For small businesses, just like for everyone else, email has become a way of life. You don't always have the time for chit chat when you have to deal with clients and other people in the field so what better way than just shoot them and email. There is, however, some sort of etiquette that should be followed when sending an email, especially if you want to seem like a professional. There are also other mistakes that should be avoided at all costs.
When it comes to etiquette, just remember these few things. Don't write while you're angry. You'd be surprised how easy it is to have things get out of control over the internet. Wait, calm down, and have someone else edit your email for you. Don't use sarcasm. You may think it's funny and clever, but the person that you're dealing with won't. DON'T USE UPPERCASE. People don't want to feel like you're shouting at them, and on the internet, uppercase is the equilavent of yelling. Use clear subject lines. People are extremely busy. By being able to scan the subject lines, it tells them what is important and needs to be addressed first. Keeping your emails short also helps with this. People don't have time to read something that is pages long. Keep it to just a couple of paragraphs at most.
Another mistake that people tend to make is to send an email to the wrong person. Service providers are trying to make it easier for you by creating an address book where one click can send an email to a person, however, this also makes it easier for you to make a mistake. Clicking on the wrong person is extremely common. So just double check to make sure that you have the right recipient.
Using one email address for everything that you do. Although you might think this is a good idea, this will make it harder for you in the long run. It's a lot easier to have separate emails for business, personal, even shopping needs. If you only have a few minutes and need to take care of something regarding business, you don't want to have to scan through a lot of personal emails trying to find the one that you're looking for. By keeping it separate it just helps you stay more organized.
Sending the email too fast. We know that everyone is busy and that you don't have a lot of time, but if your email is full of mistakes, it will make you look unprofessional to someone that you want to do business with. So just take a couple seconds to skim over everything you've written to see if that's what you want to say.
Also, when you rush, people have been known to forget the attachment. It may sound silly but there have been a number of times that people have sent me things that said "it's all explained in the attachment" when there was no attachment. This leaves me clueless and them looking very unprofessional. So just think about what you're doing and take the time to get it done right the first time.