Let’s say, your boss called you into his office to talk about an important task or project. And if you make this project a success, you could be promoted. Instead of paying attention to what your boss is saying, you play with your pen, you stare out of the window, and don’t give any response to the questions your boss is asking.
If you behaved like that probably you’d be fired.
But you don’t do this — you don’t ignore your boss when he’s talking to you (because you can’t afford to ignore him/her).
The same principle applies in email writing. You must show care for readers — your boss when they read your content.
In this era of texting conversation, email is still the most popular mean of communication in business and corporate world.
If you wrote an email which has grammatical errors and flaws and still you want that your recipient read (and reply) that email — then only send it to your mother or best friend.
But what will you do when it comes to writing emails to your colleagues and customers?
How can you write emails which people want to read?
Email writing is a skill.
Writing a good email is difficult, isn’t it?
I write and receive (and read) a lot of emails per day, so I’d love to share my experience with you.
Give me your five minutes and I’ll give you 5 quick and sure-fire ideas to improve your email writing that worked for me.
1. Write a meaningful subject line which quickly answers “what’s the point?”
Do you read newspaper every day?
How do you decide whether to read a news or not?
A great headline grabs a reader’s attention and summarizes the story. Same goes for the subject line of your email. Make the subject line your headline.
When I get a message in my inbox, subject line is the first (and most important) thing to decide to either read that message or skip it.
Before I hit send “an email”, I take time to craft a subject line which encourages the recipient to open (and read) the message.
Here are three examples of subject lines which I sent and got a really good response:
A. I conducted a poll and shared the results with participants via email: “Hey, poll results are out!”
Why did it work?
Because a person wants to know what other people think. If someone participates in a poll, he’d more likely to know the results of that poll. Right?
B. I was working on an article and for that, I reached to industry experts: “Hey [Name], I need your help for my article…”
Why did it work?
I read somewhere that experts want to help. Sure they’re busy, but they certainly want to help.
I was writing a guide and I asked for some advice on that topic from experts. I added the word “help” in the subject line and it encourages them to respond. I sent messages to around 50 experts — and 31 experts offered me a hand.
C. When our company launched a new service, I sent email to our clients: “Hi [Name], I have an idea to improve your conversion rate”
Why did it work?
This subject line is benefit-oriented “improve your conversion rate”. It answered the recipient’s question — what I’m going to get out of it.
And the common thing about these subject lines?
Concise, Clear, and Specific.
2. Address the recipients by their names
In his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie stated that,
“Remember, that a person’s name is the sweetest and most important sound to that person, in any language.”
Put your recipient’s name in your subject line and your email copy. Always open your email with a greeting and if you know your recipient name, use it, such as, “Dear John” or “Hello Kate”.
Personally, I love to see emails which address me by my name and I try to use the same principle when I write an email.
Take a look at this email that I sent one of our prospects. I used her name in the subject line and also greeted her by name in email copy.
3. Keep your message clear and brief which states the purpose clearly
We’re all busy and people don’t like to waste time reading long and non-relevant emails. It’s your job to help them and provide them something which is valuable.
Before writing an email I try to clear my focus and ask myself two questions:
- Why am I writing this email?
- How can this email add some value to reader’s life?
Let me tell you one secret: I don’t read every single word of an email, I scan that.
I was shocked when I read a study a while back. An experiment, which was conducted by Jakob Nielsen, revealed that readers are extremely fast at both processing their inboxes and reading emails. People were highly inclined to skip the introductory blah-blah text. Participants fully read only 19% of emails.
What did I learn from this study?
- Keep the message short, simple and to-the-point.
- And I always keep the primary benefit (or purpose) of email in the upper part of email to make reader able to see the purpose of my message in just 10 seconds.
- I keep paragraphs short, use simple language, and break the long content in bullet points.
Let me give you an example to make you believe why it works?
I wanted to write a guest post for “Write to Done Publication”. So I wrote and sent an email to Mary Jaksch, editor-in-chief of the publication.
Here’s the email which I sent:
Did you notice?
- I mention the purpose of email in the first line of the message.
- I used short paragraphs and bullet points to make the copy easily readable.
And after just a couple of hours, I got a positive response from Mary. See what she said:
4. Show your human side and make your tone natural
Let me tell you one bitter truth — most of the emails we write sound boring and robotic.
And it irritates your recipients.
Remember, if you want to make them read your email and reply you back — make them feel that a human has written that email. Because people are busy and they don’t have time to reply to a robot.
When I write an email, I try to keep the language natural and conversational. And sometimes I also use a little humor which makes them smile.
Take a look at this follow up email that I sent which got more than 70% response rate.
I talked with Ramesh Chaudhary, Founder, and Director of Sarv.com and he shared his take with me here:
“Face this truth no one wants your boring email campaigns. Today’s buyer wants more genuine and relevant conversation. A conversational and human tone in your email can help you to build more natural and trusted relationship with your prospects.”
Recently I got an email from Ellie Summers which made me smile, take a look here:
And I quickly responded her
The catch is: Always write emails in a more human way!
5. Ask a clear question which guides them to what you want them to do
If you want a response to your email, it’s your job to guide your recipient — what you want him/her to do.
Ask a clear question that matters in one email, the more likely you are to get a response.
Remember, if your question is not specific or you ask too many questions in one email, a person is less likely to respond — because a confused mind always says NO.
Take a look at this email that I sent — I asked a specific question in this email.
I hope you find these ideas helpful. Got ideas for writing emails? Please share your views and thoughts here.
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