How much time per workday would you say you spend on email? If you’re like most of today’s workforce, the answer is probably “quite a lot.” At the very least, you likely rely on email for some aspect of your job, even if that’s limited to internal communication. Whether you’re regularly using email to reach out to your CEO, respond to customer queries, or organize your team’s holiday lunch, the way you write your email matters.
According to a report from Statista, 293.6 billion emails were sent each day over only a one-year period. With that many emails being sent and received, there’s a huge potential for things to go wrong, whether that be in who emails are being sent to, how they’re written or what they’re used for. Similarly, though, having access to your customer base through email offers your business a considerable earning opportunity. According to DMA, every $1 spent on email marketing campaigns could return an average of $42! This type of return isn’t a given though. Emails need to be carefully crafted in order to be effective.
Whether you’re using email to attract or retain customers (as 81% of small and midsized businesses do, according to Emarsys), negotiate a deal, or communicate with coworkers, your message matters. This includes ensuring that:
- You’ve used the address fields correctly
- You have an effective subject line
- You have a warm greeting and closing
- The message is well-written and clear
By following these next four tips you can build effective emails time and time again that will impress the recipient, regardless of who that is.
1. Follow the Recipe
Perhaps you’ve experienced the following scenario before: you need to write an important email to a valued customer. You open a new email on your screen. You fill out the “To” field. Maybe you come up with a brief, catchy, effective subject line. When you get to the body of the message, though, you go blank. Where should you even begin?
Next time this happens to you, remember this recipe: start with a warm greeting, include a friendly buffer statement, convey your message and wrap things up with a closing statement. If you use this outline for each of your messages, you’ll have a starting place from which to break through any writer’s block that might pop up.
Achieving the desired tone of your email message is a skill that not everyone gets exactly right. Because email doesn’t allow for any additional context clues to help convey the tone of the message, the recipient is taking the message at face value. This leaves things open for interpretation.
When writing any sort of business email correspondence, it’s best to aim for a “business-friendly” tone. This will help balance the tendency to either write overly formal messages or excessively friendly messages. The “business-friendly” approach will ensure that your emails land in that ideal middle ground, reducing the chance your email is interpreted incorrectly.
3. Keep it brief
Regardless of how long it takes you to compose an email, the recipient is likely to only have two to three minutes to read the message. In order to ensure that they read the entirety of what you have to say, keep messages as brief as possible. When faced with a lengthy message, many people will either skim, missing important details, or will put the email aside for later. It’s unlikely an email set aside for later reading will be looked at again given how many emails people receive each day. Your best chance at getting an email read on the first try is to pay attention to the length and remove any unnecessary detail from your message.
4. Check your addressees
When composing an email, the address fields are often the first parts filled out. Since email systems have address books that automatically populate email addresses when you type in just a few letters, it’s very possible to send your email to the wrong “Bob.” Given that this can have several negative or embarrassing consequences, it’s best to double-check your addressees just prior to sending your email to ensure your message is being sent to the intended recipient.
These four tips only scratch the surface of information about harnessing email to enhance your customer service offerings, both internally and externally. Want to learn more about writing effective emails, including how to write with conviction, how to handle irate customers via email, and how to harness humor in writing? Contact a ServiceSkills representative today and request a free demo of Email Matters: The Art of Better Service. Be sure to check out these other great courses in the Email MattersSM series: