Email Etiquette Examples For Business Communications

Email etiquette examples are universally accepted guidelines for all forms of business communication. Here are 12 etiquette rules to follow.

email etiquette examples

Business communication directly reflects your brand. We’re not just talking about sending an informal or formal email. At the end of the day, how you conduct yourself is all about etiquette. 

Email etiquette is a system of rules or beliefs that guide our communication strategies. It tells us what tone, voice, and overall message should be used when emailing. 

Learning to distinguish good email etiquette from bad improves our communication, conveys professionalism, and helps us avoid unnecessary misunderstandings. 

But to truly understand the concepts of email etiquette, we need to learn the basics, such as:

  • What is the foundation of email etiquette
  • Why is email etiquette important
  • Examples of email etiquette 
  • Bad email etiquette examples
  • Email etiquette best practices to follow

What is the Foundation of Email Etiquette?

netiquette

As mentioned, email etiquette is a set of rules we should follow. However, nobody really governs these rules. Think of it as a collective understanding based on the following foundations:

Professionalism

Since we’re in the realm of business communication, we always want to convey a sense of professionalism in every email. Proper email language shows that we’re respectable, considerate, and efficient. 

Efficiency

Writing short and concise emails—that’s business communication 101. But there’s a difference between a short email and one that’s efficient.  A short email is just an email with a few words. 

Efficiency means getting to the core message in a clear and understandable way.

Clarity of Expression

Expression is the tone we use in our emails. The appropriate tone and email format help us avoid misunderstandings or conflicts. It’s all about clarity of expression. Being clear with what we’re trying to convey makes our emails succinct and protects us from liability. 

Protection from liability

Misunderstandings can easily lead to liabilities in the professional space. All businesses are legally responsible for the content or actions carried out via email. Examples of these are defamation, harassment, and disclosure of confidential information. 

Why is Email Etiquette Important?

Email etiquette streamlines business communication and gives recipients an idea of who we are, how professional we are, and our intelligence. 

For example, a common email etiquette is writing an email free of errors and grammar lapses. If our emails are riddled with mistakes, it negatively affects our entire business. 

When we practice the proper etiquette in our emails, we streamline inter-office and remote communications. More importantly, it future-proofs all our emails moving forward. 

Examples of Email Etiquette

email ettiquette

Email etiquette helps standardize our business communication. Here are the 12 fundamental email etiquette examples every business or individual should follow: 

Use Standard Formatting

In almost all situations, standard formatting should be the go-to when emailing. Changing the font, text size, or color might be inappropriate in most cases. 

If you need to use italics or bold text, use them scarcely. Don’t use them in entire paragraphs or a long string of words. 

Sometimes, HTML emails with lots of graphics can lead to deliverability issues. Read our guide on HTML vs Plain Text to know which works best for you. 

Include A Clear Subject Line

Subject lines should be relevant to your core message. For example, if you want to follow up on a missing email attachment, you can write: “following up on {{topic}} attachment.” 

As a rule of thumb, you need to be clear and direct. In cold email campaigns, emails with relevant, brief, and descriptive subject lines get more open rates. 

You should also consider mobile users. On average, the recommended subject line length that can be fully seen on mobile is about four to seven words or 30 to 50 characters. 

Email From A Professional Email Address

Are you sending a business email? Then, you should use a professional email address—not the email you made in high school, like “[email protected].”

If you’re just working as a freelancer without a business domain, using your first name + last name as your email will do just fine. 

Including numbers should also be fine; just don’t go overboard. One or two numbers would do. And, never use symbols as it’s unprofessional and can cause issues. 

Use the Correct Email Structure

Business or professional emails have a rigid structure that makes them easy to write. There’s already a guideline; all you must do is fill in the blanks.

Here’s a quick rundown of a standard email structure: 

  • Include a subject line relevant to the core message of the email
  • Use a greeting and salutation
  • Introductions should be used when emailing a person for the first time
  • The email body should be short and concise 
  • Use a professional sign-off

Use Professional Greetings

Greetings and salutations set the tone for the entire email. Email etiquette tells us that our greetings can be adjusted depending on who we’re emailing. 

