Want to become a pro at writing better emails? I want to give 7 easy, but powerful email tips to make emailing better.
According to Statista 269 billion emails were sent and received every single day in 2017. And this number is only going up! How can you become a better emailer? And why does this matter? The better you are at email the more likely:
- Your emails get opened
- You have faster email response rates
- People don’t archive or ignore your emails
- You build your professional credibility by sending clear, concise emails
Learning to email well can help you get more done and be more successful. Here are my top email tips:
Email Tip #1: Abusing the word URGENT
This is URGENT I need it back ASAP. It’s SUPER IMPORTANT because I’m writing in all caps. When I see URGENT in an email subject, my heart starts to race. I think about actually urgent things like bloodshed or falling off a cliff or Youtube being down–you know really serious things. If you overuse ASAP and URGENT you run the risk of people taking you less seriously when it is actually urgent down the line. Don’t be like the boy who cried wolf.
Take-Away: Don’t abuse ASAP, URGENT, IMPORTANT unless it is really, really ASAP, URGENT, or IMPORTANT.
Email Tip #2: If it’s longer than three paragraphs, STOP
Have you ever received and exceptionally long email — you know the ones where you have to scroll and scroll and scroll and they just never end? Really really long emails are really really tempting to just archive or ignore.
Why? Something psychological happens with really long emails. If you spent two hours writing me a small novel in your email, I feel bad replying with only two sentences. So I don’t…I literally ignore it in my inbox until the email is no longer relevant OR you call me about it.
Maybe your email should have been a call or meeting in the first place? If you have a virtual team, it can be incredibly hard to keep emails concise because you can’t just pop by someone’s office with a question.
Take-Away: If your email is longer than three paragraphs consider calling. It’s easier for both of you!
Email Tip #3: Start new chains
Have you ever got an email where the subject is just filled with forwards and replies? Or have you ever been on an email chain that is 48 threads long and has nothing to do with the subject or the original question? Let’s stop the madness! If you are on a chain that doesn’t have to do with the original subject or has gone so far off course that you have no idea where you started then it’s time to start a new chain. Everyone on the thread will thank you. By the way, if you need some email templates to nicely, and concisely start new emails check out these good email templates from Buffer.
Take-Away: Don’t let your email chains last forever. A good email should always be retired.
Email Tip #4: Use a hierarchy of facts
This is my super advanced tip for exceptional email skills. Always put the most important idea up top. At best, people skim their emails. At worst, they don’t finish reading them. Don’t bury your lead. If you have a big question or a big idea, put it right up top so you have a better chance of someone actually seeing it. This is just one of many email mistakes you can make, but is the most important for increasing your response rate.
Take-Away: Get your big idea out as soon as possible.
Email Tip #5: Contain your emotion
Emotions can destroy your email credibility. And it can go one of two ways. Overly excited emails can drive people crazy. Quadruple explanation points, 5 smiley faces and 3 hearts later and your email cred is at zero. I love excitement, but don’t get too excited…especially about emojis. You also want to avoid emotional emailing. This is when you are angry, upset or irritated and you email everyone something a little nasty. I promise you WILL regret it.
Take-Away: If your heart is pounding while you are writing an email, the STOP. Take a break to revisit the email in 24 hours.
Email Tip #6: Add the address last
[Typing typing] huh, no, no, come back. I wasn’t ready. No, don’t send, Unsend. Come back!
Have you ever sent an email too soon? Oh yes, here’s a big rookie mistake. You open an email and start from the top. To: Subject: Message. Wrong! Always add the address last. You never know when that pesky send button gets a life of its own.
Take-Away: Subject first. Address last.
Email Tip #7: End on a call to action
As a reader at the end of an email you have two choices. Reply or ignore. As a sender you always want them to reply. The best way to increase your response rates is to always end your email on a call to action. If you really want to get fancy you can bold it… Whats the one thing you need them to do, answer, ask. End on this to make it easy for them to reply.
Take-Away: End with action.
Bonus: Email Like a Boss
Love this handy go-to email guide from @danidonovan as well:
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📧 I've been working on being more conscious of how I write emails, and made this handy printable guide! . I have a bad habit of overusing exclamation points, emojis, and qualifiers like "just" and "possibly" to sound extra-friendly and non-threatening in emails. (“Just wondering / just confirming / just checking / just making sure / just wanted to let you know”) . You are allowed to take up space. Your voice deserves to be heard. Your opinions matter. You don’t need to apologize for existing or asking for what you need. You are not “bossy” or “bitchy” for not sounding like a pep-machine 24/7. . If you act like a doormat, you better develop a taste for shoe leather. You have power too. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself— no one else is gonna do it for you. . Want to support my art, join our awesome Discord community, and get exclusive access to see new comics before anyone else? Link in bio 💕
About Vanessa Van Edwards
Lead Investigator, Science of People
I’ve always wanted to know how people work, and that’s what Science of People is about. What drives our behavior? Why do people act the way they do? And most importantly, can you predict and change behavior to be more successful? I think the answer is yes. More about Vanessa.
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