How to write a friendly email

February 21, 2011 · 2 comments

I am blessed with many contacts, followers, and friends, and as a result I receive a lot of email correspondence each week.

I am continually surprised at how many of these emails are somewhat… unfriendly. Sometimes it seems like everybody is too busy to take an extra moment to be kind and courteous in their emails. But those that do stand far above the rest — and that is where the opportunity for good relationship marketing begins

Here’s what I mean…

Each week, over 50% of the email messages I receive lack one or more of the basic common courtesies associated with good letter writing. It is very common for me to get email that doesn’t contain a greeting, a personalized closing, or a signature that contains complete contact information. I’ll bet you’ve noticed this alarming trend, too. I say alarming because poor email courtesies like these could adversely affect the impression your customer service representatives are making on your customers.

On the positive side, I think it would be smart to spend a little time thinking about this issue because I believe it represents a good marketing opportunity for your company. After all, if your company consistently provides warm and friendly email correspondence, you’ll differentiate your firm from many of your competitors.

Here are three simple ways to write a friendly email.

Let’s start with the greeting. A surprising number of email messages don’t have a greeting. Can you imagine getting a phone call where the person started taking without even taking the time to say “hello”? Well, that’s exactly what happens with a lot of email. Often, there is no greeting at all, or the sender merely says “Mike” and then begins their email. I think it is always friendly and courteous to say something like:

Dear Mike,

Greetings Mike,

Good afternoon Mike,

Personally, I like something simple like ‘Hi Mike.’ If the email conversation goes back and forth a few times, I like to simply say ‘Hi again, Mike,’ as I begin each email.

Next is the close. Again, I frequently receive numerous emails where the sender chooses to omit a friendly closing statement. Often, all I see is their default signature line which often only contains partial information about who they are. It’s not a very friendly way to end a letter. I suggest using something like:

Sincerely,

Cordially yours,

Respectfully yours,

My two favorites are ‘Kindest regards’ and ‘Best regards.’ Whatever you choose, it’s important to include a warm closing statement.

And finally, about your signature. I would sincerely encourage you to take a moment to look at the signature information your company uses. (You do have a standard, company-wide signature that you have personally approved for all of your employees, don’t you?) Please double check to make sure it has all of the necessary contact information needed to transact business with your company. I think a good signature line contains the following information:

Mike Stevens
MikeStevens@AcmePrinting.com

www.AcmePrinting.com
3137 32nd Avenue South
Fargo, North Dakota 58103
1-555-555-1234

Is your company using email correspondence to help you build a better relationship with your customers, or does your email come across a little cold and impersonal? Taking a few extra moments to insert a few well-selected cordial words in each email is all it takes to write a winning letter that is friendly and warm.

P.S. To read about how you can add some additional marketing firepower to your signature, click here.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve February 21, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Mike,
I can see your point, especially in a formal or unfamiliar environment when the two partiees either do not know each other or are not on a comfortable first name basis.

I usually dismiss to oblivion emails that lack the common courtesy when I do not know the sending party.

On the other hand, if you are passing a co-worker in the hall, you don’t need a formal meeting to acknowledge whatever the subject matter may be. And, that is how we sometimes treat email. Those who tweet have learned to state the subject and be done.

Like it or not, those habits transfer. I hope you weren’t expecting my “comment” to be formalized with an intro and a signature. :-)
-Steve

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PETER THE PRINTER February 21, 2011 at 1:49 pm

With smart phones it is vital to put your phone and email in your outbound email signature — many of us are using our phones for return calls and correspondence and all one needs to do is click on the phone number and the person can be calling you instead of hunting for your phone number.

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