Corporate correspondence is mostly done through e-mail these days. This is sometimes perceived as troublesome and therefore tends to fail regularly. Time pressure causes spelling errors or aspects of a corporate e-mail are forgotten. It is a shame if this damages the image of the company.
The corporate e-mail resembles the corporate letter. Most companies already make use of a default format for sending an e-mail. Make sure that the corporate identity of the company is reflected in this format. Layout is important, but content is even more important. On the basis of the following aspects we explain what the fixed components of a corporate e-mail are.
In this box the e-mail address of the recipient is entered.
CC (carbon copy)
Here recipients can be added that should receive a copy of the e-mail. This is useful for group mailings or whenever someone from within the company needs to know of the subject of the e-mail as well.
BCC (blind carbon copy)
The recipients that are added here are not displayed to the other recipients. This is also used to send mailings or e-mails to multiple people whose e-mail addresses to third parties should not be displayed.
This is a very important component. Mailboxes are often full of unread messages. On the basis of the subject the recipient determines which message has the reading priority. The subject is a short description of the contents of the message.
In a corporate e-mail a corporate preamble should be used. ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Honorable Madam.’. In the case of a reply or a follow-mail you may opt for a less formal tone of voice such as ‘Dear Mr.’
In the introduction the subject and reason for the e-mail is explained. Example: ‘After our phone call’ or ‘as discussed’.
Core (subdivided in paragraphs)
In the core, the introduction is explained. An e-mail is often read quickly. Make sure your text is concise yet clear. Do not use more than five sentences per paragraph and no more than four paragraphs in total.
This is the final paragraph of the e-mail. This paragraph could be used to indicate whom the recipient should contact if any questions remain, for example.
The most commonly used closing greeting is: ‘Kind regards,’ This sentence could be added to the default layout of the e-mail settings. At the very least stay clear of abbreviations such as ‘bw’. The closing greeting ‘Sincerely’ is sometimes seen as a bit old-fashioned.
This is where the name, function and company information should be put. This data can be added to the default layout of the e-mail settings as well.
A disclaimer is added to an e-mail for legal reasons, but is not required. It is a precaution against the use of the information in the e-mail or from the consequences of any errors. If the decision is made to add the disclaimer to an e-mail, set it automatically using the e-mail settings. Make sure the disclaimer is clearly distinguishable from the rest of the text and make sure all employees use the same disclaimer in corporate e-mail traffic.
In a corporate e-mail attachments can be added easily. These attachments can contain documents clarifying the e-mail or containing additional information about such products. Add a clear name to the attachment and explain the contents of the attachment in the e-mail. Make sure that no large files are sent. The maximum is 1 MB. For larger attachments a program such as WeTransfer can be used.
Suggestions for a corporate e-mail:
- Use a corporate and formal tone of voice in a corporate e-mail.
- If a response is required to a corporate e-mail, the unwritten rule is that a reaction is expected within two days. Or send an (automatic) acknowledgment of receipt in which it is said when an answer can be expected.
- Make sure the entire company communicates the same way through e-mail. A corporate tone with the same font and font sizes.
- Set the final greeting, sender and, if desired, the disclaimer automatically using the e-mail settings. This saves time and prevents possible errors.