Because the world conducts most of its business via email, it seems like a good idea to write about them. Effective emails are the key to writing successfully in business.
Telephone calls, meetings, and text messaging are part of the way we communicate, but the bulk of what we say and what we ask happens via our inboxes.
We write emails to:
- Provide information
- Answer queries
- Ask for information
- Build relationships
- Deliver reports
- Submit proposals
- Make offers
If we communicate clearly and simply, we have a better chance of getting the response we want.
Here are 10 tips to help you write effective emails:
1. Send it to the correct person
2. Dear Sir or Madam
Do not use archaic overly formal language. Use a respectful, cordial greeting and salutation. Make sure your tone is correct for the subject and recipient.
3. The subject line must tell us what the email covers
Do not leave this empty. It shows an immaturity in business and spam filters are likely to send it to junk mail. Use the subject line to indicate clearly what you want from the email. Are you advertising an event, sending an update, asking a question, setting a deadline, or requesting information? Whatever it is, make it clear. [Read The 12 Worst Mistakes People Make In Email Subject Lines]
Example: Short Story Course – Take advantage of our discount
4. Write in your own voice
Write the way you would speak. Use a conversational tone and allow your personality to come through. People will see through your ‘business persona’ and your affectation will alienate them. [Read But How Did The Email Make You Feel?] Do not use big words and complex, convoluted sentence structures.
Do not say: We require your consumer-related data for the course at this point in time.
Do say: We need your registration information now.
5. Start at the end
Start your email with the reason for writing. Do not build up to it. You are not writing a suspense novel. We don’t have time to wade through your history, your resume and anything else you include. We need to decide if the email is of interest to us. This is vital if you want to craft effective emails.
Example: Writers Write is offering a discount on the course you’re interested in attending.
6. Ask a question
Before we write the email we should be clear about what we want to achieve. Be specific. Be confident without being arrogant.
Example: Would you like to take advantage of our offer?
7. Less is more
Be brief. Be courteous. Your email should not be longer than 250 words. Keep it as short as possible without sacrificing important information. One way to get this right is by using the five Ws and the one H to make sure you cover the facts.
8. Include a deadline
If we want to write effective emails, we need to be clear about when we need the response.
Example: This offer is valid until 23 December 2016. If you want to take advantage, please book before that date.
9. Make us care
Show readers why this is of interest to them. Why should they spend time on our request? Know your audience. If you write effective emails, you won’t waste their time with frivolous requests.
Example: We are making this offer because you asked us to alert you about new dates.
10. Do not harass the recipient
Once we’ve sent the email, detailed our reason for sending it, and given a deadline, we have done what we can. If you require an urgent response, send one reminder email to make sure the recipient is aware of the importance. After that, leave them alone.
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