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How to Write an E-mail to an External Company

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 21 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
Writing E-mail To External Company

Proper uniform use of e-mail etiquette will ensure that any correspondence which flows out of your company to either customers clients or other businesses will be perceived in a professional manner which is very important in terms of how your company will be viewed externally. There are far too many different rules of e-mail etiquette than can be discussed here and they will differ slightly from company to company. However, here are a few general guidelines and most reputable companies will have some kind of e-mail guidebook as to what is and what’s not considered acceptable when writing to an external company.


Don’t make your e-mail a 1000 word long epic. E-mail takes far longer to read than the printed page and, in the busy world of global communications and the thousands of e-mails that are sent each day, keep it concise and to the point without using long rambling sentences. Check for spelling and grammatical errors too. Use short paragraphs and leave a spare line between paragraphs. Use numbers or bullet points to highlight any key information but don’t write whole words using capital letters as it will appear that YOU’RE SHOUTING! Try to come up with a succinct subject title which conveys exactly what the e-mail alludes to. For example, if you’re writing about a product an external company has ordered, include the actual product as well as the order number i.e. Ref: Your Order 45326/FG – Pneumatic Drills. It’s also important to read over the e-mail before sending it to check it makes sense and that there are no errors or inaccuracies which you are aware of.

Be Aware Of The Useful E-mail Tools But Know When And When Not To Use ThemE-mail can save you considerable time and there are many useful gizmos and widgets contained within most e-mail programs to enable you to save you time and to maximise your communication effectively. However, within that realm, there are certain things you should be aware of and how they might be perceived and it’s important you know about these before you use them.

Don’t send unnecessary attachments. They slow down mail servers and are one of the principal causes of spreading viruses. Used appropriately, they are very useful but because of increased concerns about viruses, you should only really send attachments to people you know or forewarn others you don’t know that you intend to send them an attachment otherwise an e-mail containing an attachment from a sender the recipient does not know is likely to get deleted even before the e-mail itself is opened.

Read Receipt Requests and High Priority

Apart from the fact that people do not have to respond to a read receipt, in sending them, you are implying that you need to know the exact time the recipient picks up the e-mail which then can place great pressure on them to respond immediately. This can irritate people so, unless there’s a specific need to send a read receipt, for example, making sure someone has got the e-mail of some important information they’ve asked you to send them, don’t use this function. Also, don’t use the high priority setting unless your e-mail is urgent. Many people choose to high prioritise all of their e-mails which, unsurprisingly, often results in the recipients leaving these until last or ignoring them altogether.

Mail Merges bcc and cc

Be very careful when using cc and bcc.for copying in the same e-mail to multiple e-mail addresses. When you send an e-mail using the cc function, everybody can gain access to all of the addresses you have inputted as cc. In many instances, people do not like their e-mail addresses being on ‘public show’ for everybody else without their explicit permission so you should avoid that wherever possible and, if you’re going to copy in multiple recipients into an e-mail, it’s far better to use bcc (which stands for blind copy) and means that nobody is aware who the other recipients are. There are legitimate reasons why you would use both cc and bcc under different circumstances but be wary about copying other people into e-mails unless they have a valid need to receive the e-mail you have originally addressed to somebody else. We’re all inundated with e-mails these days and unless an e-mail has been specifically meant for somebody to be responded to, irrelevant ccs are just going to annoy people.

There are a vast range of things you should remember about e-mail etiquette, especially when sending e-mails outside of your own company. Those discussed here are simply some of the most rudimentary issues you should be aware of but it’s always good to ask your employer if they have their own e-mail guidelines so you can be sure you’re following their own specific e-mail protocol.

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