By Ayo Oyedotun
Email still remains the oldest and most important means of communication on the web for businessmen. Particularly, businesses prefer to communicate via email as it automatically documents business interactions and also creates room for attaching relevant materials as well as redirecting to other important websites. In spite of this positive change in business culture, many people still lag behind in business communication via emails.
If today’s business terrain makes communication via email a necessity for every businessperson, then it is wise to learn simple but useful tips for writing business to business emails that will generate quick and positive results for your business.
Starting from the headline and introduction, all through the body, conclusion, closing and signature, business to business emails must be properly crafted to generate effective and positive response from recipients. In this post, we shall highlight eight important tips for making your business to business emails very effective. If you get this right, your emails will begin to get faster and more favorable responses. Eventually, your interaction with clients via email will become hitch-free, because there will be clearer communication, which fosters business interaction.
1. Write Actionable Subjects
Your email subject is your first step to capturing the attention of your clients, associates and partners in business to business emails. This is especially important in emailing people you have not previously interacted with. It is also your first impression on the reader, determining their disposition towards the content of your email.
You must always believe that your recipient is very busy and likely has over a hundred emails to attend to along with your email.
Avoid subjects like,
Subject: Very Urgent
Subject: Read Immediately
Subject: Quick Question
These are bland and are not really helpful to your recipients who may have a lot of emails to read every day.
Instead use actionable titles like,
Business to business email subjects:
Subject: Afrodash Server is Down… Activate Backup
Subject: New Stock Arriving Tomorrow… Call Fumigation Unit
Subject: Confirm or Cancel Pending Order
Subject: Container MSCHLA56GH1 Has Arrived… Must Clear in 7 Days
Subject: Download Kansas Business Directory [Attached]
It is advisable to write your email subjects after writing the content of the email. That way, you will be able to highlight the summary of your message in the subject and ensure it is actionable. Note that blank or bland email subjects will get easily lost among the tens of hundreds of emails received everyday by many businesspersons.
Later in this post, you will see that email subjects also form part of your checklist before sending out emails.
2. Trim the Fat, but Keep the Meat of Your Email Body Intact
As we said earlier, you must assume your recipients are very busy and have over a hundred emails to attend to. So, write succinct and clear messages.
If possible, begin your emails with a brief compliment like,
Business to business email compliment:
Thanks for the links.
May I ask a favor?
Then, politely and directly communicate your message. Avoid stuffing more than one request in one paragraph. Instead, separate your requests into short paragraphs delineated by blank lines. Also avoid using fancy fonts.
If you have too many messages to communicate; instead of stuffing all your points into one email, write individual emails for them. That way, the recipient will be able to reply, forward or archive each message as required.
Business to business email body example:
50, 000 Isa Brown birds are arriving tomorrow from our Bellaway factory. The birds were hatched today and will be vaccinated against Mareks tomorrow. Call the fumigation unit to clear the residual formalin in the brooding house.
Also ask the fumigation team to come over to our Bellaway factory afterwards to clear off the remains of the hatched chicks. The sanitation unit will be present to help them dispose their wastes.
Ensure you revise and proofread the body of your emails before sending to your clients. When doing this, take note of your grammatical correlation as well as message clarity.
3. Don’t Send Dog Food to Cat House
Ensure you copy your email recipients judiciously. Be careful not to ‘reply all’ unnecessarily. Everybody that receives your email should immediately know why they have been copied.
It is very irritating to receive unwarranted emails. You should also bear in mind that people who send emails to you may have sent copies to some irrelevant emails mistakenly. You shouldn’t repeat the same mistake. You should double-check before clicking ‘reply all’.
Note that using BCC prevents your recipient from knowing the other people in the thread. So, avoid using BCC unless you are absolutely sure you don’t want your recipients to know the other emails in the list.
4. Highlight the Most Important Messages in Attachments
If you are sending an attachment in your email, it is advisable to highlight the summary of the attachment in your email. This primes up the reader and encourages him to read the attachment. Even if he doesn’t eventually open the attachment, he would have known the main thrust of the attachment.
Business to business email example (highlighting attachment contents),
Siva, I would love to discuss Business Modeling and Strategy with your top executives as I promised Dr. Fansidar. The Business Model Canvas and Strategy Canvas I explained in our last business retreat are more relevant as we break into the Africa market; and it would be good to get everyone on the same page. Below, I will paste the content of the Power Point.
- Business Modeling
- Business Model Canvas
- Broadlink Approach
- Strategy Canvas
- Broadlink Strategy
- The Big Picture
The Power Point is attached for your perusal.
5. Reply Your Business to Business Emails in Time
In business, time is critical. If you just wait till you are able to reply instead of first acknowledging emails, you stand the risk of portraying yourself as an unserious businessperson. Besides, your clients will be glad to know what is happening on the other side of the web – whether you have seen their email or not.
So, always ensure you acknowledge every business email you receive as soon as you can. If you can’t reply immediately, let your recipient know when you will be able to reply.
Business to business acknowledgement email example,
Mr. Eugenia, thank you for your many reminders. I will reply you by noon tomorrow when I get feedback from my bank.
6. Be Narrative but Succinct in Explaining Events
If you have to explain a dispute or an important event in your email, make it a story with distinct start, middle and end; and ensure you narrate how the events unfolded coherently. Your intention should be to help the recipient understand the different stages of the event and not tell a “super story”.
7. Requesting for Something? Ask a Direct Question Instead.
You make it easy for your recipient to answer when you ask a direct question than when you make a statement that requires an answer. Also, using a question makes the request important to you. As such, your recipient will likely answer directly. So, always replace ‘let me know if …’ with the corresponding direct question.
Business to business email example (Requesting for something),
Let me know if I should send the PowerPoint [a statement],
Should I send my Power Point slides on business modeling and strategy?
Also instead of,
Let me know if we can meet at for lunch tomorrow to discuss the training,
Can we discuss the training during lunch tomorrow?
8. Review Your Emails before Sending Them Out
Like I always say, business should be taken very seriously. If you mistakenly omit some words like NOT, you may cause a business disaster in some situations. Also, having grammatical errors in your email portrays you as a clumsy or carefree person. So, always carefully review your emails, taking time to proofread for grammatical errors and revise for message coherence and clarity before sending them out.
Below is a checklist for sending business to business emails:
- Revise your email to see if it makes sense
- Proofread your email for grammatical errors
- Check your email subject to be sure it is actionable
- Check your recipients (to avoid sending unwarranted emails)
- Check your email signature. (This may not be necessary if you use a preset email signature that has been carefully formulated to suit your business)
Lastly, ensure you maintain the standard capitalization and punctuation rules in your business to business emails. Writing your email subjects or body all in capital letters implies you are shouting at the reader, whereas writing them all in small letters may imply that you are carefree or that you have low respect for the recipient. Grammatical errors is more common when you are sending a message from your phone or tablet, so you should double check your grammar when sending emails from handheld devices.
For more tips and examples, you should read my former post on this subject – 9 Tips You Need to Write and Respond to Emails Professionally.