With the World Wide Web recently celebrating its 25th birthday, many people have been reflecting on the peaks and troughs of this great invention. The World Wide Web refers to how people share information between the interconnected computers of the Internet and this had led to many great creations of its own – such as email.

Emails have completely revolutionised the way in which we contact other people. While we may have used them sparingly to start with, they are now often the first form of contact – especially for businesses. Yet, just because many of us use them on a daily basis doesn’t mean we use them in the best way.

Business email etiquette

Here we run through a handful of the dos and don’ts of email etiquette to make sure you’re up to speed. From looking at appropriate terminology to understanding how to archive emails for exchange to preserve security, we cover all the bases.

DO: email regularly

DON’T: be a nuisance

While email is an ideal communication format for businesses, it’s vital that you strike a balance when determining how often to email clients or customers. While you need a regular email presence that keeps them engaged with your brand, overloading them with emails will only have a negative impact. Little and often is the key here – after all, in 2013 the primary reason for unsubscribing from emails was the frequency with which they were sent (according to a report by Digital River).

DO: keep hold of your emails

DON’T: let them clutter up your inbox

There are many instances when you may need to access old emails as part of your job. This can range from searching for vital correspondence between you and a client to simply needing to find written record of a confirmed order or cost. All email providers set a limit on the amount of data you can store in your inbox so it’s important that you look at how to archive emails for exchange. This system allows you to store old messages securely so that they’re there when you need them but can’t be accessed without the necessary authorisation.

DO: be friendly in your tone

DON’T: be unprofessional

Writing appropriate emails is probably the biggest issue businesses face. While you don’t want to appear as a faceless corporate machine, it’s important you don’t let a friendly tone stray into the unprofessional. The trick is to be approachable without being overly familiar. Slang has no place in business emails so make sure you’re using correct English and always proofread messages for spelling and grammar before sending.

DO: reply to emails promptly

DON’T: set unrealistic expectations you can’t follow

Replying to your clients or customers promptly is an important part of guaranteeing a successful business but that doesn’t always mean answering them immediately. Answering every email you receive as soon as you read it will not only leave you with little time for anything else but also sets unrealistic expectations you’ll be unable to meet. Instead, prioritise your emails by importance and delay responses to any non-urgent emails. Your client will still be impressed by the prompt reply but delaying some responses will give you both a little breathing space in between messages.

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