You’ve probably sent thousands of emails in your life. Some have been well received, others less so. Whether you’re crafting a new email to send or looking back at a particularly regrettable one, this guide can help you spot where communications are going wrong and how to avoid that mistake next time.
|1. Identify common mistakes in email communication.|
|2. Learn how to improve email subject lines for better open rates.|
|3. Understand the importance of personalized email content.|
|4. Discover techniques for crafting effective CTAs.|
|5. Get insights on addressing email deliverability challenges.|
|6. Implement strategies to engage and nurture your email list.|
|7. Learn from real examples of email communication gone wrong.|
|8. Explore ways to optimize email campaigns for better results.|
|9. Understand the role of design and visuals in emails.|
|10. Enhance your email marketing skills for business success.|
1. The All-Text Email With No Formatting
It’s easier than you might think. By making simple formatting changes to your emails, you can make your message stand out and make it more attractive for the reader which may be just what you need to get a response. To show you how easy this is, here are two examples of identical emails: one with no formatting, and one that uses bold to highlight important information:
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2. The All-Caps Email
When it comes to email, all-caps is the equivalent of shouting and no one likes a shouter. Not only does writing in all-caps make your text difficult to read, but it also creates an aggressive tone that many recipients will find off-putting.
To ensure you’re using a more pleasant tone, avoid using all caps and instead use bolding and italics throughout your email as needed. It may seem like a small detail, but these are the small details that add up to great emails!
3. The Text Message-Style Email
You know the one: writing in all lowercase, leaving off punctuation, and using text message abbreviations. This type of email is only appropriate to send to close friends and family, people with whom you’d exchange text messages. A good rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t abbreviate a word or phrase when speaking it aloud, don’t in your written communication either.
4. The Confusing Subject Line
Your subject line should be short, specific, and easy to understand. The subject line is the first thing that people see when they receive your email, so it’s important that it accurately describes both the content of what you’re sending and the tone of your message.
If the subject doesn’t make sense or isn’t clear, then readers won’t know what to expect from your email or why they should read it. You can use keywords to help make sure that people will find your email (for example, if you want to send an email about a missed deadline on a project named “Milestone 1,” you might use “Update on Milestone 1”).
If you’re not sure what to put in the subject line. Imagine how a busy coworker would decide whether or not to open this email. How would he describe it? Use his language in your subject line! Use action words like “update”, “follow up”, or “request” if you have no idea what else to include: these are all great ways for busy coworkers to get a quick idea of what’s inside.
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5. The Lazy, Impersonal Greeting
Your greeting should be personalized. It’s the first thing your recipient will read, and it sets the tone for everything else in the email. A generic greeting makes your email look like an ad or an automated response and who wants to keep reading an ad?
It’s super easy to personalize a greeting, so there’s no excuse not to do it! You can use their first name if you know it, or use a more formal title (e.g., “Dear Ms. Smith” or “To Whom It May Concern:”). If you’re sending cold emails and don’t know their name, then take 15 seconds to figure out what their name is before clicking Send.
6. The Non-Sequitur Introduction
How can you know if your email introduction is doing you any favors? If it doesn’t tell me why I should care about what’s to come, and why I should spend my time reading the whole thing in the first place, then it’s not an introduction.
Introductions are meant to be a preview of what’s to come; they’re a way of introducing readers to your main points and ideas. So they should always contain some sort of benefit that readers will receive from taking the time to read your email. They should also be relevant: they should relate to the subject of the email and let people know right away which topic you’re going to cover.
7. The Misspelled Word In Your First Sentence
One of the very first things most people notice in a message is the spelling. It’s one of the things people notice even before they read any part of your email. If you come across as someone who doesn’t care about how their message looks, it might reflect badly on you.
You can avoid being known for this by reading your messages at least twice before sending them out (and having a second person read over them if possible). It may not always be easy to catch your own spelling mistakes, especially with homonyms like “there” and “their.”
If you have time to proofread and check spellings, take advantage of it. A simple “hey I just wanted to let you know I wrote this email and would appreciate it if you could cast a quick eye over it before I send it out” can go a long way (assuming that person has an understanding boss).
