Email readers have the attention span of a gold fish (for real). Here’s how to write an email that people will actually read.
Before you start writing an email, ask yourself, “who am I writing to?”. Today we’re going to focus on writing the very first email that someone – a potential client, colleague or business partner, perhaps – is going to receive from you.
Ditch those fancy-pants names
First things first, always send your emails from your official email address: that means the one that is assigned to you at your place of work. Don’t have an official work email address? Don’t use something like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com if you’re trying to make a good first impression. It’s not clear from these email addresses who you are, which means your mail might be deleted, not to mention you’re probably going to come across as being a little, well, immature and unprofessional. But you’re a quirky hipster who likes to express yourself? Well, your potential client might not be and when it comes to generating new business, they’re the people who matter. By the same token, starting the body of an email by addressing it to the (correctly spelled) name of the person it’s being sent to means it’s more likely to be read all the way to the very end. People like to know that you’ve taken the time to find out who they are.
Know your subject
The subject line of your email has to grab your reader’s attention, but still be short and concise. The best thing to do is just summarise what’s in the email. Something like: ‘Overview of meeting regarding strawberry-picking business’. If you’re pitching an idea to a client, say something like: ‘Ideas for potential stories’ or ‘Potential leads for the June issue’. Similarly, if it’s a follow-up email to an interviewer after a job interview, you can write: ‘Thank you for meeting with me for an interview today’.
Get a good body
Imagine this: you’re drafting an email that hasn’t been spell checked and is littered with incomplete thoughts and grammatical errors and – by mistake – you hit send. It’s happened to many of us and it’s a potential nightmare, people. The best way to avoid doing this is to finish the email entirely before putting the email address in the address bar. (And make sure you put in the right email address while you’re at it! Angela once sent the wrong email to competitor publishers by mistake and it wasn’t very funny.) Did you know that the average person’s attention span when it comes to reading an email is eight seconds? That’s less than a gold fish! KISS (Keep It Simple, Silly) is the way to go with emails.
Link and drive
There’s nothing worse than getting a super-heavy file in an already full or nearly-full inbox. If your client is super busy (and chances are they are) it’s likely they’ll just delete your mail if it’s too large, thereby deleting all the hard work you put into writing it too. That, or it won’t get to them in the first place as most corporate inboxes have teeny tiny space capacities to keep things running smoothly. There are so many free or inexpensive cloud-sharing options today, there’s no reason to send ginormous files via email anymore.
Happy emailing and get in touch with us if you want us to write an email (or two) for you! firstname.lastname@example.org