Create an email signature
It’s very easy to set up a standard email signature in most email software and it'll make your business emails look much more professional. Your email signature can include your logo and corporate colours and should have your name and position, company name, contact phone numbers and possibly your address too. Make sure your staff use the signature too, so everyone's emails have a consistent look and feel.
If you’re a Ltd company you'll need to include your company registration number and registered office address as well.
See our article on what information to include in your business communciations
Avoiding embarassing email mistakes
Check the address you're sending the email from, especially if you're using a different machine to usual. Do you really want to send a business email from a personal email account like ‘email@example.com’?
When to use ‘reply’, 'reply all’ and ‘forward’
‘Reply’ to messages in a thread rather than create a new message each time so the whole discussion is included in each email. Keeping the subject line the same also helps people keep track. If you’re replying to a query that's been passed to you by someone else you'll need to cut and paste their email address from the contents of the mail rather than hit ‘reply’.
‘Forward’ a message rather than 'reply’ if you want people to see any attachements.
Take care with ‘reply all’ - it's fine on an email chain where everybody's involved in the same conversation, but not when you receive an 'all staff' email for example. Some smart phones use 'reply all' as standard so remember to change it before you send.
When to use ‘copy’ and ‘blind copy’
Address the email directly ‘to’ those who are being asked to do something and ‘copy’ those who just need to know.
Adding names into the Bcc field will copy that person in on a message but the people listed in the 'to' for 'cc' fields won't know. Generally speaking if you’re copying someone in, the other recipients of the email ought to know, so use ‘copy’. One of the occasions where Bcc is acceptable is when you’re including lots of recipients and it's not appropriate for them to see each other's email address.
When to use 'read receipt'
Don’t use ‘read receipt’ for general day-to-day communications - it can be misinterpreted as a lack of trust. For any messages you absolutely need to know got there it’s OK to use this feature, but remember that a ‘receipt’ is not necessarily a ‘read’, and that a ‘read’ it not necessarily going to result in any action!