Writing Emails That Work
Neil Bromage has run his own small business and is a freelance business writer working on a range of newspapers including The Times, Sunday Times, Telegraph and Financial Mail on Sunday. This book is based on a wide range of columns and Q&As written and answered by Neil for Business Link over a number of years. He is based near Preston, Lancs.
The language of the Internet is indeed different and writing emails is becoming increasingly important. Ten billion emails are sent every day and it would be easy to think that the Internet is changing the English language beyond recognition. That doesn’t need to be the case.
Keeping your messages tight and bright is vital if you want your readers to stay with you, and writing techniques you have used offline need to be applied even more strictly online. For instance:
- Headlines must sing loudly.
- Your first sentence has to be crisp and attention grabbing: you only have between three and eight seconds to win the attention of online readers.
- Sentences are better if they are limited to 16 words.
- Paragraphs are easier to read if they are 5 lines – or fewer – in length.
Five tips to help you write better emails:
- 1.Imagine your audience and address them appropriately, using the right tone, style and vocabulary.
- 2.Build credibility. Your email readers must believe and trust what you write.
- 3.Use words that are easy to read on screen: email readers are scanning text and can easily become bored or irritated and click away from your message.
- 4.People are more likely to read an email with a subject line which is clear: ‘Neil, here is your requested report on how to write better business English’.
- 5.Use a simple signature at the end of your email -something that gives a sound bite on your product or service, together with your contact numbers and URL.
The use of ‘emoticons’ is no longer considered professional, so avoid adding happy smiling faces to your messages. It’s also very easy for misunderstanding to creep into messages which causes confusion and sometimes offence.