Sending emails as a primary source of business communication isn't going to change any time soon. They can be highly effective for engaging your team, marketing your company and, of course, driving sales. But how do we write content that captures readers’ attention throughout the entire email?
One of the best strategies is to treat emails like “conversations”. By definition, good conversations are equally important to both the speaker and the listener. And when we make the reader important in the equation they will become interested in what you have to say.
Here are 5 ways you can use to start writing more conversational emails:
1. Remember: There is an audience on the receiving end of your email. Sometimes we forget this fact and write only from our own perspective. A little bit of “me” or “I” is okay, but used excessively it can feel self-important. Put yourself in the recipients’ shoes. Focus on what you think they would find important and make those your key messages.
2. Stop writing to everyone. Define and understand your audience.
Are you a retail business writing to current customers?
Are you contacting farmers who have engaged with your business but not purchased?
Are you communicating internally with front-line staff or your management team?
Are you sending an email to the new customers in your trading area?
Or are you just mass emailing everyone who has ever signed up for your newsletters? (Which is a no-no now, by the way. Does your mailing list meet all the requirements for consent under Canada's anti-spam legislation (CASL)? Find out here.
Each of these audiences is unique – they have particular needs and will want specific information. Take the time to develop targeted email lists with appropriate language for each group. Avoiding shady spam-like correspondence will make your messages more impactful and help you earn, maintain and keep your contact's trust and confidence.
3. Writing to impress likely won’t make the best impression. Instead of using fancy industry jargon and big words, take it down a notch. Write like you are talking with a friend. Think about the challenges your readers are struggling with and address those problems using their words. How would they best understand what you are trying to tell them?
4. Use shorter sentences. Of course we want to write with clarity and be persuasive. BUT don’t forget to put your readers first. Make your message simple. Each sentence should be an easily understood nugget of information. This will make your email easier to read and digest – and will entice your audience to read it from beginning to end.
By definition, good conversations are equally important to both the speaker and the listener. And when we make the reader important in the equation they will become interested in what you have to say.
5. Inject some personality – it makes you real. Sharing your own story can create a remarkable connection. Use a personal anecdote to illustrate a point. Or talk about “lessons learned” from mistakes you have made. Letting your audience know you’re human can create a whole new level of trust and engagement.
And mostly, remember: people crave human interaction. They want to know there’s an actual person on the other end pressing send.
Writing every email as if it's a conversation will help you build stronger relationships.