Thursday, April 26, 2012

How to Craft Emails That Get Responses

Tired of writing emails that don’t get answers? Following a few guidelines and thinking of your communications in a different way can help you get better results.
The Art of Manliness says to treat each email as a pitch. Bloggers Brett and Kate McKay write, “What you’re pitching is the idea that you’re worth responding to — and that can be a tough sell.”
The McKays offer a list of tips for crafting your emails — some obvious, some less so:
  • Respect the recipient’s time and make sure the email is necessary
  • Begin with a salutation
  • Type your email address correctly in the contact form
  • Address the email to a specific person or people
  • Spell the recipient’s name right
  • Build rapport before getting down to business
  • Keep your email short and to the point
  • Make your request crystal clear
  • Don’t be a tease (be forthcoming with what you want and what you have to offer)
  • If you have a website, link to it
  • Don’t use ALL CAPS or all lowercase
  • Proofread and spell-check
  • Close with a valediction
  • Return the favor (do what you can to support their website or business)
  • Follow up (but only once!)
That blog entry links to another blog, Think Simple Now, with its own guidelines for effective emails. It’s important to put yourself in the shoes of the recipient, who likely “Gets a lot of email; may receive compliments regularly, if they are a public figure; regularly gets asked a standard set of questions and favors; does not have a lot of free time; does not mind helping you, if it is fast.”

That blog entry also contains a list of 15 tips for effective emails:
  • Determine your desired outcome
  • Quickly answer the question, “What’s the point?”
  • State benefits clearly
  • Remember to KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid)
  • Stick to the facts
  • Pretend you’re involved in a face-to-face introduction
  • Imagine you’re sending a text message rather than an email
  • Avoid excessive compliments
  • Be personal and personable
  • Make it easy to be found
  • Use simple English
  • Use the correct font
  • Use proper, easy-to-read formatting
  • Minimize questions (and ask questions that truly matter)
  • Reread your email and trim unnecessary words before sending
What are your email pet peeves? What tactics are guaranteed to get you to hit “Reply” (or “Delete”)? Sound off in the comments.

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