Etiquette for Emailing On the Go

I can’t believe I just did that! I, the person who takes great pride in being a good proofreader, actually sent an email to a client (gasp!) that was full of grammatical errors. My “excuse” was that I was emailing on my not-so-smart smartphone in carpool line at my son’s school instead of waiting to reply until I got back to my desk. I send (literally) hundreds of emails in a week, and I have to admit that quite a few of those emails are being sent from either my smartphone or my tablet.

Despite nearly two decades of professional experience, I just made the rookie mistake. Talk about embarrassing! It’s a good thing I have a very easy going client who gave me the benefit of the doubt this time.

I actually penned this blog a couple of years ago and decided today was a good day to resurrect it.

With the expectation that us marketers will be available at any time, from anywhere, it so easy when we see an email come in on our mobile device to click "reply," tap out a quick response and hit "send" while the email is still fresh in our minds. It feels good to not let emails build up in our inboxes, and our bosses (in my case, clients) are thrilled that we’re keeping up “business as usual” while we’re out of the office.

With “on-demand” emailing such a common occurrence, here are tips to follow to make sure emails continue to be professional and informative in the mobile device era…

  • Traditional spelling, grammar and punctuation rules are especially important
    • Use proper sentence structure (First word capitalized with appropriate punctuation)
    • Avoid using !!! or ???
    • Be aware of how sentence case looks in an email: USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS LOOKS LIKE SHOUTING and using all lowercase letters appears lazy
    • Always, always, always spell check before hitting “send” — emails with typos are not taken as seriously
  • Read an email out loud to make sure it reflects the right message and the tone
    • Keep the content professional to avoid embarrassment
    • Never, ever email angry
    • Avoid using word shortcuts, emoticons, jargon or slang
    • Use acronyms sparingly
  • Respond to all questions and/or points brought up in the sender’s email
    • Don't make people re-ask the same questions over and over
  • Always include a signature with full contact details (phone, mobile, email, etc.) — make it easy for someone to get back in touch
    • Include social media contact information (Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) as well
  • When forwarding email, be sure to include a personal comment to the next person so they understand why the email is being sent on to them
  • Because emails can so easily be forwarded, remember that unintended audiences may see what’s been written
  • Never use an old email to hit reply and start a message about a new topic
  • Don’t use emails for last-minute cancellations of meetings, lunches, interviews or to relay bad news. In these instances, a phone call is still best

So if you’re like me and determined to keep up on emails while on the go, let’s learn from my mistake today and take a few extra moments to PROOFREAD!