Strategy & Marketing

Your Biggest Email Mistake

Email drives us all nuts, but the fact is, it’s not going away anytime soon. So if we’re trying to get an important message across, it’s important our emails connect and make an impact. My advice?  Keep them short and to the point.  Alexis Kleinman wrote a terrific story in The Huffington Post on how to write shorter emails that makes a lot of sense. Here’s a short summary of her story. Read it, because it will dramatically impact your effectiveness online. Here’s her 3 key ideas:

1. People don’t need as much background information as you think they do.  It might seem essential to you, but it actually seems superfluous to the email recipient. They’d rather you get to the information and request more quickly, and then they can ask you to fill in any holes in their knowledge later.

2. Don’t waste your subject line.  In many email services, including Gmail, just the subject line and first line or two is visible in the recipient’s inbox. Why make the subject “Hi” when it could be “Dinner on Thursday?” Give the recipient an idea of what the email contains and a good reason to click on it.

3. Just because your email is short, that doesn’t mean it has to be rude.  “No matter how short your emails, there is a way to inject a friendly, cheery note, and don’t forget to do that. Short doesn’t mean that it’s okay to go around barking orders,” Schwalbe says.

The ability to write a short email is a skill in itself. “If you can’t write your idea on the back of my calling card, you don’t have a clear idea,” director David Belasco is credited as saying. Writing short emails shows confidence in what you have to say.

Any other good ideas out there for keeping your emails short and sweet?

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3 Comments

  1. “Just because your email is short, that doesn’t mean it has to be rude” Great point. Especially if you’re writing a D or I from the DISC personality scale. 15 unnecessary lines…now that’s rude haha.

  2. I agree. Its quite harmful when there is no friendly feel to email even if its short. Just a subject line with instruction in upper case scared me once or twice..

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