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How to Write a Professional E-mail that Gets a Reply

This is a guest contribution by Jackson Nwachukwu, freelance blogger and content writer.

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Copyright Tommi – Fotolia.com

Who doesn’t know how to write an email? Everyone emails, don’t they? Well, let me start by telling you that there are emails and then there are professional emails.

As a freelance blogger, writer, content marketer and what have you; my best guess is that your emails are professionally intent and the primary concern each time you write an email is to get a reply on it?

It’s no-brainer e-mails are becoming the primary objects of online marketing.

Tell me one thing we do today online that does not involve writing an e-mail and you can stop reading this article right now!

Call it promotional emails, follow up emails, sells emails, update emails, mention them… they are all professional emails and factors in what we do today online. Hence, calling this a factoid is clearly an understatement; but a reality to reckon with.

Every single day that passes by bloggers, content marketers, freelance writers and so on write and send e-mails to their targeted audience but very few of these people have taken their time to look into the “how to” in e-mail writing.

In this article on USA Today, we can read about how the today’s tech savvy individuals and companies carry technology like an egg but often lose their professional touch and reputation because of one e-mail that went wrong. E-mails exchanges are going viral and have seen to be a much faster and efficient way to correspond to today’s business.

This simple mindset is critical to understanding what professional image or reputation you portray on the other side of the world each time you push that send button on your email composer.

Now I want you to do this right when you write your next email which is why I’ve listed some simple tips to writing a professional e-mail that gets replies and action plans to take. Let’s see them:

Email Writing Tip #1: Avoid the Robot Greeting

It shouldn’t be news to learn that the very first thing you should do, when writing an email, is to greet the recipient. You would be surprised how many folks get this wrong, all the time.

I’ve read a couple of emails that started off with robot greeting (a programmed and non-human greeting) and guess what, I never get to finish reading them. Emails that start off with the following greetings annoy me and it’s not just me…. They annoy every other person who may have discovered the importance of email writing:

  • Hey Webmaster,
  • Dear Admin,
  • Hi Blog Owner (one of recent greetings I received of lately),
  • Hello Admin and so on.

These are what I call the “robot greetings” and believe me they will never get you anywhere.

Action Plan: Start Off with Friendly Greetings

Study your to-be recipient and get to know what name he or she likes to be called. Start off the greeting with that name.

Greetings like “Dear Jackson” “Hello Kim” “Hi John” and so on are a much friendlier and more natural way to greet someone.

Email marketing companies like Aweber, Get Response and their likes have been huge fans of many freelance writers and internet marketers at large. A friendlier greeting is enough to get your attention reading the e-mail because you feel the e-mail is specifically meant for you.

Email Writing Tip #2: Don’t Rush into Writing

Now just because you’ve greeted the recipient does not mean you should rush into writing. Take some time to think before writing. Always remember that every e-mail sent out in your name counts and reflects the professional backbone of your business.

It’s always tempting to start writing how much you feel or care but all that may be crap so here is the thing…

Action Plan: A Proper Introduction is Sticky!

Before rushing into unveiling your objective for writing the email, take some time to think of how best to introduce yourself. If you’re writing for the first time to a client or recipient, then words like:

Hi Adam,

I am Jackson Nwachukwu, a freelance writer and professional blogger at the-name-of-your-blog or company, and then take it from there…

If you are writing to a repeat client or subscriber, pause and check the last mail you sent him. Check if there were things needed to be mentioned first before writing the new one. Chances are that, you get more attention when you follow up from the onset. Something like this can be handy:

Hello Jane,

The last mail I sent you was an intro to what you are reading today. I have just finished working on my first ebook which answers the problem we discussed and the blah blah blah …

Some people will start off by writing:

Hello John,

How are you today? Hope you are doing great in your business and then blah blah blah…

This last opening is rubbish!

When it comes to business matters treat it as one, you are not writing to your family members who need to know you care about their health or business. You’re writing to a professionally minded fellows, clients or subscribers who wants nothing but answers or solutions to their problems.

Email Writing Tip #3: Present the Meat of the E-mail

Now is the right time to present the meat of the email.

