I’ve written before about why it’s important to utilize phone calls rather than to resort to emails. But, there are times when writing an email is just what we have to do.
It is forecast that this year, over 300 billion emails are sent daily. There are a lot of emails being written out there! But, how does yours stand out? Whether it’s for the purpose of networking, setting up an appointment with a KOL, or checking in with a hiring manager to see if there is an interest in your application, here are 5 tips for writing an effective email. You’ll get noticed and a reply.
1. Make it personal
The closer your relationship is with the recipient, the more likely it is you’ll get a response, right? But we’re talking about sending emails to people we don’t know well, so part of the challenge is to make it feel like we know each other a little bit. There are some tricks we can use to help create a more personal connection. For starters, use their name as much as you can in the email without forcing it. People like to hear (or see) their name and it also makes your email not come across as one that you’re sending to multiple people. You can also remind the recipient that you have mutual friends or professional connections in order to help them feel like you’re not a *complete* stranger.
2. What’s in it for them?
Some people get a lot of emails. Emails asking for help, emails trying to get some time on their calendar, emails that can accumulate to the point of taking up a lot of time during the day. Is there a mutually-beneficial reason for this networking opportunity? Is there some important info you need to set up a meeting to present to the recipient? Does a hiring manager need to know that you’ll be off the market soon if they don’t have an answer for you shortly? If there is something about your message that benefits them (and I realize this may require some creativity sometimes), make sure to include it!
3. Keep it short
You can’t rely on peoples’ attention spans to read through a lengthy message from someone who they don’t know closely. We’re inadvertently trained to have shorter attention spans with today’s technology, plus people are just busy! If you overdo it with social niceties it will be too easy to dismiss the message as a waste of time and they’ll just move along to the next message in their inbox, perhaps before they even get to the most important info in your message.
Include only compelling and necessary information, and get to the point!
4. Be clear
Don’t leave your reader confused with why you’re reaching out. There are loads of emails out there asking for five minutes of your time or looking to network. Your chance of getting a response is better if you cut to the chase with the purpose rather than being vague. Remember that your email could quickly come across as spam or a mass email if you don’t get to the purpose quickly enough.
5. Check your grammar and spelling
This is obvious but it’s also the most important. Send an email that’s filled with errors and you’ll quickly lose credibility. We all make the mistake of thinking “well I basically proofread while I type” but mistakes sneak in all the time! Make sure to still read through the email in its entirety before sending it off. If you want an extra set of “eyes” on your emails, or if you just acknowledge that grammar and spelling aren’t your strengths, you can also download Grammarly to help you proof your written content.
Questions or comments? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Lawrence Beck, CPC