10 Ways to Write Better Emails
Published on March 2, 2015
Digital communication is at the forefront of our society. We post messages on Facebook, we shoot out texts, and... we email.
In fact, according to WhoIsHostingThis.com, business correspondence alone accounts for over 100 billion emails sent and received each day.
In the workplace, it is has become a very common practice to substitute an email in place of a face-to-face interaction with a client or a phone call.
Because of this, more and more business professionals are sending emails to people they've never actually met in real life. Emails become the new "first impression" and can make or break your budding relationship with a prospective client.
These same ideas hold true for marketing emails as well (like newsletters, offer emails, event invitations). Every digital interaction you have with your pool of subscribers, whether or not they are long-time customers or newly curious prospects, is an important one. It creates a lasting impression about how you'll be communicating with them in the future. These impressions make the difference between closing a deal and losing one.
Learning to write better emails enables you to build better relationships with your prospects. Here are the top 10 ways you can start writing better emails, as recently suggested by WhoIsHostingThis.com in an infographic.
1. Use a Better Email Address
Your email address is your business identity. While an @gmail.com address may be fine for the average person, you can do better as a business owner.
Use Google Apps for Businesses to link your @gmail.com address up with your own domain name (i.e. @geekchicago.com).
- Use Google Apps for Businesses
- At Sign Up, choose "Use a Domain I already own."
- Enter the domain name.
- Create the account, accept the terms, and sign up.
- Start the domain verification process with the "Start Setup" button.
- Change the MX (mail servers) to Google's services.
- When confused, reach out to your host (or your local Geek!) for help getting the information you need.
Why do this? Linking your email address with your domain name creates an improved air of professionalism. Wouldn't you rather interact with a [email protected] than a [email protected]? The first email address appears to stem from a professional organization, while the latter appears to be stem from a personal address.
2. Keep Subject Lines Short and Sweet
Did you know that 35% of email recipients choose whether or not to open an email based on the subject line alone?
Don't discourage your contacts with confusing subject lines. Aim to use logical, concise keywords in your subject lines which clearly states what the email is about or write an enticing line which encourages an open.
- Appointment with Dr. Finn on June 10th
- Your June 2015 invoice from Super Dooper Tans
- 15 Ways to Improve Your Internet Connection at Home
3. Make Email Content Quality
If someone opens your email, make sure they aren't disappointed with poor content.
Short and direct emails are an optimal means of communication. Don't say more than you need to see. WhoIsHostingThis.com suggests 150 words as a rule of thumb - around 5 sentences or less.
Of course, some situations require exceptions to this rule - like your newsletter, for example. In these cases, use an editing eye. Include only high-quality content, written concisely and with proper grammar.
4. Optimize All Emails for Mobile Devices
Emails are being read on-the-go with an exceptionally high frequency:
47% of email is opened on a mobile device
30% of consumers now read email exclusively on a mobile device
68% of Yahoo and Gmail email is opened opened on a mobile device
What these statistics from WhoIsHostingThis.com mean is quite simple - you must optimize every email interaction for mobile devices.
Thankfully, for plain text emails, most email services already do this for you. It is important to keep in mind the short and direct rule laid out in #3 especially in consideration of mobile device readers. Smaller screens affect readability, so don't say more than you need to say.
When drafting a newsletter or other marketing email, it is crucial to ensure mobile device optimization. Services like MailChimp can help with this by using "mobile-responsive templates" which adapt sizing and placement of images for optimal readability.
5. Create an Informative Signature
A signature is text which attaches to the bottom of all emails you send. Creating a signature helps create an improved means of contact between you and your prospective clients. Here what to include:
- Your name
- Your position
- Your contact information
- Your business address
- Your business phone number
- Office hours
- Social media contact information
Beware of extensive links or images in your signature, which might cause your email to go into your recipients spam quarantine.
6. Reply Quickly
This may be the #1 rule for a better work emailing policy, as we mentioned in our previous article on emailing for business professionals. Aim for a 24-hour response policy.
Even if you need more time to address an issue presented in an email, it is polite to send a quick message back informing the sender of this.
I received your email. I am currently working on it and will reply in more detail later. Thank you!
Adopt an "Open Once" policy whenever possible. This means, upon opening an email, you reply in that instant. Opening an email and saving a reply for later runs a high risk of being forgotten.
7. Write Respectfully
Every digital interaction you have with a client creates a documentation of that interaction - in simpler terms, a "digital paper trail." Ensure you are always putting your best foot forward by writing consciously with a respectful tone. Avoid writing how you speak. Use a more formal tone.
Re-read twice before sending to catch typos and to ensure you've addressed everything. Remember that spell check doesn't always catch everything.
Avoid emoticons unless you know that person every well, and know that you can use a relaxed style.
8. Be Aware of Reply All, CC, and BCC
When you write an email, make sure you're sending the message to the people you intend to receive it.
Use this feature wisely, as it can be the start of many clogged email inboxes and unhappy recipients. Avoid using Reply All simply to let people know what you're doing. Use Reply All when there is an inquiry or negotiation which truly requires the participation of all involved party members.
Use CC when you need to say FYI. Do this when you don't expect action on their part, but just letting them know what is going on.
Use BCC when you're sending out a mass email and you do not want everyone's email addresses to be visible in the To or CC line.
9. Send Reminder Emails
If you haven't heard a response to an email you've sent out to a client, it's absolutely ok to send out a follow up inquiry. In fact, this inquiry makes you appear genuinely interested and invested in your relationship with the client.
If the issue isn't pressing, wait a full week before sending out a reminder email.
10. Start a New Subject Thread For Long Conversations
If you're in a lengthy subject thread where the conversation shifts slightly, the subject should change naturally along with it.
Either craft a new message to the team altogether with a new message thread, or edit the subject line before you send the message directly within the thread.
How do you create a strong emailing strategy for your office? What suggestions do you have to offer? We'd love to hear from you!