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April 21
10:04 2022


 Make them concise, clear, and not something recipients dread receiving

When it comes to a call to action, or CTA, do not leave anything up to interpretation.

By Michael Wayne

Walt Disney World is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Having taken a recent trip there, I dare say that the vacation spot’s creator wouldn’t be completely enthralled with the experience that park visitors are treated to nowadays. Last year saw another 50th anniversary that, as far as I can tell, went largely unnoticed in the midst of COVID and everything else. Believe it or not, 2021 marked five decades since the first email was sent.

Yes, email is older than Disney World. While Orlando’s brightest attraction has been made, remade, and added to abundantly since the ribbon was first cut, email has largely remained the same. In fact, when it comes to the world of business, email is the primary method of communication. As such, your emails should be concise, clear, and not something that your recipients dread receiving. With that in mind, here are the Top 5 ways to make your emails more appealing.

Change the subject. Nearly half of all emails get opened because of one single reason—the subject line. So, what exactly makes a subject line appealing? You’ve received enough emails at this point in your career and personal life to be able to recognize—at least most of the time—when a subject line is genuine. Much like seeing bad special effects in a movie, you can tell when a subject line is attempting to sell you something. Don’t be fake.

And don’t be vague. Your subject line should steer clear of being generic. If you expect your message’s recipient to act on what you are sending them, try to include that expectation in the subject line. Provide as much reference and context as you can. Avoid making your email mysterious.

Don’t waste your time … or theirs. Pleasantries are great. Being genuine is great. But don’t get caught up writing a wonderful introduction that distracts from your main message. Readers with little time don’t want to be confronted with a wall of text where the bulk of it is unnecessary. Get the salutation out of the way and move on to what you want to convey while you have the reader’s attention.

Reinforce your call to action. If you did not include a call to action in your subject line, remember to include one in the text of your email. When it comes to a call to action, or CTA, do not leave anything up to interpretation:

  • Be specific with details, including timelines
  • Make your sentences brief
  • Provide a “by-the-numbers” approach to instructions
  • Make instructions stand out with select bold text

Let them know the lines of communication are open. As noted earlier, jumping right to the heart of your message is vital. Leaving your reader with a sense of being uplifted, supported, or grateful is just as important. Obviously, this advice must be tailored to the conversation. There may be conversations or relationships that you are trying to definitively end and do not wish to leave any ambiguity. Hopefully, those are few and far between.

For those relationships that you want to foster and maintain, here are several ways you can sign off:

  • I appreciate your assistance/support/time.
  • I look forward to hearing your feedback and ideas.
  • Thank you for all you do.
  • Let me know if I can assist in any way.

Whatever you do, attempt to leave your reader with a closing that exemplifies your desire to remain in contact and working toward common goals.

Don’t hit send … yet. When it comes to emails, there are myriad reasons not to instantly disseminate them. For the purposes of this Top 5, we will ignore the possibility you composed something in an incredibly agitated state that you intend to fire off to someone with whom you’re unlikely to exchange holiday gifts. As an aside, if you do find yourself in that sort of situation, I advise giving yourself some time to reflect upon what you wrote. Even if you decide that email does need to be sent, you’ll still want to proofread what you have written.

Make sure you check for spelling, word usage, and other errors, including verbiage that may be confusing. Read and edit like you’ve never seen your message before. Remember, you are privy to information inside of your head your reader isn’t.

As always, know your audience and write in a way that is reflective of you. Readers you speak to regularly, those you’ve met, know you. They can put your voice, tone, and personality to what you write. Unconsciously, they will.

Remember to keep your message tight. Anything beyond five sentences is generally lengthy for a standard email. If you go beyond that:

  • Limit paragraphs to three sentences each
  • Use bold lettering to make key points pop
  • Use bullets or numbered lists

The author

Michael Wayne is a freelance insurance writer.

About Author

Rough Notes Editor

Rough Notes Editor

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