Editor's Note: This post was originally published in May 2016.
“Send me an email.” Four words that seem innocent enough but can often result in an overflowing inbox (with more unread emails than you’d like to admit). With the average inbox receiving 88 business messages per day, is it any surprise that we stop reading and start ignoring? And when you’re on the other side of those emails, how do you avoid making the same mistakes as everyone else to create better emails?
Let’s take a look at five sure ways to make your emails shine!
Using animations in emails isn't always suitable, but finding work appropriate GIFs can breathe new life into your (otherwise) standard emails.
It was great meeting you at Admin Bash last year! I really enjoyed our chat about office moves. I've already contacted the relocation vendor you recommended. :)
I’d love to get together for coffee to hear more of your thoughts.
Are you available next Wednesday? Let me know if you are—I’d be super stoked to borrow 30 minutes of your time!
Write Like You Speak
One surefire way to get your email ignored is by making it too formal. Unless you’re writing an academic piece, forget the formalities and write the same way you would speak. After all, conversation is a dying art since email has become the most common form of communication.
Take a look at the email below as an example. You may already be uncomfortable asking a vendor for a raffle prize donation—here’s how formalizing that ask makes it even more awkward.
Subject: Request for Raffle Prize Donation
On behalf of OfficeNinjas, I am writing to request a raffle prize donation for our company Christmas Party. The evening will consist of dinner and entertainment in the form of games for the raffle prizes. We are hoping that you, Awesome Vendor, are able to provide a generous prize donation. Any suitable product you wish to donate would be appreciated.
If you are able to accommodate, please send your donation directly to my office.
Thank you in advance.
Instead, be candid. Keep it casual and don’t assume the same cookie-cutter professional tone that everyone thinks they need for a business email. If you’re writing to someone you already email on a regular basis, like a vendor, then a conversational tone should be easy to maintain.
Subject: OfficeNinjas Christmas Party - Can You Help?
Hope the holiday season is treating you well.
I have a favor to ask. I'm organizing my company's upcoming Christmas part and would be grateful if you would consider donating a raffle prize.
In addition to the awesome dinner I have planned, we'll be doing some fun games for raffle prizes. Our group would love any contribution to the event and of course, we would give you a shout out and full credit for the awesome gift.
Let me know if you're in a giving mood and would like to donate. :)
Push the Power of P.S.
The P.S. is underestimated real estate when it comes to emails. You spend all your energy on crafting the perfect email copy when the reality is, most people scan and scroll right to the bottom.
Leverage the undivided attention a P.S. gets to reiterate a call-to-action, create a sense of urgency, or offer something else (like a teaser!).
P.S. OfficeNinjas HQ is going on a road trip and may be in your town! Wanna know more? Drop us a line to find out where we'll be! :)
Spice up your Signature
Don’t make your email signature an afterthought—be honest, how many times have you judged an email based on its email signature? If it’s boring, you’re disinterested. If it’s too busy, then you instantly get turned off.
It’s often the first thing readers remember about your email and the last thing the recipient sees, so it’s important to make it count. Throw in a graphic, promote important links, or even share some video marketing. Make your signature work like the rest of your email. It should pique as much interest as the rest of the content.
123 Awesome Lane, Ninjaville, CA 80765
Join us for #AdminWeek: Awards | Raffles | Ninja Fun
Or you could follow OfficeNinjas Ambassador MJ Powell’s lead and add in a fun, Ninja-pride alias.
MJ shares, "This is the kind of response you get when you put 'Office Ninja' as part of your email signature." Yes, it works!
Create Emails That Are Easy on the Eyes
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: brevity is key to communication. With email being the go-to correspondence method for pretty much everything in the workplace, keeping it short and simple is something your reader will appreciate.
When it comes to formatting, we don’t mean using colors to spice it up. Instead, apply the three Bs: bold, bullet points, and breaks. Compare the following examples see the difference these three points make.
Subject: Sales Meeting Logistics
In preparation for the sales meeting next week, I want to share some critical details with you. There is a lot of information in this email, so please read everything. If you are tagged for a shuttle from the airport to the hotel, expect to receive an email from me with details on where to catch the shuttle. For drivers, please note that valet parking is $39 USD, but can be expensed. You should have received hotel confirmations by now - if you haven't, please reach out to me to get yours. Breakout sessions will start at 8AM, and end by 5PM. Attached is the agenda. Please make note of the evening events, and pack accordingly.
Subject: Final Details! Sales Meeting Logistics
Please find below the final logistics for next week's sales meeting.
Shuttle - if you’re tagged for a shuttle, you’ll receive another email with details on where to board the shuttle.
Drivers - valet parking is available at the hotel, daily rate is $39 USD and can be expensed.
Hotel - you should have received confirmations by now. If not, please reach out to me ASAP for your confirmation.
Agenda - breakout sessions start at 8AM and end by 5PM. Agenda is attached.
Attire - please make note of evening events and pack accordingly.
See you soon!
Bonus Tip: Use Email Tracking Software
Wondering how email tracking software can help make your emails pop? When you use an ETS like Mixmax, you see which emails get read, and which are ignored. So if you know what works, then it’s easy to replicate. The view tracking can also help you time follow-up messages or schedule emails at a more convenient time for your most important contacts.
Mixmax even helps you save time with perfect one-click email templates.
Now, Prepare for Better Emails
These suggestions will have you crafting better emails on a regular basis. Next time you feel pressure to send something memorable, professional, or worthy of a fast response, turn to these five tips.
Bring emails to life with work-appropriate GIFs
Keep emails conversational, yet professional
Use the power of the P.S. to reiterate CTAs and create a sense of urgency or share teasers
Spice up your email signature with links, graphics, and even videos
Craft short, simple emails that are scannable and easy on the eyes
Which email tweak will you use first to make your emails pop? Did we miss anything? Let us know in a comment below!