What are the odds of a furniture piece surviving in a blizzard? Almost zilch, right?
The winds can be deadly. And, in the aftermath, whatever is left, rests under a thick blanket of snow. Emails are the same.
Send an email to someone, and it ends up in a blizzard of other messages. Once the incoming email flow takes a breath, the email that you sent will already be suffocating under stacks of other emails.
Now, let’s suppose your email does get opened but is met with eye rolls. Why? Because it reads something like this:
I am XYZ, your local marketing gal. I am an expert in my feild. Reply back to this email if you need any marketing work done. Thanks.
Did I mention there’s no subject line or it is there, only that it’s as generic as the greeting. For instance, it reads “Something you might like.”
Mentally answers the email subject line before choosing to ignore it, “How would you know?”
If there’s anything that can convert those eye rolls to eyeballs on your message it is your writing. Incorrect or inappropriate writing can significantly impact the sender’s impression, especially, typos (‘progrsse’ instead of ‘progress’) and grammatical errors (‘their’ instead of ‘there’).
Tests conducted by Julie Boland, a cognitive psychologist, and Robin Queen, a sociolinguist, confirm this further. In their experiments, readers highlighted the writer as undesirable if his message had grammos or typos.
Moreover, such errors impacted readers’ perception of the writer. Here’s the semi-heartbreak alert, make sure you’re not drinking something right now.
Let’s cut to the chase now – email writing tips you should add to your arsenal
Before proceeding, let’s slice and dice an email’s structure. Emails comprise of the following four parts:
- Subject line
- Greeting and opening lines
- Closing lines
Each part of the email’s anatomy needs care and attention. Any part that shows a lack of proper pampering can serve as a turn-off for your reader.
If you favor one part over the other, it will land your email in the spam or ignore section.
So, you’d need to proceed with caution.
To improve each of these parts, I’ve added email writing tips for each of the constituents.
Here we go:
First things first – Setting your writing’s tone and tune
Have you ever noticed how a spinning top ends up in any direction gravity pulls it? You’d let it spin, and it will end up wherever it wanted. Such freedom of will.
Unfortunately, your email can’t have that kind of freedom. It’s a message to your target, not a spinning top after all. Therefore, the first thing that you need to do is set up a goal and writing tone.
Decide what you want your audience to do. Read a blog post? Avail a discount? Or, check out your new product?
Pick one because you’re not at leisure to pick more than one goal. Here are two examples that compare one goal v/s three goals:
|An email with an objective of getting the reader to attend
|An email with the goal of getting your reader to subscribe to your YouTube channel, share it on other social networks, and go through your updated product gallery.||
Your audience is more likely to take action when you stick with one goal.
It’s akin to your spouse asking you to get some candies on your way back to home from work. Except she mentioned five and you can recall only two – what was it? Reese’s, m&m’s, and what…?
Here is an example of how this email has only one underlying goal:
Career Contessa’s webinar invite
Now that you have your goal set, decide who your target audience is. This is crucial because the tone that your writing adopts depends on your audience.
The simplest hack for this – maintain a friendly-professional tone. Don’t go about being too personal.
A. Writing tips for your email’s fate-determining subject line
You need to be mindful of two things:
- Don’t ignore writing a subject line
- Make it attractive and specific to grab reader’s attention
When it comes to sending emails, there are broadly two classes of people – the ones who don’t add an email subject lines and the ones who add them.
And if you think that the former category doesn’t exist, think again. Sometime back, I helped one of my clients hire a freelance writer for her. Almost half of the email applications that I received did not have a subject line.
Here is one of them:
If you happen to be among folks who forget to write a subject line, then it’s okay – “to err is human.” But to learn is wise.
Now that it’s settled that you need a subject line, let’s get to another equally important point. Write an attention-grabbing subject line, which is specific and precise.
For instance, which would you prefer:
|Subject line 1||Sale.|
|Subject line 2||Up To 50% Sale On YYX Clothing Line Until December 25th.|
Remember that your subject line determines the fate of your email. It is either opened or left untouched.
Moreover, Convince & Convert reveals that 69% of the email recipients consider an email spam based on its subject line. Follow these main practices:
- Keep your subject line no longer than 50 words
- Don’t use exclamation marks as they give off spammy vibes
- Capitalize all the words in the subject line
Concerning the last point, MailChimp’s study saw an improved response rate by capitalizing the words in a subject line:
A clever trick is to write an email subject line that makes your reader feel special. For instance, NaNoWriMo’s email subject lines put the reader in the spotlight.
