Regardless of the size and type, businesses mostly communicate through emails.
Among marketing channels, email marketing is usually a top priority because of its outreach potential, low costs, high ROI and many other reasons.
A good email can lead you to success, a bad one will do the damage. It’s simple as that.
So let’s see how to write good business emails.
Before your recipients get to read your email they have to open it first. This is harder than you might be thinking. According to emfluence, an overall average open rate is 22.17%.
You’ll want to know how you are doing comparing to your competition. For example, if you are in Agriculture industry and only three out of ten recipients open the email you send, then you’re doing a pretty good job.
Here are some benchmarks for different industries:
Remember this is just an average stats and it variates depending on the industry.
No matter what your industry is, email open rate is directly related to your subject line, meaning that you can improve it by doing A/B tests. This way you can see what brings you the highest open rate.
You can measure everything but I would recommend starting with short and long subject lines.
In February 2015, Return Path did the research where they analyzed 9,313,885 emails from more than 3,000 retail senders. They wanted to see how subject line length affected average read rate. Here is what they conclude:
“Our research indicates that there is actually no correlation between the length of a subject line and its read rate. When comparing the number of characters in a subject line to the read rate, the Pearson’s correlation value was -.03, which shows us that there’s no relationship between the number of characters in a subject line and whether or not the email is opened.”
What does this mean for you?
Don’t just assume that shorter subject lines will perform better. Try both short lines and long, and measure the open rates.
There is so much we can tell about subject lines and we will do that in our next post. Until then here are few useful tips to consider when writing email subject lines:
When writing business emails you should follow the basic email structure:
The actual email format depend on its purpose. You can see some samples here.
Besides that, there are many other things to think about such as writing style, the number of sentences and what to include in your emails. Let’s see.
How would you start a conversation when you face to face with someone? Surely not with boring monolog. No, you would rather start with something like:
Do the same when writing emails. Keep it clear, short and informal.
It would be weird to repeat introducing yourself if you have already contacted your recipients. Instead of that always leave your credentials in your email signature including your name, contact, and link to your website.
The most important thing in your emails is letting the recipients know exactly what you want them to do. You need to leed them to desired action and make it possible in one click. That’s why ‘call to action’ is a must have in every email.
Here’s the example:
You are finishing your emails with a closing line and Sign off. In closing line you should repeat your purpose and thank your recipients for reading your email. For example: ‘
Typical sign off’s are:
Finally, as I already said, an online signature should include your name, job title, company, contacts, and link to your website.
Writing informal emails doesn’t mean losing professional context. Therefore, you shouldn’t use chat abbreviations or emoticons. Also coloring text and background would be a total failure.
One more thing, use attachments only if it’s necessary. They are opposite to basic principles of effective emails and they reduce click rates and open rates. It’s much better to include the most important parts of the body.
In Politics and the English Language from 1946, George Orwell wrote six rules for effective writing:
It’s obvious that the great writer advised simplicity and clarity. These principles are very much relevant in the business world today. Personally, I believe that following these rules can make your text effective, in a commercial sense.
It’s Orwell’s rule number 4 – Never use the passive where you can use the active. Here is an example how to apply it:
The fact that you’re trying to drive business through emails doesn’t mean you should put every idea, solution or proposition into one email message.
On the contrary the One Thing rule is opposite to that. It claims that one email should be about one thing only. If you need to contact the same contact regarding different matter, you should send another email.
Try to look through your reader’s eyes. Think about their thoughts and feelings. David Masters suggests an empathetic way of looking at the world to help you get started. He said that most people:
Entrepreneur, Guy Kawasaki says that every email should answer these 5 questions:
“This is all an intelligent person needs to know to make a decision,” he says. You need no more than five sentences to answer these questions.
Before sending your emails you should quickly revise it. Ask yourself these questions:
If you can say YES to all these questions, you’re ready to send your emails.
Nowadays when we have so many quality researches about everything related to emails including subject lines, writing style, people’s reaction to them and more, bad emails should be gone for good.
But somehow, staying out of spam, and following all the rules is not enough anymore. Due to the competition, you need constant improving to reach your goals.
This is where your creativity can make the difference which is one of the reasons why we enjoy this industry. It always requires finding new ways of grabbing and retaining the attention of the recipients.