Remember you have greeted the recipient and have introduced yourself or have written a follow up line to your last email to the recipient, so go ahead and present the meat which you wish to offer. The meat is the primary purpose of writing the email.

Action Plan: Make it Clear and Concise, but not Precipitous

One thing you must always understand is that people have less time than you can imagine. It’s paramount that you make your email clear and concise because these people (including me) see time as no luxury.

Internet users are always in a hurry to read and get over it, so always have this mindset when writing an email. However, try not to be so concise or over-careful to the extent of sending emails that are broken, rough or rugged (precipitous).

If you must write an exhaustive email, then inform them at the beginning that the email will be a long one. However, to achieve results with this, you will have to make sure you offer them something meaty to keep reading.

Also be sure to use polite words like “Please” to drive home your point. A word like this means a lot and can make a huge difference.

Email Writing Tip #4: Use a Case Study or Testimonial Where Necessary

Smart bloggers, writers and marketers start marketing from the onset. There is no special time for this, after all the whole thing about writing professional emails is to solidify deals, drive sells, generate leads, build more audience and familiarity.

Case studies and testimonials have over the years proven to be driving forces that get people doing what you demand of them. It’s often said that “seeing is believing” and so use this to your advantage when writing an email that requires rapid response or reply from the recipient(s).

Action Plan: Make the Case Studies or Testimonials to Rhyme with the Tone of the Email

If you have a testimonial or case study that is subject to the email you are sending, incorporate it to rhyme with the tone of the email. This simple practice gets you results and naturally, an average reader would like to read to the end to be sure he or she learns how to benefit from the BIG picture.

Email Writing Tip #5: Close with Appealing and Polite Words

In tip #3, I mentioned “writing with polite words” to get results. You also need to do that when closing your emails.

I’ve read couple of emails where the sender closed his email on a point and blank note without considering the fact that someone took out time to read his email.

The last part of the email is always the part where you show how concerned you are about the time the reader invested in reading your email, and there is no other way to prove this other than closing the email with appealing and polite words.

This can also be your call to action if properly written…

Action Plan: Thank them for Reading

All these I’ve been saying may sound too common to some people, but believe me not everybody gets it (to their detriment)!

Always make sure to use a “Thank you” note to close your emails. This practice shows the recipient that you value the time he or she invested in reading what you sent them knowing too well they may not have asked you to send it at first. Their time is highly valuable, so thank them for it.

To add up to the “Thank you” note, you can use any of these professional and polite words to supercharge their emotions:

For Bloggers and average emails: Best regards, Sincerely, All the Best, To your Blogging Success

For freelance writers: To your Writing Success

For Content Marketers: To your Content Marketing Success

Email Writing Tip #6: Don’t Rush to Push the Send Button

Alright, you feel you’ve written a great email that will get you that anticipated replies! While you believe so much in your writing, there is still more to it.

Remember I mentioned that the emails you send out reflects your professional stand in niche where you operate, so why the rush to push the send button?

Each time you finish writing your email, let this saying come to your head “what is worth doing is worth doing well” so here is the thing…

Action Plan: Edit, Format and Proofread Before Sending

This is very important and it goes in that order.

Check for grammatical errors, wrong spellings, lines in the email that needs the reader’s eyes, links that needs to be added etc.

Also take a second look at the subject of your email to make sure it delivers at first hand the content of your email. Know that the best time to know if the subject of an email delivers on the content is when you are done with the writing.

Most times you make a promise of attaching a file but forget to do so. This is when you check all these to make sure you deliver. It’s unprofessional to send an email twice just because you forgot to attach a file or failed to proofread the email before sending.

Over to You!

Was this simple enough for you or did you learn something new today? I can’t claim to be an island of knowledge or a know-it-all which is why I gladly welcome your own tips to writing a professional email that gets reply…

Jackson Nwachukwu is an entrepreneur, a freelance writer and the founder of Content Practical Media. Are you looking for a creative web content writer or copywriter to help grow your business website/blog’s traffic and increase sales? Hire Jackson to write for you.

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Comments

  1. Sarah Bauer says:

    Great tips here! The initial greeting is always fickle territory, especially if you’re following up on a referral or if it’s a situation where you haven’t met the person face-to-face. Thanks for the suggestions!

