Writing effective emails that get you what you’re looking for can go a long way. The average employee spends 28 percent of the working day on managing email, based on a recent estimate by the McKinsey Global Institute.
Despite companies such as WordPress who have eliminated email from their work structure completely, email is not an outdated system. The average office employee receives 121 emails per day, as estimated by Campaign Monitor. As long as other people insist on using email, we’re stuck with using it, too.
Since time is the most valuable resource for both people and businesses, wasting time on inefficient emails is a wasting of your most precious capital.
If email takes such a large share of the working day, is there any way to make emails more efficient? Well, there are some guidelines that can help you write better emails and avoid common mistakes. Here are 5 ways to improve your email writing skills:
1. Know your recipient
Your goal is to get a response from your recipient. Therefore, the first step is to make sure that your email will not just remain unread in your recipient’s inbox. Avoid generic emails, and instead, try to collect information about the person you’re writing to before sending your email.
Build trust by showing that you know what you’re talking about. Be honest and explain why the solution that you’re offering would benefit your reader. To add a personal touch, it’s a good practice to use the first name of your recipient. People want to know that you’re speaking to them specifically.
2. Stick to one topic
You should cover only one topic per email. Spare your other topics for other separate emails. Since most people find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer amount of emails they receive every day, try to avoid overcommunication. Consider what information is required and choose only the necessary. If possible, deliver sensitive information in person rather than via email.
3. Pay attention to subject lines
The subject line is the first, and sometimes the only, part of your email that your recipient will read. Given that, you should create a subject line that leaves your recipient wanting for more.
These days, people detect email promotions a mile away. That’s why, you need to offer your reader some motivation to open the email. To hook your reader, you must promise real value such as a discount or free trial in the subject line.
However, you must establish a balance between providing enough details in your subject line and keeping it short, too. In particular, this requirement relates to mobile devices with smaller screens where longer subject lines could be cut off.
4. Keep it simple and smooth
According to a general rule, the shorter, the better. After a successful subject line, your reader has now opened your email. You want to get your message across, so make sure to be concise and get to the point. Every additional detail that doesn’t forward your message is another reason for your reader to stop reading.
If, however, your message requires more background and you cannot avoid writing a longer email, make it at least easy to read and skim through. Try to use the following:
- Headlines and bulleted lists
- Short sentences and paragraphs
- Important parts in bold
- Simple terms, no jargon
The average person reads only 20 percent of the text on a webpage. These methods can help your reader pay attention to the most important parts of your email.
5. Proofread your text
Polishing your email before you send it shows appreciation for your recipient. You don’t want your message to end up in the spam folder. Spelling mistakes can easily put many of us off and offer a reason to skip the rest of your email. This makes proofreading a crucial step in the email writing process.
If editing your own text is not your strength, there are tools and services that can help you with this stage. Take a look at these:
- Grammarly – a proofreading application that helps you avoid common mistakes in grammar, spelling, punctuation, style, and word choice.
- Grammar Girl – a blog and podcast focused on providing writing tips for people who want to improve their writing and editing skills.
- Handmadewritings – a website that offers a range of writing and editing services that can assist you in producing and editing your content.
- ProWritingAid – a writing tool that includes a style editor, grammar checker and writing mentor to help you with your writing process.
In case you want to read more about writing effective business emails, you can check our earlier post about writing business emails.
We hope that these 5 tips will help you write successful emails that get the job done. Try them in practice and write effective emails that stand out and engage your recipient.