Updated: May 19, 2020
Emails for business communication aren’t going away any time soon. They can be highly effective for engaging your team, marketing your company and, of course, sales. But how do we write content that captures readers’ attention throughout the entire email?
One of the best strategies is to treat emails like “conversations”. By definition, good conversations are equally important to both the speaker and the listener. And when we make the reader important in the equation they will become interested in what you have to say.
Here are 5 ways you can use to start writing more conversational emails:
1. Remember: There is an audience on the receiving end of your email. Sometimes we forget this fact and write only from our own perspective. A little bit of “me” or “I” is okay, but used excessively can feel self-important. Put yourself in the recipients’ shoes. Focus on what you think they would find important and make those your key messages.
2. Stop writing to everyone. Who is your audience? Are you a retail writing to current customers or any farmers who have engaged with your business and not purchased? Are you communicating with front line staff or your management team? Are you sending an email to the customers in your trading area or just anyone who has ever signed up for your newsletters? Each of these audiences is unique – they have particular needs and will want specific information. Taking the time to develop targeted language for each group will make your messages more impactful.
3. Writing to impress likely won’t make the best impression. Instead of using fancy industry jargon and big words, take it down a notch. Write like you are talking with a friend. Think about the challenges your readers are struggling with and address those problems using their words. How would they best understand what you are trying to tell them?
4. Use shorter sentences. Of course we want to write with clarity and be persuasive. BUT don’t forget to put your readers first. Make your message simple. Each sentence should be an easily understood nugget of information. This will make your email easier to read and digest – and will entice your audience to read it from beginning to end.
5. Inject some personality – it makes you real. Sharing your own story can create a remarkable connection. Use a personal anecdote to illustrate a point. Or talk about “lessons learned” from mistakes you have made. Letting your audience know you’re human can create a whole new level of trust and engagement.
And mostly, remember: people crave human interaction. They want to know there’s an actual person on the other end pressing send. Writing every email as if its a conversation will help you build stronger relationships.