The Art of Crafting a Great Email
Nine tips to communicate like a pro
Email is more than just a way of sending messages. It is a window into your team, your business, and your brand. How you write your emails can make or break your relationship with your clients and colleagues.
A bad email can have disastrous consequences. It can waste time, frustrate readers, convey incorrect information, and damage your reputation. A good email can have amazing benefits. It can save time, delight readers, communicate clearly, and boost your professionalism.
This article will show you how to write emails that impress and inspire. You will learn nine key considerations that will help you craft artful emails that nurture your relationships. Whether you are writing to a new prospect, an existing client, or a senior manager, these tips will help you write emails that stand out and get results.
1. Warm up your emails
A good introduction is like a good warm up act, get it right and people will stay around to listen to your message. Everyone likes to know there is a human on the other end of the email. To add warmth and familiarity a few suggestions include:
- Comment on something not related to work
- Try and dig a little deeper than the weather
- Include an industry specific comment
- Share something you did on the weekend or found interesting
- Add value with an article link
2. Give your email a clear purpose and direction
All emails will require different content, though a general structure we always use:
- Greeting - Always say hi
- Purpose - outline what you need from the email
- Explain your ‘Why’ - Provide background
- Considerations or Options
- Summarise & re-state Call to action
- Closing - Be open to feedback & questions
Your subject line where possible should be a concise purpose for example: [Company] | [Contact] Approval - [Document]
3. Map out the way forward
Ensure you include a clear call to action and if there are multiple actions to be taken, ensure a timeline, and clear person(s) of accountability is listed for each action item.
4. Leave no room for doubt
Before hitting send, think about what the reader will ask next upon responding. Have you provided the answer? If not, go back and provide it within your email to reduce the chance of an email tennis rally. Attachments can be a good explanatory tool too.
5. Less is more - keep it concise
It is likely your reader won’t have a lot of time to read, so avoid sending an essay; it's best to KISS (keep it simple, stupid). We recommend organising your information in an easy to read format with:
- Bullet points or numbering
- Highlighted/bolded important text
6. Speak the right language
Not everyone will understand your jargon, ensure the language and way you communicate matches your audience. You wouldn’t say the same thing to the maintenance man that you would to your managing director (or maybe you would!), so ensure you are adapting to the reader. This also applies to the tone of your email.
7. Measure twice, cut once
An old builders trick also has an application in crafting emails. It is an easy mistake to rush writing an email, including different formats, spelling a word incorrectly, referring to a document that hasn't been attached or pasting an entire hyperlink instead of shortening the text. Taking a minute to read the message with fresh eyes and attention to detail can avoid these issues. Tools such as Grammarly can also provide a review point for grammar as well as tone.
8. Always give the benefit of the doubt
When writing an email, it is important to never assume that the recipient has made a mistake, we may not have the full story. We always recommend avoiding accusatory tones and instead seeking to first understand and give the recipient the benefit of the doubt.
It also makes for a kinder, more positive email, and will likely strengthen your relationship.
9. Email isn't the only way to communicate
We love emails, though we also need to know when a phone call or meeting is more appropriate for a topic. Some messages aren’t meant to be email-only: e.g. “I think someone has hacked your emails”.
But really, if you know there needs to be input and discussion from both sides, pick up the phone, have a conversation and then send an email to summarise and confirm the discussion.
We hope these tips have assisted you in writing your next email. If you have anymore, please share them, we’d love to add them to our repertoire!
Our team are always happy to share insights, feel free ot ask the author a question: Grace Occleshaw