“How to write an email?” is a question everybody knows the answer. If we expand the question to “how to write and email that works“, then things get a bit more complicated. Nowadays we are swamped in digital communication, and the hardest thing to do is stand out in a positive way. Knowing how to write an email is a completely different from knowing how to write an email that works.
In this article we will write the top tips on how to write an email that works. And by the way, it you think we are talking about the recipient of your messages, you are only half correct. You should know how to write an email that works for you as well.
To know how to write an email “that works” you should write as you were the recipient
How much time do you reserve to every email that hits your inbox? A couple of seconds? To understand how to write an email you need to start asking a simple question:
What if I were the recipient of this email?
Put yourself in the person that will receive the email. Imagine to be her or him, close your eyes for a moment and when you open them again, look at your email with those eyes. I am sure that in many cases you won’t read past the first few lines.
To know how to write an email you should make sure to look at it and ask yourself: would I read it if I received it in my inbox? Would I lose interest? Would I miss the point?
Make it easy for people to read it
One of the key elements on knowing how to write an email is to be able to pass your message clearly. People either don’t have the time, the patience or the attention span to read through the lines, especially when they receive dozens -if not hundreds- of emails every day.
Don’t overdo, don’t beat around the bushes, but keep it simple. If you want something, introduce yourself briefly and say what you want. If I risk to lose the point, your email is worthless. How to write an email passes through knowing how to pass a simple message.
Try not to embellish your writing too much: a bit of flowers around are fine, but if you cover your important message with them, be a florist instead!
Make it easy for people to say yes
Another very important element to know how to write an email that works is making it easy for people to say yes. If you send the same cover letter to apply to twenty different jobs, you will be the master of nothing and you will ruin your chances in the first few seconds. Make it personal! Save time by not writing “War and Peace” and re-invest that time to research who you are writing to.
If you reply to a client or a lead, have you asked which are the motives that pushed them to write to you in the first place? Knowing how to write an email is about knowing who you are writing to and giving them something they want; it is a win win situation.
If I write to an editor for a submission, I will make sure she has all the information she needs straight in the email. No need to go back and forth asking for more info and losing time. Of course if she loses time, she may either say no, or make you lose your time in a long email exchange.
Don’t edit while you write
Last, but not least, don’t edit while you write. How to write an email means that the smaller amount of time you invest, the happier you will be. Editing while you write, correcting every sentence as long as it is not perfectly shaped is the best advice I can give you to lose focus.
Write your email, be to the point, be quick and don’t worry about any grammar mistake. You will be able to read it again before sending it.
Please, do yourself a favour: treat the emails you write like hot potato and avoid keeping them in your hands for too long!