Dave Lavinsky, Contributor
It’s a situation we’ve all faced at one point or another: you need to send an e-mail to some company or person in order to place a request, extend a business offer, or obtain information that you need. And you need a response; the sooner the better.
Chances are that the person you are contacting receives an innumerable number of e-mails per day, and your communication gets lost among the horde of similar requests. How many times have you called someone and asked “Did you see my email” only to be told “I have about 200 emails I haven’t been able to check yet”.
This can be frustrating. Email is a primary form of communication in business. Not connecting the way you need to can be damaging to your business. The following tips will help you in this regard
A good subject line will increase the open rate of your email. Put yourself in the shoes of the recipient of an email for a moment. You’ve received two e-mails. Compare these subject lines:
- A proposal to meet next week vs. I’d like to buy you lunch on the 13th
- A Sales Seminar That Increases Sales vs. Our commitment to boost your sales by 10% in 30 days
- Hello and Good Morning vs. Your Accountant, Jack Smith, told me to contact you
Next, make sure the introduction in the body of the email begins with an immediately attractive line. It could, for instance, read like this: Based on your interest in X, you should know about Y.
The intent of the introduction is to grab the attention of the reader immediately. Doing so by tying into something you already know the reader is already interested is a great way to accomplish this.
A good introduction is simply not going to cut it all by itself. You need to make sure the body of the e-mail is equally readable and attention-getting.
When you write the body of the e-mail, don’t get caught up in needless, superfluous verbiage. Running on about a subject or going on a tangent is going to bore the reader, not attract and retain their attention. Keep your sentences and paragraphs to the point and relatively short. Make sure that all the relevant details – financial figures, yearly reports, and so on – can be easily found, not buried under mountains of text. Importantly, these figures should provide proof that it’s worth the reader’s time to engage with you.
The Call to Action
Once you’ve got the introduction and body down, proceed with the conclusion. This is often the most important part of any communication. A properly written conclusion will compel the reader to take immediate and serious action about the ideas, proposals, and/or suggestions laid out within the email. If you’re interested in a prompt, favorable response, you’ll want to conclude your e-mail with what is called a “call to action.”
A “call to action” is a request for the reader to make a decision or take an action.
For example, ending with: Let’s set up a brief call to discuss how this can benefit you. Right now, I’m free to discuss at 3PM on Friday. Please confirm that this time works, and the best number to reach you.
Let’s review. You need to increase the chances of having your email opened by using a bold, specific, and creative subject line. Then keep your reader’s attention by starting with a powerful introduction, followed by precise content that proves your merit. Finally, close your email with a compelling call to action.
Finally, if you are sending similar emails to a group of prospects over time, constantly tweak and test your approach. For example, try two different subject lines and calls to action and see which one gets the best response. Whichever version wins becomes your “control” that you test against next time. Over time, you’ll develop a winning email that gets you great results.