Looking for more subject-line inspiration?
Here are HubSpot’s 21 of the Best Email Subject Lines We’ve Ever Seen
B. Writing tips for an engaging email opening
Just with any other write-up, your email’s opening lines need to be attention-grabbing. Once your prospective has clicked open your email, your work is to ensure that he stays there instead of trotting away.
Therefore, you need proper a salutation and opening. A significant factor here is the degree of formality that you adopt. To this end, you need to know your audience.
If your audience is a senior executive, then a greeting such as “Yo, buddy” just won’t do. When deciding your email greeting and opening, ask yourself the following questions:
- Will the recipient be offended by an informal greeting?
- Will being informal serve your business’s purpose, making it more approachable?
The answer boils down to your audience. See how Career Contessa emailed me when I subscribed to their newsletter:
The email sender chose to use my name to personalize the email. Once done, Lauren (the email sender) gets straight to the point by introducing herself. Now, let’s compare two examples of an email’s opening.
Email opening example 1
Your ABC tool has been upgraded.
Email opening example 2
Thank you for choosing our services. As mentioned in your maintenance agreement, your ABC tool has been automatically upgraded.
Doesn’t the second example sound better? It has a touch of personalization, it thanks the user for using the service, and it also clearly gets to the meat of the matter.
C. Writing tips for a well-written email body
So you’ve succeeded in overcoming two major obstacles – writing an enticing email and getting your reader’s attention. Now what?
You take a step further and start writing an email body that conveys your message to the reader succinctly and clearly. Follow these tips for an awesome email body:
1. Maintain a professional friendly voice
You don’t want to be informal or poke your nose in someone else’s business. You also don’t want to come off as a chatterbox with zero credibility. Therefore, maintain the same professional, friendly voice that you adopted in the opening of your email.
What’s more, track your tone throughout the email. Your tone plays a crucial role. Compare and see for yourself in these examples below:
Email tone example 1
I need you to submit your response by 2 p.m. today or I’ll get back on my publishing schedule.
Email tone example 2
Thanks for all your effort on the blog post. Could you please share your edited version with me by 2 p.m. today, so that I don’t miss the publishing schedule?
Thanks so much,
2. Keep your message short
Nobody wants to read a novel for an email. So, it is best to write a short and to the point email. According to Boomerang, an email software provider, each word after 125 words reduces your chance of getting an email response.
If you have a lot more to say, give a link to the detailed document.
3. Keep it sweet and positive as well
Boomerang also suggests that writing with emotion helps to increase the response to your email. Not to mention, such an email resonates with your email recipient, so he understands your point better.
This is how the response rate looks like when you interlace your emails with positive sentiments:
To give you some context, use positive words such as delighted, pleased, wonderful, and great in your emails. At the same time, try to limit the use of words such as terrible, furious, hate, bad, and so on.
4. Get to the point immediately
Beating about the bush in your email only repels the reader. Therefore, instead of working on scene-building in detail, cut to the chase and discuss what needs to be done.
You’d be surprised to read how short and apt the email from Scoot Steeves, the head of the Globe’s union, was to his staff members. Not to mention, the email elicited significant responses too:
5. Make your email more readable
A wordy email almost always gets ignored. Work to improve your email’s readability and make it more easy-to-understand. In this regard, you should:
- Keep your sentences and paragraphs short
- Use simple language and avoid using complicated words
- Write like you’re writing for a third-grader
Here’s more on how to improve your content’s readability.
We can always learn by example too. Here’s one from Kaleigh Moore’s newsletter, a Cup of Copy:
Notice how Kaleigh uses short paragraphs and simple language.
6. Use bullet points
Adding bullet points to your email body also simplifies your message. Best of all group the pointers in three as that has a greater impact on your reader. This is how Forbes used bullet points to explain what one of their webinars will discuss:
7. Avoid using exclamation points!!!
Social media addiction has got us using exclamation points excessively. People think that these express excitement. However, grammar rules disagree. A 2005 grammar guide highlights that an exclamation point “indicates extreme pain, fear, astonishment, anger, disgust, or yelling.”
