Email has been a staple of business communication since the popularisation of the internet. With a rapidly evolving digital world, it’s easy to assume that a well-established form of communication like email would soon become obsolete. Actually, the opposite is true. Email is here to stay, and it’s just as useful and popular as it always has been.
Email Is Here To Stay
By the start of 2018, there were an estimated 2.5 billion email users. That’s around a third of the world’s population. Our analytics suggest that we will send 320 billion emails every day by 2021, and that over half of these are for business communication. Email is still the preferred method for exchanges with colleagues, as well as being a powerful marketing tool.
If you’re thinking that new generations will be ditching email for newer, more advanced tools, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Millennials are just as keen for email as generations before them. Research suggests that 68% of teens and 73% of Millennials prefer to receive communication from businesses by email, and around half rely on it to make purchases.
It makes a lot of sense that people tend to prefer email for business communication, whether that be between colleagues or with customers. Email comes with advantages that, when taken together, other forms of communication simply can’t offer.
Email As A Business Communication Tool
When it comes to business communication, email is still number one. Here’s why:
- Convenience – Once composed, you can send emails to colleagues or customers at the click of a button. Sending to a large list of recipients is easy. Time zone differences are not so much of an issue, and the recipient is under very little pressure to respond. Email is still one of the most convenient tools for communication.
- Ease Of Access – Emails can be accessed on pretty much any device, and with Wifi becoming common in public places it’s easier than ever to check mail. Research shows that work emails are commonly checked in situations that range from commuting to being in the bathroom.
- Least Invasive, Yet Personal – An email reaches people instantly, yet they are free to read and respond at their own leisure. Customers don’t feel like you are invading their personal or social space when they receive an email, compared to reaching out to them on a social media channel. At the same time, email can be highly personalised to each individual. It’s a great mix of professional distance and personal contact.
- Multimedia – Emails are a form of business communication in themselves. Often the text you write is enough to say what you need to colleagues and customers. Yet email also offers the opportunity to include pretty much any other type of media. Be it video clips, social media snippets, downloadable files or documents, all these extras can be saved by the recipient.
- Total Clarity – Emails give you the ability to make verbal commitments concrete with clear questions and absolute responses. They create a permanent record of agreements to meet deadlines or attend meetings, and conversations become valuable long-term records. Emails are the “de facto reference”, allowing you to summarise an interaction with a question like, “I think you are asking for X, did I understand correctly?”. An answer to “Will you deliver on Thursday?” removes ambiguity for all parties.
Email is useful in many business situations. When it comes to speaking with colleagues, email is the most popular method of communication for delivering a status update on a project, providing feedback and asking brief questions. Phone calls and face-to-face meetings are important, but email works well for so many purposes that it remains the business norm.
Quality Is Everything!
Quality is everything when it comes to sending out emails. Research by SMYL suggests that two-thirds of people have received an email that was misunderstood or resulted in negative emotion. Although email is still the most popular and important form of business communication, it also has the potential for confusion. It’s crucial to make sure your emails are well crafted and easy to understand.
One-to-one communication with your colleagues and customers is the number one strength of email. The emails that you send should be personalised to your reader. This relies on getting to know the people you’re speaking to, and using the right language and tone to respond.