    • Peter W. says:

      I agree with the great tips.One never knows who they are dealing with on the net but most people need to be given the chance after all we would not have got here.

    • Hello Peter,

      Email writing is a good way of communicating with people and with a good crafted email, building a formidable relationship becomes easier.

      Thanks for reading and for leaving such an awesome comment.

      Cheers!

      • Hi Jackson,
        The introduction is indeed very important.

        IMPORTANT NOTE: It is also many times culturally defined. Where I live and work in France it is impolite to address someone by their first name in an email in a business note,even if I know their first name. It is always “Bonjour Monsieur lastname” and not “Bonjour Jean”

        This is a new habit I am forming after many years in North America always writing the First name.

        I hope this helps other readers avoid a mistake I used to make.

        I welcome hearing other comments relating to the proper opening. I have no idea how to start an emai to someone in China or India, for example. Important to know if you are contacting a company to have them promote or produce a product for you.

        All the best,
        David

  2. Tom says:

    Very informative article. Great tips for professional e-mail!

    Thanks!

  3. Thank you for this comprehensive guide. I’m sure everyone will find a lot of value on this post. Keep it up!

  4. Chase says:

    Excellent advice! I especially appreciated the part about thanking the reader for their time. And I often write my “high profile” emails in Word first, then wait until the next day to send them so I can edit with fresh eyes. Nice post, Jackson.

    • Hello Chase,

      Your style is cool! Writing your emails on word first and editing the next day is a great way of sending out what matters to your list.

      Great comment!

  5. Segun says:

    This is just what I need. I’m sending out emails to bloggers in my niche and I want to make sure that these emails are personalized. Thanks for the tips. It is greatly appreciated!

  6. Great post and those are some good tips. In my experience, I have noticed that being friendly really helps when it comes to emails. I pretty much talk to anyone in email as if I have known them forever. It sets a good mood for both parties and it makes everything said to be welcoming. In certain cases, I will continue replying to emails with small talk – i.e. when appropriate that is.

  7. Sagar Rai says:

    Great Information. Also when thinking about the subject lines in the e-mails, it is significant to declaring the date in your subject line, which may helpful to get rapid responses when your message is time sensitive. for example, “Meeting on Thurs, Dec 2.”

    Which ones do you think are most effective? Why?

  8. Louis Henry says:

    Great Advice! I have just started marketing on-line, this article has
    some great advice that I could use to help with my email campaigns.

    Thanks again for the Tips!

  9. hi..well i would say its a corporate post..:)
    you have shown the good way of taking the things…quite innovative thought to write over…it was nice to read an article over such out of box thought…well in whole I would say your subject line makes difference whether it could be a meeting date , or a project name to be delivered, or could be the client name , anything getting the attention of the reader..
    Thanks for sharing

  10. Ash says:

    I find that including some compelling text in the subject section of the email is also very useful. I find that my email recipients are typically grateful to have the luxury of prioritising my email based on just reading the subject rather than have to open the email before deciding upon where it fits into their list of priorities.

    This also has the added advantage of making sure I write a really compelling sentence which encapsulates the action required and/or information I’m trying to convey/elicit

    Do you find this useful?

  11. Saif says:

    Excellent post. Every one read Emails but they only reply if they find it professional. This is an awesome post and great ideas has been given here :)
    Thanks

    • Great comment “Every one read Emails but they only reply if they find it professional” This is simply the message of this post.

      I am glad you got it Saif!

  12. Rakesh Kumar says:

    Respecting the reader’s time by sending them a Thank you e-mail back is the best tip I learned here. Obviously, if you give respect, you take respect. I seriously enjoyed reading your post and learned a lot from it. Thanks.
    Regards.

  13. Jorja Alcorn says:

    This is what I need. My email sometimes is not that attractive enough to get a reply. Thanks for sharing this article. Thumbs up!

