Somewhere between spending four years of college writing papers and becoming a copywriter, I like to think I’ve become a good writer. At least I hope so because I do get paid for it. At the same time, emailing has become a ubiquitous form of communication, but yet it’s a tool that most people don’t know how to fully take advantage of. After almost 10 years of emailing, endless amounts of writing, a persuasive communications class later, and A LOT of observing I’ve come up with a list of the top 10 tips for your best emails.
- Pick a good email address: Back in the ages of hotmail and AOL mail, we all had those cheesy bigsmiles1234@___.com addresses, but in this day and age, pick a name that appropriately and professionally represents you, and stick with it.
- SUBJECT: How often do you read a bad subject line and just delete the email? Exactly. If you want it opened, capture that person’s interest.
- Greeting: Hello, dear, hey what’s up?, hi, etc… Depending on who you are emailing, pick the right one. Personally “Dear” is way outdated but if it still floats your boat go for it, just don’t write a perspective employer a hey what’s up.
- Gage your audience: Do you need an intro sentence? Should you start with the “hope all is well” or can you jump right into the ask or reason for the email? Does proper grammar matter or can you get away with typos? Do you need to be politically correct? My international relations degree comes in really handy with this, especially because when you’re writing to reporters, politicians, co-workers, etc – everyone requires different tones, implications, etc. That said, no one needs an international relations degree to know that you simply need to mind your audience and CYA (cover your a**) because once it’s online, it’s forever.
- Length: Don’t get wordy. Get to the point. An email is an email, not an essay or a newspaper article.
- REPLY ALL: there are times for reply all and there are times when reply all should NEVER be used. Figure out those times. Don’t include 50 people in an email that pertains only to two and don’t leave 10 people out of a message that’s important. This is one of the most wrongly utilized email tools and I cannot emphasize enough the importance of learning the appropriate times for it.
- FWD: Do you really need to forward that chain email? That store promotion? Don’t abuse the forward feature and if you think it is a valuable message for someone at least change the subject so the receiver knows why you’re forwarding a message.
- Don’t abuse it: Is this email something that could be more easily solved with a phone call or a text? We all have endless mailboxes these days, don’t add to it by sending an email about a simple issue that could be otherwise solved.
- Be affirmative: This goes along a little with number 5. Don’t dilly dally with your message. Be persuasively affirmative, but not rude. Convey your message without offending anyone. Deliver the message while minding your manners.
- Ditch non-affirmative words: See my last post, but these words take away from your message.
Got any other emailing best practicing tips?