email to know that you respect them and their time. Taking a little more of your own time to proofread and make sure your emails sound professional goes a long way toward both of these ends.
Email is a great way of communicating for business.
However, it has its drawbacks. Most of these stem from a lack of clear communication.
Get to the point. If you need to introduce yourself and your reason for emailing, do so in the first paragraph. Keep it simple. Your reader doesn't need to know your whole life story, just your reasons for emailing.
Lay out your topics/questions in an orderly fashion - not just stream of conciousness. If you need to get all your ideas down quickly, do so, but then edit what you have written to make logical sense.
Use paragraphs to define separate topics, issues, etc. It is very hard to read a long string of sentences and/or questions that are strung together with no rhyme or reason.
Put yourself in the position of the reader. I know that you know what you meant to say, but would some random stranger be able to read it and understand what you are talking about? If not, then edit your more to make your point clear.
These days many of us use email as a primary source of communication for our businesses.
Emails do seem to lend themselves to a slightly less formal approach than the old fashioned business letter, but how you address your recipient in your email should be appropriate to the level of formality in your relationship.
For instance, unless I know the person really well I never use the word "dear" in the salutation - that just seems too personal to me. That's just me though - use your own judgement.
I also feel that if you know the name of the person you are emailing, you should address them by name. This adds a level of personalization and it also feels more respectful (you know who you are addressing - it's not just some random person).
I usually try to opt for something simple such as "Hi John" or "Good Morning John". Use whatever feels comfortable to you for the situation.
Two things I would definitely recommend:
- Definitely use some sort of salutation especially if it's a first email or the first reply to an email you received (long threads of quick reponses going back and forth can omit the salutation for expediency's sake)
- Spell the recipient's name correctly. To do otherwise is disrepectful. Also, don't shorten the recipient's name to a nickname unless they have done so first. (If they give you their nickname, feel free to use it.)
Remember how you address people is a sign of respect.