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15 Ways to Improve your Email Etiquette (and Reputation)

Is poor Email Etiquette creating more work for both parties?  Is it perhaps why you may need to do up to 12 follow ups to make a Sale?

We all like to hear back to our mails whether it is a query, an offer or simply touching base.  Do you agree?

Frankly, I am irritated by poor email etiquette I experience on a daily basis and which has prompted me to write this article.  My Monday Morning starts with following up on mails I did not get a response to last week.  What a waste of my time and that of my intended recipient.  The possibility is that I may be adding to more clutter in their inbox …

Imagine these scenarios

  1. A potential customer standing in front of you at work, looking you in the eyes and asking for help … would you ignore and turn away without a response?
  2. If a colleague handed you a piece of information in person which they believed you should get but which you may not value, would you take it without any comment or acknowledgement, even if it is just a cursory nod?
  3. If you asked someone for information and they responded would you receive without saying thank you?

Probably not unless you are having a really bad day or want to get fired!

So, tell me this…why do people think it is acceptable to behave differently because they are behind the veil of cyberspace?

Goodness knows that it’s so easy to flick “Reply” and just acknowledge receipt.

You probably know that my sign off in emails is “Let’s Be Exceptional – Together” and, my ASK today is that we start a movement … courteous online communication as though we are face to face, without exception.


  1. Reply to everything.  If you are too busy, set up an auto responder or get the help of an assistant.  This way you will avoid the clutter of follow ups.
  2. Even reply if it is not intended for you so the sender knows it was misdirected.
  3. Unsubscribe immediately if the mail is not relevant to you.
  4. Ensure that the subject line is relevant to the message.
  5. Change the subject line of the conversation changes. This not only makes searching you emails easier but also lets the recipient know you have moved on to another topic
  6. Think! Before hitting “‘Reply All”. Everyone hates a cluttered inbox, don’t add to the problem.
  7. Personalise all emails, even if you are sending a template response. Address the person by name and use the first brief paragraph of your email to show you are communicating with them SPECIFICALLY.
  8. Use professional greeting rather than a casual “Hi” (unless appropriate)
  9. In your first email, make sure your email signature contains all your contact information including social media links to make all channels of communication available to the recipient and give them the opportunity to dig deeper if they wish.
  10. Use short sentences, paragraphs and bullets to make lengthy mails easier to read.
  11. Watch humour. It comes across quite differently in written to spoken form, especially if the addressee has not met you yet!
  12. CAPS are the equivalent of shouting. Use this emphasis appropriately.
  13. Use Exclamation marks sparingly.
  14. Spell check AND proof read. We have all experienced issues with auto correct!
  15. Check and edit messages in the conversation before you forward to make sure it is applicable to the recipient.

Finally, I found this slide to remind sales professionals that you will get more success with a professional follow up sequence … so few people do it.  You will stand out and will help improve online communication.

Email Etiquette and Sales Statistics
Are repeated follow ups essential because of poor Email Etiquette?

I hope these Tips serve as a Reminder and will identify lazy behaviours you may have slipped into.

Are you frustrated by online communication?  Share some of your tips for better Email Etiquette.

Suze Bouwer is a marketing coach and consultant that gets fired up by sharing tips, tools and expertise to show small business owners and managers how to do better marketing of their business; without investing a fortune in professional fees; how to avoid wasting money and frustration.

They big result is the peace of mind that comes from better marketing practices which create brand awareness, great customer service, reputation enhancement plus sales leads because People Buy from Businesses they Trust!









4 thoughts on “15 Ways to Improve your Email Etiquette (and Reputation)”

  1. Short, sweet & to the point tips for better email etiquette & a great reminder to sales people to follow up, follow up, follow up, follow up, follow up & oh yes follow up to get the sale !

    1. Thanks, Madine. Yes, a sales process starts once a relationship based on trust has begun to develop. Salesy talk must hold off until the 4- 7th contact point. That’s the sweet spot when conversion happens like magic! And oh, BTW I have just read about research that shows that email response increases when the sign off is simply “THANK YOU” 🙂

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