Office Hacks: 5 tips for writing better emails

a man types an email from his home office


In today’s fast-paced world, our reliance on digital communication is rapidly expanding. And while email has been around for decades, it is still a primary method of communication in the dentistry world.

Whether you are working with business partners or sending information to patients, here are some tips to help you write effective emails that won’t get buried in an inbox.

Include a call to action in the subject line

From bills to pay to the newsletters we forgot we signed up for, our inboxes are constantly slammed with emails. Help your recipient filter through the noise by using a call to action in the subject line. This will let them know what to expect before they even open your email.

Some examples include:

  • [Name], it’s time to schedule your next cleaning
  • Budget approval needed
  • [Name] to review claim by Tuesday

Don’t bury the purpose of the email

When it comes to email, context is important. But rather than lead with the reasoning behind your email, start out by stating your purpose first. That way, you lower the risk of your reader skipping the most important part of your email.

Here’s an example:

  • Context first: [Hi Name]! This is [Name] from Dr. [Name]’s office. I am reaching out because it is important to maintain your oral health. By not scheduling regular cleanings, the risk for oral health problems, such as gum disease and cavities, increases. It is important that you click the link to schedule your appointment as soon as possible.”
  • Context second: “Hi [Name]! You are due for your next cleaning. Please click the link below to get started. By keeping to a regular schedule of cleanings, you are doing your part to maintain your oral health.”

Remember, most people only spend around nine seconds with an email before reacting, so make sure you deliver the information they need up front.  

Break up lengthy emails into small paragraphs and bullet points

When it comes to email, white space is your friend, especially on mobile devices. So, if your message has a lot to say, separate ideas and topics with new paragraphs and use bullet points for any kind of list. This will make your email easier to read and more likely to generate the action you’re requesting.

Avoid the use of non-inclusive language in your greeting

Unless you are comfortably familiar with your email’s audience, it is best to avoid making assumptions about who is on the other side. It is best to avoid using gender-specific titles and greetings in your emails.  

For example, avoid using Mr./Mrs./Miss. Not everyone identifies as male or female and titles are a personal choice. (For example, married women may use Mrs. but not use their partner’s last name.) It is best to lead with a generic hello or the reader’s name.

Fill in the “to” section last

Have you ever sent an email with an error in it? Or, worse, sent one to the wrong person? Even though the “to” section is at the top of an email, get in the habit of filling it in last. Giving yourself a natural buffer forces you to slow down and get your ducks in a row. That way, you can type your email, proofread it for errors and ensure you are sending it to the right person first.

The bottom line: You only have seconds to make an impression with your emails, so it is important that your messages are concise, correct and easy to digest.