I know writing emails seems pretty basic—doesn’t it?
You’d think so, but from what I’ve seen, there are a LOT of people who don’t know how to write emails.
This is the basic format of the ones I see:
GREETING: Hi Bob,
REASON FOR EMAILING: I wanted to check in about your new product development.
QUESTIONS/CALL TO ACTION: When can I get a sample?
While keeping things short and snappy may work for around-the-office questions and memos, when emailing a client, it can sound just plain rude.
Why does this come off as rude? In person, making a quick request or demand can be balanced out by a friendly tone, body language, eye contact, and a smile. But in an email, your recipient only has the words you type from which to cypher your meaning.
And if you’re an entrepreneur, emailing may be the most crucial piece in your sales process—which means it’s especially important that you come across the way that you want to in the inbox!
Here are my four best tips on writing professional emails that are personal, clear and compelling.
- Make it Personal
Here’s the tricky thing: We write business emails to get a response. We may be looking for an answer to a question, a file to review, or a response to our proposal.
It’s tempting to just dump everything you need into a few sentences and hit send. But I’m going to share a secret with you: I do that all the time—but I don’t hit send.
Before I hit send, I go back to the beginning of the email. I’ll add in a sentence or two with a personal comment or a wish of goodwill—something that reminds both myself and the person I’m writing to that we’re real people, and it’s okay to be nice about it!
- Make it Perfect
Next, I carefully comb through the sentences that follow. Do they make sense? Is my grammar correct? Am I clear about how I want the recipient to respond?
The best way to proofread is to read your email aloud. You’ll be way more likely to catch typos than if you just scanned it!
- Make it Actionable
Finally, I take a look at the closing of the email. When possible, I’ll add in a friendly send-off, even something as simple as, “Looking forward to hearing back from you soon!” which actually functions as a call to action, while still sounding kind.
I may even say “I’m available Monday from 3-4pm. Would it work for you to have a call then?” The more specific your call-to-action is, the better—it makes less work for the person you’re emailing!
- Use the Right Voice.
Always remember to take your relationship with the recipient into account. Don’t be too cutesy when emailing a new client for the first time, and don’t be too formal when emailing someone you’ve known for 10 years. As your personal relationship evolves, your technological relationship should too.
So, what’s the secret to writing an email?
Remember, you’re not in the same room, so body language, eye contact, and tone of voice won’t do anything to help convey your meaning.
So ultimately, you have to write every email twice.
The first time, you get out all the questions/issues you need to address. The second time, you make it sound warm and inviting, as though you’re a real human taking time to contact another real human.
And here’s the real secret: The more human, authentic and personal you are, the more business success you’ll have.
P.S. Are you ready to level up communication strategies for your small business? Click here to schedule a discovery call with me!
Elle is a veteran entrepreneur and creative strategist who takes businesses to the next level and helps thought leaders expand their influence. As a pitch coach for Aviatra’s LAUNCH cohorts, she uses her background as a professional actress to help women explain what they do with confidence and presence. Visit her website here.