In marketing and sales, we agonize over what to email our prospects. But strangely, we spend almost no time at all thinking about our day-to-day emails with our own co-workers and teams.
You constantly have to convey your ideas internally, and getting it right is just as important as selling them externally, if not more-so.
It's not only your company's reputation, but your personal brand that gets showcased every time you hit the "send" button. Here are 5 things you can do to be even more successful with your day-to-day communications.
Mirror the recipient’s style
Of the people I email with on a regular basis, there is a wide range of styles.
Sometimes I receive emails where the subject line is the entire message, and body is blank.
On the other end, I’ve had co-workers who provide a lot of backstory to how decisions are being made, and solicit a lot of feedback.
A good process to follow is to mirror the complexity and length of the emails you receive. When you match someone's style and pace, you are much more likely to get the type of response you are looking for.
Overdo it, just a little bit
There is something about text that removes enthusiasm. Sometimes it’s necessary to put it back in.
Picture this in-person conversation:
“Want to grab a bite at the Thai place for lunch today?”
“That sounds good.”
In person, “good” is an expression of interest, especially when combined with eye contact and a smile. But notice how it falls flat on the page. When written, sometimes positive words like good just don’t come across as very exciting.
If you want to show interest in your emails, pump up your language a little beyond what you would say in person:
RE: Lunch today?
That sounds great.
RE: Lunch today?
That sounds great! :)
It took me 10 years to come to terms with this — but I’m going to say that use an exclamation point or dare-I-say an emoticon can be a genuine way to convey enthusiasm in email where it is otherwise very difficult to show. Going back to my first tip — mirroring the recipient’s style — it should be clear when overdoing it is appropriate and when it isn’t.
Spend an extra 10 seconds on your subject lines
You probably write way too many emails in a day for “craft irresistible subject lines” to be an actually meaningful tip. But it’s an important reminder that subject lines matter just as much in day-to-day emails as they do when you’re cold emailing a potential customer.
In writing, the headline is everything. Some journalists and bloggers spend as much time on the title of their piece as the entire rest of the content. That’s too much for everyday emails, but it’s a good reminder of the importance of a good subject line.
My personal strategy is to write the subject line first, write the email, and then return to hone the subject for a few seconds before I press send.
Be clear and concise
It’s a commonly known tip, but one that requires a constant reminder. Keep it simple.
- Avoid long paragraphs and break up your ideas. Your 8th-grade English teacher will forgive you.
- Be informal, yet courteous.
- Only use jargon when it’s necessary to make the idea more clear.
Also, don't get stuck in the habit of emailing where a conversation is a better way to communicate. If the idea is too complex to be able to write about concisely, consider picking up the phone or walking over to someone’s desk to have the conversation.
Have a call to action
Not every email needs a CTA, but when action needs to be taken, be specific. This is especially important when you are emailing a group where no particular person is responsible for the next step.
Don't leave anything to chance. Use a strong and clear statement asking for what needs to be done.