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Writing a business email is much different from sending off an email to a friend or family member. The tone has to be more professional. But, at the same time, it also has to be warm and friendly. After all, you want to attract customers, not drive them away. Here are some tips for creating effective business emails every time.

1. Greet the Email Recipients

At the beginning of the email, take the time to write a greeting to the recipients. Whenever possible, personalize the email by including the recipient’s name. This will make your greeting seem more real. It also shows people that someone has taken the time to be more personal and not just send out the same email to thousands of people.

2. Don’t Ramble On

This is an email, not a hand-written letter. You don’t have to write volumes of information. You just need to get the basic points across. For each thing that you write, ask yourself if it really needs to be there. People don’t have time to read everything in each email they receive.

3. Use the Subject Line

We can’t stress enough just how important it is to use the subject line. How many times have you deleted a message without reading it, because there was no subject? Other people do this too, and if you aren’t using successful subject lines, a lot of your emails are likely being deleted. Make sure to include a successful subject line, one that is clear and to the point.

4. Be Careful with Your Tone

It can be a lot more difficult to communicate via email because the reader is unable to see your body language and hear your tone of voice. Choose how you word your emails very carefully, so as to not come across as nasty, pushy, etc. Don’t write anything that could be taken the wrong way.

5. Check Your Spelling

This may seem like a no-brainer, but far too many people send out emails without checking their spelling and grammar. You want to come across as being professional. If your spelling and grammar aren’t perfect, you won’t achieve that. You have a spell check tool. Use it.

6. Avoid Emoticons

Stop using cute little emoticons in your business emails. They are just that, cute. They do not look professional, and no, they do make you seem more down to earth to your business associates. Save the emoticons for your friends and family. While you’re at it, stop using acronyms as well. Spell things out, and if necessary, put the acronyms in brackets after.

7. Leave off the Attachments

If there is something that you really want your readers to see, copy and paste it right into the email. Don’t make them take the extra step of having to open an attachment. Or, attach the document, but copy and paste the most important part, and let readers decide if they want to open the attachment and read the rest.

8. Don’t Use All Caps

You don’t want to yell at your customers, but that is exactly what you are doing when you use all caps in email communications. If you absolutely must stress a word or a phrase, you may use caps, but not for the entire body of the email. It is better to italicize it though, because it isn’t as harsh looking.

9. Say Goodbye

In addition to a nice greeting, your business emails should include a closing that is complimentary, as well as a signature. For instance, it could be as simple as saying, “Thank you”, or a bit more elaborate, such as, “We look forward to hearing from you.”

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Jane Hurst is a writer, editor and avid traveler from San Francisco, CA.