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Writing an EMAIL is an Art!

The primary skill that we need to learn today!

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Whether for a job or investment or getting approval for a project or that promotion you have been waiting for years, email is a very critical component of communication in our lives. The way we write an email and what the recipient understands from it decides our fate.

The McKinsey Global Institute says the average employee spends two and half hours per day dealing with email. (~81 days or a quarter of a year)
The Radicati Group says the average business user sent or received 108 emails per day in 2013. That rose to 116 emails per day by 2017.
Email is central to our lives and yet we do not care to learn the art of writing an EMAIL!

Some of the best emails I ever wrote!

I had written this mail to founder of Rs. 1,700 Cr public company after reading his book twice.
My mail declining an investment offer in my company.

How not to write an EMAIL!

Source: My Inbox

What went wrong:

  1. The subject line is vague. If not for this blog, I would not have opened that mail. (Ignoring the M.Tech mistake)
  2. I am ‘Sir’, not ‘Sir/Madam’, not ‘Madam’. ‘Sir’
  3. My firm’s name is Lithos Motors and not Okinawa Scooters. (Failed attempt at copy pasting)
  4. No clear introduction. I have to figure out who this guy was.
  5. I am not clear what I am supposed to do after reading this mail. Lack of call to action.
  6. Plenty of extra space and ‘I’.
  7. Missed attachment.

What went wrong:

  1. Everything!
An Email can make or break a potential opportunity for you, so send and respond to them wisely!

Tip #1

Subject Line is a teaser or trailer to your mail (movie). The purpose of subject line is to give a brief glimpse of what might contain inside the mail. The fate of your mail depends on this line. So, you should spend a lot time figuring this out.

  1. Keep it short, sweet and clear.
  2. It should hook your recipient.
  3. It should not be misleading.

More about subject lines for salespersons here, here and here.

More about subject lines for job applicants here, and here.

The from line is what recipients use to determine whether to delete an Email, the subject line is what motivates people to actually open an email. — Loren McDonald

Tip #2

Never open your email with ‘Dear’. Never!

There are two reasons why:

  1. In most cases, you don’t know your recipient so why to fake an affection?
  2. ‘Dear’ is so commonly used in mass marketing emails, that as soon as I read ‘Dear’ my brain interprets it as one of those emails.

Hi, hello, respected works fine.

Tip #3

Please take care of gender of the recipient.

Mostly all email ids contain names and therefore it is expected you take efforts to find out if the recipient is a male or female. This might seem obvious, but it’s not executed very well in 90 percent of the emails I have received in the last 4 years.

Tip #4

Avoid attachments unless utmost necessary.

Most of the emails are viewed on smartphones. Downloading an attachment on smartphones, mostly means loosing the attachment in some unknown folder.

Put the file (PDF, infographic, etc.) on GoogleDrive or in Dropbox, and share only the link to the material in your email. This way you don’t expect your prospect to find the attachment and open it or download it on their own drive. They can just click on the link and easily access the file online.

More about using links in email here, here and here.

Tip #5

Pay attention to punctuation.

So without punctuation, writing becomes hard to read! — look at this.
ill tell you what well learn im going into detail about a lot of things that well look at related to spelling and in this sentence i want you to see that not having punctuation makes reading this sentence so hard and not using apostrophes correctly really makes it even more difficult and not using a period or full stop in sentences up makes it hard to read and understand…

Start each sentence with a capital letter. Be sure to put periods or other appropriate punctuation at the end of each sentence.

It’s a small detail, but it can really help to make a positive impression.

You can use tools like Grammarly, ProWritingAid and Ginger to keep a check on grammar and punctuation.

Tip #6

Research, Research, RESEARCH!

Do some due diligence on your own. Look the recipient up. Find out their role at the company. Read through their LinkedIn. See if you have any mutual friends on Facebook. Look out for some interest, some story. It is very important to know who you are writing mail to. You need to do some homework. The recipient should feel, “ Damn, he has done some real hard work here. I ought to reply to him.” You need to convince him that you deserve his time and energy.

More about research in email here.

Reply to my mail mentioned in first image and the recipient ended up being my professional mentor,

Tip #7

Take another look before you send the Email.

Send once, look twice, and avoid embarrassing emails that have the wrong text go to the wrong recipient (or, aghast, recipients)

Tip #8

Never forget to follow up.

It means that if you do follow up after sending the opening message, you are in a quite limited group of people who do that. You actually show more interest in starting a relation with your prospect than the majority of cold email senders that ever reached out to them. This means that just by sending follow-ups, you actually stand out from the crowd.

Just by the fact that you do more than most of people who contact them, you make them notice you.

You make them feel the you actually care about their reaction or lack. You make them feel you didn’t just send a huge amount of messages in bulk and forgot about it the moment you hit “Send”.

You make them feel you are not bots, but real human beings who actually care more personally about the people we’re addressing.

“Either you follow-up or you fold-up” — Bernard Kelvin Clive
“Not following up with your recipients is the same as filling up your bathtub without first putting the stopper in the drain.” — Michelle Moore

More about follow ups here, here and here.


Conclusion

A great email contains:

  1. A stellar subject line that breaks apart from the crowd and gain attention!
  2. Use First Name followed by Sir/Madam (respective to the gender).
  3. Should be thoroughly researched, precise and contain points where recipients can connect.
  4. Avoid attachments (unless necessary).
  5. Check punctuations and grammar.
  6. Clear ‘Call to Action’.
  7. Always follow up.

More tips here, here, here and here.


Emails are hard. I know that. It’s an art that requires a lot of experience, patience, experimentation and feedback to master. But trust me mastering an email can open up gates that you never imagined!



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