And if there’s any word that you’re unsure about even something really common like “necessary” don’t hesitate to check a dictionary or run a Google search just to make 100% sure!
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8. The Wall Of Text Email
Avoid big, ugly blocks of text like the plague. Any email with more than six consecutive lines of text becomes a wall of text and should be reworked immediately.
For shorter blocks (three to five lines), you can get away with breaking up the text into separate paragraphs. But if it’s more than that, consider how you can break up the information in other ways.
- Use subheadings to divide your thoughts
- Try bulleted lists or numbered lists for groups of related items
- Use bold and italic fonts to highlight important nuggets of information
9. The Needlessly Passive Voice Email
The passive voice is often used to downplay a statement or make it less direct. But remember, your inbox is a work inbox, not a diary; using the passive voice can come across as weak and too diplomatic. Compare the following two sentences:
- A mistake was made during the last client meeting. (passive)
- Lisa mistakenly said our company has been in business for five years instead of 15 years. (active)
This simple switch from passive to active makes all the difference in conveying what exactly happened and who was responsible (um, Lisa). This leads us back to our rule: always be direct and specific when you’re communicating at work.
10. The “I’m Not Sure Who You Are” Email
While it’s tempting to give a brief description of yourself in your first sentence and assume that they’ll figure out why you’re writing, chances are they won’t. You need to explain why you’re getting in touch, what you want them to do, how they’ll benefit from doing it, and when you need a response.
This is important for several reasons. First, people get overwhelmed by emails fast by the time someone has received 50 messages today alone. You can easily blend into the crowd if there’s no clear reason for its existence. Second, people like to know why they should do something and when so telling them will increase their likelihood of following through.
Third, it gives them all the info they need upfront so they don’t have to keep asking questions or seeking clarification (which also means a faster response).
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11. The Contextless, Unhelpful Link To A Document Or Article
It’s never a bad thing to share helpful resources, but context is key. It’s helpful to provide a brief description of the resource and explain how it relates to your email.
For example, if you’re sending someone an article about the importance of details for marketing projects, summarize the main points and how they apply to your project before sending them the link or attaching a PDF. Make sure they know exactly what they’ll be reading when they click through!
12. The “I’m Trying To Get This All Off My Plate”
10-minute, a 50-email long back-and-forth that could have easily been solved with one phone call. If you’re at a loss for how to start your email, try opening it with a question. It shows that you genuinely want to know the other person’s thoughts and opinions on the matter.
Don’t demand they respond within an hour or else be prepared to look like a total jerkwad. If you don’t hear back right away, follow up with another email: “Hi, [name], I know you’re busy. Let me know when you want to talk about this.” But if it’s been a few days and they still haven’t responded, maybe in this case it’s better to call them instead?
You should probably call them whether they’ve responded or not. And here’s why: For one thing, talking on the phone is more efficient than sending emails back and forth all day long (which can take hours). You don’t have to worry about miscommunication or any misunderstandings; a quick chat will help ensure everyone is on the same page from the get-go.
Also, calling shows that you care about what your coworker has to say; it establishes a more personal connection and helps people understand your perspective better too! And trust us the faster you wrap up this conversation so both of you can move on to other projects, the better!
13. Learn How To Write Emails That Help You Make The Right Impression
If you want to know how to write emails that get results, this section will show you how. You’ll learn what to do and what not to do so that no one can misunderstand your intentions. Make sure your emails are clear and concise.
Don’t use passive voice or vague language that is difficult to interpret. For instance, the sentence “The meeting was a success” implies who was involved in the meeting and what was accomplished, but it doesn’t provide any specific details about who attended or how the meeting went. Don’t use abbreviations such as “u” for “you,” “ur” for “you’re,” or “plz” for “please.”
They’re lazy shortcuts that may be unintelligible to some people. In general, avoid using acronyms and jargon, which convey insider knowledge only understood by certain groups of people; if possible, use more common terms instead.
