Why your Emails Suck and what to do about it!
I’m not a huge fan of formalities. Napkin on the lap? Only if it fell there. Shirt and tie? I consider myself lucky to be found wearing a tie at all. Even in my day-to-day communications, I prefer to give a warm “What’s up?” to people I pass on the street as opposed to a stiff “Hello”, or, god forbid, a “Greetings.”
However, just as damaging and stuffy, old-fashioned hellos tend to be the corporate jargon that most customer communications have devolved to. Just take a look at your inbox – anything in it that looks like it was written by something remotely human? If yes, press or say 1.
While we could spend all day (and a good chunk of the evening as well, I’d imagine) lamenting the state of business emails, there’s actually a silver lining to the sorry state of the written communications of the modern world. Namely, you can do it better.
That’s right – for every bland, voiceless email you receive from a company (or even a colleague), that’s one more business or person that you can be one-upping with your communications. Why’s this so important? Well, bragging rights, for starters. But, more importantly, you’ll be making an impression on every single one of your potential and existing customers, and you’ll start to develop a customer relationship that goes far deeper than just your products. Check out these freshly-baked tips for how get your customers more excited over getting emails from you than letters from Santa (well, almost.)
Use names. Nothing throws someone off the “real person” scent quicker than receiving an email that’s addressed to “dear customer”. That’s kind of like giving a cake your five-year-old nephew that reads “Happy Birthday, Child!” While the cake may be made of the same ingredients, I’m willing to bet you’ll get a lot more “Cool Uncle” points if you prove you care enough about them to remember their name. As usual, your customers and small children have this trait in common.
Include more than just “business talk”. While the sole purpose of your email might be a shameless attempt at a sale or a plug for your new product, there’s no need to let your customer in on that. Taking the time to write a friendly intro (two sentences are fine!), or, better yet, a reference to your previous conversation, can do wonders for helping your customers “let their guard down” when it comes to their typical reaction to “salesman-y” emails.
Don’t babble about business. Sure, it’s okay to take a few moments rest from the corporate world when talking with your clients or customers, and in fact I’d highly recommend it. That said, spending three paragraphs outlining the finer points of your new online service is most likely going to leave your readers needing a several expresso shots and perhaps medical attention. When it comes to the “meat” of your email, especially if it involves a sale, keep it short.
Give a “sign-off”. I know, it sounds like something your mom would say (I actually have her right here on the phone), but taking the extra step to write a little goodbye can really go a long way towards turning your message from a hastily scribbled note to a thoughtful email. Even if it’s just “Talk soon, (your name)”, your readers will notice the “completeness” of the message. If you’re interested in the “completeness” of your sales, then this one’s a must.
Long story short, being the best communicator in your customers’ inboxes isn’t a hard thing to do. Better yet, making the extra effort to send messages in a way that makes your customers feel like they actually know you can do feats of marketing that even the largest ad campaign couldn’t pull off. Give it a try – your readers will notice the difference.
See you around,