Here’s an interesting thing to consider. When you’re writing marketing material, I bet you think very carefully about what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. Hardly surprising – you want to make sure you get your message across loud and clear because it’s key to the long term success of your business.
Do you pay the same attention when you’re writing an email to a supplier, a colleague, or even an individual customer? Probably not. Again, hardly surprising. Email is an instant medium and most of us write so many of them that they can’t all be mini-masterpieces.
But it is still worthwhile taking the time to make sure your email is communicating your message effectively, for no other reason than it’s good manners. It saves the recipient time and energy in having to work out what you were trying to say and helps to build strong relationships.
With that in mind, here are my six top tips for writing effective emails.
- We’re all busy – if you’ve only got a quick query, ask yourself – would it be better to pick up the phone to get the answer I need rather than cluttering up someone’s inbox?
- We’re all busy – break up your email into bite size paragraphs so people can scan to get to the info they need quickly.
- We’re all busy – set your email in context so people don’t end up scratching their heads about what on earth you’re talking about, even momentarily. Say, “At our meeting last week you asked me to send you info on x – I’m attaching it now, best wishes, Catherine”. Don’t say, “Here is the info you requested, best wishes, Catherine”.
- We’re all busy – don’t cc people in unless you really need to – no one likes reading emails that aren’t relevant. And if someone needs it for info, consider saying that in the email so they’re in no doubt that they’re not being expected to do anything.
- We’re all busy – use helpful subject lines that sum up the contents of your message. This will help recipients know what to expect as well as make it easier to find when looking back later on.
- We all have to make a living – put your contact details, web links, social media links, details of special offers and promotions in your email signature so you’re not missing an opportunity to promote and stay in touch.
Those are my six tips. What are your tips for writing better emails? And what are your pet hates when it comes to email?
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