Since you’re emailing and not conversing with a friend, you need to ensure that you limit the use of exclamation points. Moreover, you need to be extra cautious if you are developing a new relationship with someone via email or contacting them for the first time.
Here are common instances when exclamation points are used:
8. Add images
Adding images is akin to adding life to your words. It makes your email more visually appealing, therefore, more readable. Notice how Trello makes its emails interesting:
9. Ask a question
Another email writing tip includes asking questions from your readers. Emails that ask 1-3 questions are roughly 50% more likely to get a response as compared to emails that don’t ask questions.
Ann Handley’s email is a classic case in point in this matter. You can see how she does her magic below:
10. Refrain from using repeat words
Repeating yourself or your words sucks the life out of your email. Often, people use repeat words within the same paragraph, or twice in a sentence. This bores your reader. Therefore, avoid these words:
To keep their usage at bay, read the email out loud or use tools such as Grammarly to pick repeat words for you.
11. Avoid email clichés
Lastly, you don’t want to use email clichés. Some of these hackneyed phrases include:
Replace these with better words. For instance, change the “I look forward to hearing from you” to “Always happy to hear from you.”
You can learn more from Grammarly’s alternatives for “I look forward to hearing from you.”
12. Write like a human
The most important tip for writing an email is writing like a human. Your message will head to a human, so why type or talk like a robot? Such a way of writing helps to cultivate positive relationships.
In contrast, technical terms and industry jargon intimidate your readers. Besides, avoid adding uncommon abbreviations in your email.
D. Email writing tips for a great closing
As you near the end of your email, don’t forget to add a call-to-action or what you want your reader to do. Alternatively, you can near the end with a question if you’re interested in nurturing relationships with your emails.
Readable.io used the following CTA in their email, for instance:
Additionally, you need to keep in mind that a reader who has read through your email deserves to be left feeling good after he closes your email. So, you need a strong closing. Two effective ways to end include:
- Identifying your reader again in the closing lines
|Thanks again for choosing our services.
- Adding a P.S.
Adding a postscript is an incredible trick for closing your email. A P.S. refers to a phrase, a sentence, or small paragraph and it is one of the widely read parts of an email.
Hence, you can add a call-to-action or a special offer/discount in this section. Example:
|P.S. I almost forgot to tell you. If you sign up for my newsletter by the end of the month, I’ll add a free guide to your course plan.|
Bonus point – Use a custom email address and email signature
A golden tip that comes after writing your email includes using a branded email address to send off your email to your recipient(s). Additionally, sign your email with an email signature block.
A branded email address is the one that is custom-made to reflect your brand’s name and your name. For example, email@example.com is a custom email address. On the other hand, firstname.lastname@example.org is a regular email address.
Moreover, a professional email signature used to sign-off a message looks like this:
Add an email block and a custom email address help increase your email’s response rate. Hard to swallow? There’s evidence that proves just this point.
A case study emailed 600 messages, all divided into groups of three with each class having 200 emails. Here’s what happened:
- 200 emails were sent out via Gmail email
- 200 messages were sent using a custom email address
- 200 emails were sent using a branded email plus an email signature
–Emails send out via Gmail got 8% response rate: There were 16 positive replies out of 200.
–Emails send via a branded email address showed a response rate of 21.5%: There were 43 out of 200 positive replies.
-Emails send out using custom email + email signature showed the highest response rate of 29.5%: The sender got 59 positive replies out of 200.
Here’s a visual demonstration:
The conclusion is simple – Sending out emails via a branded email address and signing it off by an email block gets 3x positive replies than emails via a generic email address and with an email signature.
You can use services such as MySignature to make an email signature for yourself.
In conclusion, there’s a lot of work that goes into writing an email that wins hearts. If you want any help with your content creation though, then you can reach me out here. I’ll leave you with a quick recap of what the email writing tips that you need to know:
– Chalk out your email’s goal and set the tone of your message
-Write short and attention-grabbing a subject line
-Start with a good salutation and don’t use negative emotions in your email
-Write short paragraphs and add bullet points
-Avoid using repeat words, email clichés, and exclamation points
-Add a call-to-action (CTA) and close your email properly
Don’t forget to proofread your work for picking out any typos, spelling mistakes, repeat words, grammatical or punctuation errors.