January 17, 2012

10 Tips for Writing a Productive Email

Ever have trouble receiving the email response you want? Or rather, not even receiving a response at all? The key to writing an email is to make sure you know exactly what you want from it. The clearer the intention of the email, the easier it will be to form the email, and achieve the desired reply. Follow these helpful tips to help you get the response you want:

1. Know the response. By knowing exactly what you want from the email recipient, you can form the email in a certain way. Generally, there are three types of emails you can send out:

  • Informative email - You're not really looking for a reply, but rather just simply want to inform or update the recipient about a certain matter.

  • Need Reply email - You're looking for a response back that may have any advice, questions, or answers relevant to a mutual topic.

  • Action email - The intention of this type of email would be to have an action done by the recipient such as recommendations, providing a useful link or contact information.

2. Make it concise. Don't beat around the bush and just get to the point. People know there is something you want from them, so offer a greeting, and then get straight to the message you are trying to send. Not only is being concise a factor to contribute in an email, but make sure the message is clear. You don't want your receiver to be confused about your message or have trouble answering a question that doesn't make sense.

3. Keep it simple. Keep your email content to a minimum to make it easier on the eyes. If it's the first time you're sending someone an email, be sure to introduce yourself, provide context about when you met, and the reason for contacting the recipient. You want to be brief, but make it simple and easy to understand, so that you can achieve your desired outcome.

4. Pretend it's an in-person encounter. You're not going to be sharing you're entire life story with someone you just met. You don't want to ramble on in an email, but you want to keep it short and simple. Use conversational English to make it realistic, and portray yourself as approachable.

5. Be sincere. Although an email doesn't display any type of emotion, a person can tell through certain phrasings whether a compliment or praise is genuine or not. Your words may portray the image of being selfish and only being interested in your desired result from the recipient. Be sure to actually be sincere, and make a trustworthy impression.

6. Personalize the email. If you really don't need a response, go ahead and use a cookie cutter template, but be sure to include the correct name. Otherwise, be sure to fully personalize your email to the recipient, and even add in something specific to your encounters with that person. By customizing each email to each recipient, it shows that you're interested in creating a long-term relationship.

7. Connect on all levels. Be sure to include all your contact information in the signature of the email so that you can connect with that person on a social medium as well. Include your URL for your website, blogs, or product, as well as links to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Or just LinkedIn for a professional contact.

8. Make emails easy to read. You don't want to have your recipient go blind with neon colors and large text in your email. Make it an appropriate font size and color, as well as have short paragraphs, or yet, write in bullet points:

  • Don't focus on too much email content.

  • Make it interesting and short.

  • Keep it easy to read and emphasize the intention of the email with the appropriate italics and bolds of words.

9. Don't ask too many questions. Limit your questions in an email to a maximum of 2. If you ask too many questions, there's a high chance that not all your questions will be answered, and maybe you won't even receive a reply. You don't want to overwhelm the recipient by blowing up the email with questions. Question in moderation. ;)

10. Make it relevant. Time is money. Make sure you are not wasting the recipient's time by sending an email that he or she would have no interest in. By making sure your email is pertinent to your recipient, you would have a better chance for receiving a reply, and have a continuous email conversation that could lead to a long-term relationship.

These tips should help you write more successful emails, and be more productive with your email recipients. They should create a path for you to build effective relationships, and master the valuable ones!