Email is a pillar of modern communication. Over 300 billion emails are sent and received every single day worldwide, and that number will only increase in the coming years.
Given how frequent email communication is, learning how to craft an email is crucial. Whether you’re a professional, a student, or a business owner, a well-written email allows you to convey your message clearly and professionally.
In this guide, we’ll explore the key steps involved in writing an impactful email, covering the pre-writing stage to the post-writing stage. Once you’re done reading, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to compose emails that engage recipients and yield positive results. Let’s jump in!
1. Pre-Writing Stage
Before you begin writing your email, identify the primary purpose of your message. Clarifying your objective will help you structure the email more effectively, so try to determine whether you want to inform, request, collaborate, or persuade.
Next, think about your recipient and try to understand how receptive they would be to different types of emails. Tailor your message to their needs, preferences, and familiarity with the topic. Choose a tone that aligns with your relationship with the recipient and the purpose of the email. Aim for a professional, polite, and positive tone to create a favorable impression.
Consider the context in which the email will be received to ensure relevance and timing. For example, you don’t want to send your supervisor an email about getting a promotion three weeks after getting hired.
Make sure to think about the subject line before you write the email. The subject line is your first impression, so make it count. It should be concise, relevant, and attention-grabbing. Avoid vague language and consider using action-oriented words to entice recipients to open the email.
For example, if you’re a team leader at your company and you need to tell your team via email that there will be a meeting after lunch, don’t use a subject line such as “Big things to come after lunch!” as it fails to be informative or convey urgency. Instead, use something like “Important: Post-lunch meeting at 2PM.”
2. Writing the Email
Begin your email with an appropriate salutation that reflects your relationship with the recipient. A friendly and personal touch can go a long way in establishing rapport. If the recipient is not familiar with you, provide a brief introduction to establish your identity and connection.
In the opening lines, clearly state the purpose of your email. This helps the recipient quickly grasp the main point and prepares them for the details that follow.
In the next paragraphs, present your information in a structured manner. Use paragraph breaks, especially if your sentences are long. If you are presenting a lot of information at once, use bullet points or numbered lists to improve readability.
Make sure you maintain a professional and polite tone throughout the email. Avoid using all caps (this is considered shouting), and be mindful of humor or sarcasm, which can be misinterpreted.
Depending on the purpose of the email, conclude with a call to action. A call to action is a specific instruction or request that makes it easy for the recipient to understand what is expected of them. Ending the email like this helps summarize the purpose of the message and prompt the recipient into action, since it was the last thing they read.
Some examples of call to actions are:
- Subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive deals and updates.
- Download our app to access exclusive content and special offers.
- Please review the attached proposal and provide your feedback by Friday.
- Don’t forget to return your library books by the due date.
- Click here to watch our latest video and learn more about our mission.
3. Post-Writing Stage
Once you’ve composed your email, go through a mental checklist before sending it:
- Proofread and Edit: Never underestimate the importance of proofreading. Check for errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling. An error-free email demonstrates attention to detail and professionalism.
- Check the Email’s Tone and Language: Review the tone and language used in the email to make sure it aligns with your intended message.
- Check for Clarity and Conciseness: Use simple language, avoid jargon, and get straight to the point. Long-winded emails risk losing the reader’s interest.
- Review Formatting and Style: Make sure your email is formatted properly, with paragraphs and white spaces for readability. Use a legible font.
- Test Links and Attachments: If your email includes links or attachments, verify that they work as intended.
- Consider the Timing and Recipients: Choose an appropriate time to send your email, taking time zones and the recipient’s schedule into account. Double-check that you’re sending the email to the right recipients to avoid embarrassing mistakes.
- Send the Email and Follow Up: Once you’re satisfied with your email, hit the send button. If a response is expected, consider following up if you don’t receive one within a reasonable time frame.
- Measure Performance: In the case of email marketing, analyze the performance of your email. Look at open rates, click-through rates, and the response rate to learn from your successes and identify areas for improvement.
Mastering the art of writing effective emails is a skill that can greatly enhance your professional and personal communication. To reiterate, here are some key points for writing an effective email:
- Think thoroughly about your intent, the recipient, and the context of the email before writing anything.
- Follow standard email etiquette and compose an email with a subject line, a greeting, and a call to action.
- Be clear and concise
- Use paragraph breaks and bullet points to make the email easy to read
- Keep a professional and polite tone
- Proofread your email and check for broken links before sending
By following the steps, you’ll be well-equipped to create great emails that engage recipients and achieve your desired outcomes. Remember, practice makes perfect, so keep honing your email writing skills, and your communication skills will flourish.