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15. Avoid Using All Caps (Except In Rare Instances Where Formatting Is Essential).
This conveys strong emotions and not necessarily positive emotions that can come across as overbearing. If you need someone’s attention urgently but don’t want to appear aggressive or intimidating, try a less intrusive technique such as underlining words instead of capitalizing them.
Use proper spelling and grammar when writing an email as their important indicators of professionalism; if English isn’t your first language then consider using tools like Google Translate or Grammarly to help you check whether your message is correct before sending it out.* Write with a positive tone even if something bad has happened because negativity tends not to go down well with most people; alternatively
As a final takeaway, don’t let your emails be the stumbling block that keeps you from getting ahead in the workplace. Now that you’ve seen examples of mistakes to avoid and how they can be fixed, you can ensure that your messages are always professional, concise, and read smoothly.
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People Also Ask
How Do I Write A Formal Email?
To write a formal email, start by putting the recipient’s name and title on the first line. Then, put their address underneath that and put the date below their address. Follow up with a greeting like “Dear Ms. Jones,” then go into your letter. Add closing words like “Sincerely” or “Best regards,” then your signature and name at the end of the email.
How Do I Write A Formal Email Asking For Something?
Start by introducing yourself using your full name, where you work, and what you do. Explain why you’re contacting them. Make sure to provide details of why they should help you or answer your question(s).
Write a clear subject line that summarizes what you’re asking for so they know right away whether they can help you or not. If necessary, include links to any websites that display your work or provide other relevant information about yourself so that the recipient can see it for themselves easily.
What Is The Best Format For An Email?
The best format for an email is one that puts your message across as quickly and clearly as possible. Make sure your subject line and opening sentence are unambiguous, then provide only necessary details. Be sure to include a proper closing and sign-off.
How Do You Write An Email To A Company?
If you’re writing to ask about a request, be specific about what you want in the topic line of your email. Use proper grammar and spelling, keep it brief, and avoid using emoticons or emojis. Be sure to capitalize all words in your subject line except short ones like “a” “or” “for,” etc., but don’t use ALL CAPS unless it’s appropriate (such as when you’re trying to convey that something is urgent).
How Do You Ask For Something In An Email?
If you need assistance from someone else like a coworker or manager make sure your subject line clearly states what they can do: “Can I have help with [task name]?” It also helps if they know why they’re being asked so make sure this information is included too: “[Reason].” This makes things easier for them because then there’s no guesswork involved on their end of things!
How Do You Write A Professional Email Asking For Something?
A professional way to ask for something in an e-mail is by using formal titles such as “Mister” or “Mrs.” followed by their last name (Example: Dear Mr./Mrs.). Then state exactly what it is that needs doing without any unnecessary fluff before signing off with regards from yourself; don’t forget either side will have different expectations so keep those at Bay until after negotiations begin.
How Do You Write A Professional Email?
A professional email should include:
- No slang or acronyms
- The subject line should be very clear and concise, telling the reader what the contents of your message are about
- The body of the message should be succinct and to the point, omitting unnecessary information or digressions
- It’s always polite to say thank you at the end of your message
Is It Okay To Email Someone Who Works At A Different Company?
Yes! If you’re on good terms with the person, or if their company has a similar mission and vision to yours, it’s totally fine to shoot them an email. Just make sure your email is clear about what you want from them (i.e., information, advice, etc.).
How Do I Know If My Email Is Too Long?
An email should be no longer than three paragraphs so no more than 600 words total (about two pages). Anything more could be considered spammy or difficult to read and respond to.
When Should I Use Exclamation Points?
That depends on how you feel! Some people like using exclamation points in their emails, especially when they’re excited about something or want to show enthusiasm for something they believe in wholeheartedly. But if you’re sending an email with bad news or a negative tone, don’t throw in exclamation points just because you can it will only add emphasis where none is needed or wanted.
I am a content writer, and I love what I do! Writing makes me feel like the words are flowing through my fingers, and then onto the keyboard, like magic. My experience as a writer has taught me that writing makes me feel good, as well as helps others to feel better too!