During times of market volatility, communication with your clients is key to alleviating their anxiety and maintaining trust and loyalty. And the way you write and respond to emails is an important component of your communication that can have a significant impact on your client relationships.

The content and tone of your email messages as well as the timeliness of your responses can affect your productivity and the way your clients feel about you. Your clients might even leave you if your failure to reply to their emails leaves them feeling ignored, says Joshua Zuchter, a business and life coach in Toronto.

To keep your business running smoothly and your clients happy, avoid these five common email blunders:

1. Sending unwanted emails
Don’t just hit “send.” Make sure your emails are going out to people who want to receive them.

Particularly if your email is a part of a marketing plan — an e-newsletter for example — you must obtain the recipient’s permission before sending that email, Zuchter says.

2. Creating misunderstandings
Be very clear in the email about what you are trying to say.

Email is an efficient way to reach a large number of clients quickly but, according to Zuchter, it is in many ways the most ineffective form of communication. For example, email often fails to convey the writer’s tone, intention and emotion — especially subtle effects such as sarcasm and irony. Attempts at humour can backfire, with disastrous results.

To be on the safe side, Zuchter says, always be polite, positive and precise when writing an email. People will be more receptive to the message and will respond more quickly.

3. Using the wrong address line
Use the appropriate “send” line to protect your clients’ privacy.

If you’re sending an email to team members, use the “carbon copy “or “cc” line, Zuchter says. Doing so will let everyone know who is involved in the decision or project.

When sending an email to a group of clients, always use the “blind carbon copy,” or “bcc” line, says Zuchter. Using the bcc line will keep the email addresses of other recipients hidden from the reader, protecting your clients’ privacy.

4. Not making full use of the subject line
The subject line is perhaps the most important part of your email. What you say in your subject line will often determine whether your email gets opened a tall.

Use a brief, effective phrase that draws the attention of the recipient and encapsulates the message, Zuchter says. He suggests writing the subject line after you’ve written the message, to ensure it is relevant and on topic.

5. Taking too long to respond
Most of the time, your clients will understand when you don’t respond to an email within a few minutes, Zuchter says.

To avoid any misunderstandings, set a standard deadline for responding to emails, and tell clients what your usual response time is.