Rules of Proper Email Etiquette

email etiquette

It is important to consider that when emailing people you are on show, whether you like it or not, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Let’s face it – many people use email at work AND at home – but who they are does not change.

It is best to type messages in full, and does not use phonetic spelling or lots of abbreviated words and half sentences.  I know it is common practice on chat forums to shortcut the process, but email is quite different, and these days, generally accepted almost the same as a written letter.

The reason not to type email in the short form is that it can become habit-forming and not something you would want to promote to prospective clients. 

It is important to remember that your ‘professionalism’ is on show 24 hours a day via email – a small point, but important. 

Develop a signature block and let people know who you are and what you do! 

Have it set as an automatic feature whenever emailing, or replying to email.  The thing to remember is that anyone is a potential business associate and letting them know who you are and what you do helps promote your business or your industry. 

It is a business card that is on show all the time.

Take notice of the correct spelling of people’s names.

In addition, I’m sure the spelling of your own name is just as important to you and it is quickly noticed when someone spells it incorrectly.

It’s these little things that make the difference between an average business operator and one who does that extra something – every little thing counts when it comes to attracting clients and associates and keeping them. 

Taking the time to care about these things and looking after even a client’s name goes a long way to developing good business relationships.

This is about email etiquette.

When you are exchanging emails with friends and family, do whatever you want.

But when you are conducting business, either as the customer or as the merchant, you need to observe some common rules.

First, it’s a common courtesy to sign your full name.

Here is the rule: If it’s worth sending, it’s worth signing.

This is just like writing a paper letter to a company. You should tell them who you are. Always sign your first and last name.

You will soon understand this when you get an email from one of your own customers who needs the download link for your eBook again because they lost the link.

Hey, we all lose links and info from time to time. However, an email that says “please send link” with no name or contact details doesn’t cut it.

You’ve got to know who they are first in order to help them. So make sure when you contact people in a business setting that you do so properly.



You will save them and YOU some valuable time.

Second, do not leave the subject line of your emails blank.

Not only does it look like SPAM, and some people won’t even bother to read it, so a subject line in your emails is essential.

Third, use a white background and black letters.

In a world where common courtesies seem to be going down the drain, take some pride and be one of the people who project a smart, professional image.

Not only will it make you look better, but it will save you time and energy.

Email is convenient. Email takes less time than long-winded telephone conversations.

Most importantly, email gives me an electronic record of my communications with clients, employees, partners, and vendors; which makes it easy for me to refresh my quickly-aging memory by easily referring back to our electronic conversations.

Email has become the business correspondence medium of choice, and if you don’t take the time to learn how to effectively use email in a professional manner, it will come back to haunt you.


email etiquette

There are rules that should be followed when sending business emails.

Here are the Rules of Proper Email Etiquette that every entrepreneur, should follow.


  1. Make It Short And Sweet


An email isn’t a letter, so keep in mind that reading an email on a computer screen is harder than reading printed communications, so keep it brief and to the point.


  1. Use Proper Spelling, Grammar & Punctuation


This is not only important because improper spelling, grammar and punctuation give a bad impression of you and your company, it is also important to make sure your message is not misconstrued.

 Emails with improper punctuation (a comma and a period every now and then would be nice) are difficult to read and can sometimes even change the meaning of the message.

And, if your email program has a spell checker do everyone a favour and use it.


  1. Include a Signature Block in Every Email


A signature block in an email is the same as the signature block you would use to end a letter.

You should include your name, title, company name and address, telephone number, email address and website address.


  1. Reply Quickly


This is my number one pet peeve: people who take forever to answer email. Fast response is especially important if the email is from a customer or contains time-sensitive information.

Customers send an email because they wish to receive a quick response. If they did not want a quick response they would send a letter or a fax or talk to your voicemail.

Each email should be replied to within at least 24-hours, and preferably within the same working day.

If the email can’t be answered in full immediately you should at least send a reply saying that you have received their email and that you will get back to them ASAP.


  1. Read Every Email Before You Send It


There’s no better way to embarrass yourself than through a hastily sent email. A lot of people don’t even bother to read an email before they send it out, as evidenced by the many spelling and grammatical errors most emails contain.

Apart from this, reading your email through the eyes of the recipient will help you send a more effective message and avoid misunderstandings and inappropriate comments.


  1. Do Not Discuss Confidential Information


Sending an email, once it leaves your computer, the end user can do whatever they want with it, so if you do not want a documented record of your comments or the information shared with others, don’t send it.

Moreover, never make any libellous, sexist or racially discriminating comments in emails, even if they are meant to be a joke.

There have been court cases where email correspondence was used as evidence.


  1. Don’t Use ALL CAPS


In email terms, IF YOU WRITE IN CAPITAL LETTERS IT SEEMS AS IF YOU ARE SHOUTING, so please tone it down.

ALL CAPS are hard to read and can trigger an angry reply if the recipient mistakes the intention of your email.

Emails should be written in standard sentence style.

Turn the Caps Lock off and back away from the keyboard.


  1. Avoid Abbreviations and Emoticons


In business emails, try not to use abbreviations such as BTW (by the way) and LOL (laugh out loud).

The recipient might not be aware of the meanings of the abbreviations and in business emails these are generally not appropriate.

The same goes for emoticons, such as the smiley 🙂 and his depressed pal :-(. If you are not sure whether your recipient knows what an acronym means, it is better not to use it.


  1. Don’t Use Colored Backgrounds or Silly Graphics


  1. Remember That Email Is a Formal Business Communication

You wouldn’t send a formal letter to a customer that lacked a salutation, a well-thought out body of text, and a signature.

You should use email in the same manner.

A proper business email should be structured like a short letter. It should have a salutation, the body of the message, a sign off, and a signature.

In a world where common courtesies seem to be going down the drain, take some pride and be one of the people who project a smart, professional image. Not only will it make you look better, but it will save you time and energy.

Using these common sense rules of email etiquette will reinforce your professionalism as an entrepreneur and create a position for your business that will ensure better recognition and brand awareness that can last for years.


Spread the love