There has been an epidemic going around in our space in the past few years. One that has become so apparent, I simply cannot ignore it any longer. Call me old fashioned or gramps, but the way many are emailing in business these days is simply inexcusable.
An email is not a text message. It’s not a Skype message. It’s not a Facebook message. An email is an electronic letter. But more importantly, it’s often your first impression in a business setting. It’s all casual and getting to know you with the other tools up to this point. Business is conducted over email and if you don’t know how to write one properly, you’re asking for trouble. This is why I decided to write this comprehensive and concise 5-part guide. Let’s begin, shall we?
1. Make time for email.
I’ve seen some entrepreneurs get an email from a client or a colleague for the first time and reply with three words. THREE WORDS?!? The reason they give is “I need to be more efficient with my time.” No, you need to dedicate your time to the right things. And email is one of them. The difference in time in replying properly and writing three words is literally 45 seconds. I know, I timed it. If someone took the time (and the courage) to email you, the least you can spare is 45 seconds.
If you are not spending your time communicating with your faithful audience and potential customers, what the heck are you spending time on? Make time to email and reply to emails properly. What does that look like? Email me with a question and I’ll personally reply to you. I have a daily and a weekly podcast, a blog, a software business and coaching clients, but I make time for email.
2. Speak with them don’t talk at them.
This is not a reply to an email:
I’m free at 3-5 pm PST on Fridays.
That’s the rudest sh*#t ever. Who the hell do you think you are?
This is a reply to an email:
Thanks for reaching out to me. I love what you are working on. I love cats, I have a Persian and would read a book on how to groom Felix properly.
Yes, I do offer personal coaching and would love to learn more about where you’re at with the development of the book. I’m free this Friday anytime from 3-5pm PST to answer your coaching questions.
Looking forward to it!
Do you see how different that feels when you read it? The first reply shows no interest at all to what the sender took the time to write to you. It looks like you didn’t even take the time to read it. You are just grunting a few words at them instead of speaking with them. Acknowledge their message and their request. Show that you care a little, because frankly, you should care a lot.
3. Mama didn’t raise no fool.
Use the manners your mama gave you. Say hello. Greet them and thank them for caring enough to reach out to you. Isn’t that what you want? Aren’t we all dying for more leads, more traffic, a larger audience? Well, you have a hot lead right now in your inbox, don’t treat them like they’re Siri. They are a real person that is very interested in what you do. Email is the most personal form of communication next to a phone call. Treat it that way.
4. Have a format, it’s easy!
If you look at the email I wrote to Dawn above, you will see there is a structure to the email. It’s not complicated, it’s basically 3 parts:
Greeting: Say hello! In my email I said “Hey,” then address the recipient by name. Move on to the next section…
Body: The body is separated with a space and is the meat of the message. In the body each idea is separate and given a new paragraph. In my email, my 1st paragraph thanked and addressed Dawn’s email to me. The 2nd paragraph is dedicated to the reply to her questions. Do you see how you can decipher what the questions were and what her whole email was about through my reply? That’s when you know you’ve written a proper reply.
Conclusion: It’s time to say good-bye and wish them well. Sign off and you are done my friend.
5. Be professional. Your writing counts.
The rules of conduct below are sort of a given, but reality has shown us they are not. Keep these rules handy when writing emails.
– Grammar matters. If you look like you didn’t pass 3rd grade English because you are not reading what you wrote before sending it, it’s going to hurt your business. It doesn’t matter if you agree with me or not, it’s going to make you look bad.
– Use spell check, there is no excuse for misspelt words any more.
– If you don’t capitalize proper nouns like the recipient’s NAME, they will be offended.
– If you have trouble using commas, just break it up into two sentences.
I want to see you win. Seriously. That’s why we do what we do.
My sincere advice to you is; the better you can communicate with your audience, in this case email, the better you will be able to earn their business. That’s just human nature. That’s science talking, not me.
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