It’s hard in the creative world to know where or how some professional lines lay. It’s nice because we get to make a lot of our own rules, but there are still some places where old school rules. Writing emails is still one of those areas that can set you off on the right foot or get you sent to someone’s spam. Here are our 7 steps to crafting the perfect, professional email.
Start With a Good Subject Line
I’ll be honest with you, my subject line game was super weak not that long ago. Abagail definitely set me straight! The subject line serves multiple purposes: one to let the sender know what your email is about (obvious) but also to be easily searchable once hundreds of emails get piled on top of it. I’ve been known to send an email subject line of “words” (no joke) or no subject line at all! This makes it next to impossible to search for this email down the line when you need to come back to it. Try these (adding your name in the subject line makes it really easy to search for you email later):
- [YOUR NAME]: Guest Writing Opportunity
- Conference Swag Bag Contributor
- Collaboration Opportunity: [YOUR NAME]
Intro With a Personalized Greeting
No one likes to get the emails addressed to “hey you!” or “hi, friend!”, because they feel fake or super impersonal. If you’re taking the time to communicate with someone take the extra second to address to email directly to them. Depending on your audience you could use various forms of hello:
- Hello there, [FIRST NAME]
- Nice to (virtually meet you) [FIRST NAME]
- Hi, [FIRST NAME]!
- How’s it going, [FIRST NAME]?
Keep in mind that this person may have zero clue who you are, what your business is or what you do. Even if they might vaguely know who you are take this as an opportunity to fully introduce yourself. Tell them your name, the name (maybe even a link) of your business and your title. Remind them or let them know why you are even emailing them in the first place. Keep this simple (no need to tell your entire story) and to just a few sentences. To recap:
- State your name and your business
- Fill them in on why you’re emailing them
Keep it Short and to the Point
This middle part is where you might feel like you need to go on and on, but the key is to keep it short and to the point. You have to remember that the person you’re emailing probably gets loads of emails a day and might have a set time to read and respond to you. We’re also fond of moving the conversation from email to the phone. It’s so much easier to finalize details or work something out over the phone instead of through back and forth emails. Try this:
- Establish the goal you’d like to achieve
- Ask if they would be willing to hop on the phone with you to work out details
Give Clear Options and Next Steps
Now is when you give clear options and next steps. Once you’ve asked them to hop on the phone, meet in person or whatever next step works for you, it’s time to give options. It leaves it too open ended to simply ask, “Can we hop on a call?”. Try to give options (but not too many) and ask them to pick. Try this:
- Can you hop on a call this Thursday afternoon or Monday morning?
- Could we meet up before next Wednesday to work on this? What time works for you?
Thank Them for Their Time
Now’s it’s time to wrap it up! It’s time to thank your correspondent for their time. This is also a great opportunity to let them off the hook if they don’t email you back soon. We know, we know, it seems counterproductive to everything you’ve established so far. Hear us out! People get busy and they get a lot on their plate. If your issue isn’t time sensitive then leave it a little open ended to their response time. Try this:
- Thanks so much for your time today, hear from you soon!
- Thank you for letting me reach out to you! I understand you’re really busy so get back to me when you can!
End With a Branded Signature
Time to reiterate who you are and your business! If you haven’t already go ahead and create an email signature so you don’t have to worry about adding in these logistics every time. Consider adding links to your website, social media channels and blog. You can set up your signature for your desktop email and your smartphone email as well. Hint: if you send emails from your smartphone be sure to turn off the “sent from my iPhone” settings.
This is the simple and surefire way you’re next email will come off as branded and professional as you are in real life!