For example, using “Hello, {{first name}}” should be fine when you’re emailing a coworker. However, if you’re emailing a doctor or a lawyer, you must acknowledge their title. 

It’s also best practice to use your recipient's full name, not shortened versions. You can’t assume a person named “Thomas” goes by “Tom” unless they used that email signature before. 

Use an Introduction

If you’re emailing someone who doesn’t know you or your business, it’s proper etiquette to introduce yourself in the first few lines. Let them know how you got their information as well. 

“My name is {{your name}} and I represent {{your company}}. {{Short blurb on how you got their email information}}. I contacted you because {{reason for emailing}}".

Make your introduction short and sweet. You don’t want to over-explain and make the first half of the email entirely about yourself. 

Choose Your Sign Off Carefully

Sign-offs are like the ribbon we tie to a gift we worked so hard for. If the subject line, salutation, and intro help create a good first impression, sign-offs make a lasting one. 

When choosing your email sign-off, consider the tone of your email and your audience. The first letter of the first word in a sign-off should only be capitalized. 

Some of the most effective sign-offs we’ve found are:

  • Thanks in advance,
  • Looking forward to learn more (or any action-oriented CTA)
  • Best regards,
  • Kind regards, 

Avoid using sign-offs that are informal and questionable, such as:

  • Love,
  • Yours truly,
  • Peace,
  • Shortened versions of words (Thx, Rgds) 

Maintain a Professional Tone

In almost all cases, stick with a friendly, polite, and professional tone. Here’s how you can achieve this in your next email. 

  • Provide succinct information based on facts rather than opinions or emotions.
  • Avoid writing an email in ALL CAPS. Reading it can come out like the person is shouting.
  • Avoid negative words or sarcasm in emails (it might not translate well without context).
  • Always use complete sentences and proper grammar. 

Mark Recipients in the Appropriate Tags

There will always be times when you need to tag other people in an email. This happens a lot in corporate settings. 

Proper email etiquette states that the people tagged in the “To” field must be the ones you want to act on your request.

Those in the “CC” (carbon copy) field are people you don’t want to take action but should still be notified of any changes the action might cause. 

The BCC (blind carbon copy) field is the recipient you want to stay hidden. Other recipients won’t see the people tagged in this field. 

Don't Share Controversial Topics

Even if you’re just working in a company and sending emails to a coworker with whom you’re extremely close, sharing controversial topics with offensive language can harm the organization irreparably. 

So, avoid talking about, sharing, or forwarding emails with topics of racism, sexism, religion, politics, or gossip that might be circulating within or outside your workplace. 

Don't Email Confidential or Private Information

Confidential information, such as company financial projections, business forecasts, customer lists, employee information, or sales patents, is protected by law. 

Sharing these emails with people without the authority to view them can lead to serious repercussions. We don’t want to run into any legal issues. 

In addition, you shouldn’t talk about private information about your coworkers. For example, a coworker told you something in private about a sensitive topic. 

Avoid Excessive or Unfamiliar Email Abbreviations

Even in niche markets, communication has to be clear. That’s why we need to avoid using excessive or unfamiliar abbreviations. 

Spell out words completely instead of using abbreviations. Acronyms should be limited to widely used ones within your industry. 

An email riddled with abbreviations can cause confusion and might alienate your recipient. If you need to use abbreviations, include a short description to clear up confusion. 

Key Takeaways

Email etiquette provides companies and individuals with a guideline when sending business communications. These guidelines are based on a collective understanding of professionalism, efficiency, and clarity. Here’s a rundown of important email etiquette examples:

  • Use standard formatting when writing a professional email. 
  • Subject lines should be clear, concise, and relevant to the core message. 
  • Always email from a professional sender address. 
  • Use proper email structure from subject lines to email sign-offs.
  • Remember to tag the appropriate people on the right email tags. 
  • Never share confidential or controversial information to avoid liabilities

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