  14. chandan das says:

    It works.. i am using it for my business

  15. Arbaz Khan says:

    Awesome post mate.
    Everyone is in someone’s list and to stand out from the rest, you need to send some professional emails to your list. Even I open only that email that can teach me something and not try to sell me a product that I don’t need.
    Great ideas and a great post. :)

  16. Lalitha says:

    I think it is very useful to me, because this perfect way to sent the mail to all the business people Thank’s a lot,,,

  17. Shaun says:

    Fantastic post. It baffles me when people spend so much time writing their content only to let themselves down with sloppily written emails, that will almost certainly end up in the trash.

    Creating a professional image of yourself does not start and finish with your website.

  18. Pst Bless says:

    Hi Boss, reading through this post really sparked off something new in me, more deep passion to become creative in doing whatever i do. Your concept, your style are all born out of creativity. Coming to your blog is my daily delight and as a learner, i have been positively affected by you and your blog.

    I have recommended your blog to my friends, i am too sure they will be very happy to subscribe to your updates; on my part, i will always be here to support and promote your blog in every possible means.

    I deeply appreciate your influence on me to become more committed to to this industry, once again, thank you from my heart. remain blessed!

  19. jason says:

    Great tips i am gonna follow these tips when i am doing my next email campaign

  20. John Smith says:

    Very useful tips email is the basic requirement of a business as every business start with right way of communication so before sending email we must consider these point to make our communication effective.

  21. Ummi says:

    Informational Tips, Thanks For Share It.

  22. Great article It always surprises my how often I get poorly thought-out emails. And how often I find myself being undisciplined about emails when I’m in a rush. I overlook some of these simple things sometimes, so it’s great to get a refresher (and some new lessons!).

    I would add, and I acknowledge it may be a pet peeve:
    Put something relevant in the Subject line. It seems so simple, but the number of emails I receive at work that have nothing (or worse…something unrelated to the email!) in the subject line is mind-boggling. I scan my inbox and read the senders I’m waiting on…then I read the subject lines that are important…then I eventually get to the rest. Maybe.

    It also helps when I hit reply…cause then you know what the heck I’m emailing YOU about!

  23. Prakash says:

    Great article It pays to think like a man when writing business emails of any kind. (Think about it ladies, whose time are you really wasting writing the “perfect” email?) YUCK! Save the small details for later. To quote the great Joe Friday, “Just the facts ma’am.”

  24. Manoj says:

    All tips are great and every professional should follow them. I liked the last point, as many people even me have done the mistakes of sending emails without proofreading. This is very important to maintain the professionalism.

    Thanks.

  25. Hello Jackson,
    I also think it is worth noting that if one has an avatar image with your email, for example, in gmail, make sure it is appropriate to the people you are contacting. It may change the impact of your email.

    What do you think?

    David

  26. “One thing you must always understand is that people have less time than you can imagine. It’s paramount that you make your email clear and concise because these people (including me) see time as no luxury.”

    I see time as a luxury; I’m sure you meant “as a luxury”.

    Perhaps you need another editor? LOL I am available!

  27. Roger says:

    Hi Jack,

    I am new to this blog. You have written amazing tips for email writing. I think, many of people never think about reply while writing emails but it can be beneficial for them if they read this tips.

    Thanks for sharing such a nice post.

    Best,
    Roger

  28. Richard Benn says:

    Working in the business world I am constantly surprised by the amount of poorly written, unorganized email I receive. This post is a great starting off point for how to go about writing emails.

  29. Bimala Raut says:

    Most of the people like me have such problem, They know they have to send mail to increase the number of clients but they don’t know how to make their e-mail professional. I don’t use Dear Admin, Dear Blog owner etc but of course I am unable to make my e-mail professional and attractive. Of course when we send e-mail to other, it should get reply but bitter truth is that we cannot. Coz We are still not so professional when we send e-mail.
    Today, I am feeling really glad to read your article about How to write professional E-mail that gets reply. Thanx for sharing such type to article. I have so many things to learn and some of the things I am learning from here. Thanx again!! :)

  30. Frank says:

    Great post – it’s so vital that those of us exploring ways of networking online understand how important it is to come across professionally when reaching out to someone.

  31. Jawbone Up says:

    This is something I hate to do. Usually through my blog, I’ll able to voice out what I think. But through emails, I’ll to customize to what my readers want to read. That’s when all the pitching comes.

  32. Sam says:

    Quite informative article, Thanks for sharing