It all started in 1971 when Ray Tomlinson, a computer engineer developed a system for sending messages between computers that used the @ symbol to identify addresses. He now can’t remember the first communication he sent or the exact date he sent it. From there we leap to 1996 when Microsoft launched its mail server and a year later in 1997 about 10 million users worldwide had free webmail accounts. From a real commercial aspect, it is only in 2001 that email celebrated its 30th anniversary with virtually every business in the developed world signed on.
I remember when HR had to write policies to ban or restrict people from using personal email and the internet at work. It sounds so old fashioned now. However with the freedom to send and receive emails, we now suffer from overload. There are a number of studies linking the proliferation of email to stress-related illness as well as institutionalised procrastination. Why there are even companies who make their money from teaching people how to empty their mailboxes. Reading email has become an addiction, and we all know of people addicted to checking 24/7 even when on holiday or in bed at night. And this brings me back to my first question. Why do you send emails?
Do you send or ask for information? Ask yourself do you want the recipients to do anything with the information or just store it on their machine? If you do, that’s fine though it begs the question of why you bothered to send the email in the first place.
I ‘m willing to bet you want people to do something as a result of your sending your email yet often that is left to the imagination. Actions are often buried in unhelpful comments such as ‘please get in touch sometime and let me know what you think’. Do you really expect a reply?
Using the well worked AIDA a marketing model you can use to shape your email to get the maximum response
Attention – Start with a good title to make your email worth opening, not festering with all the others sliding down the page of emails.
Interest – Once opened to make them want to read more. Tell them what you want and give reasons for why it’s important and what’s in it for them.
Desire – Help them feel involved and show them how they will benefit from responding to your email
Action – Tell them when you want the response and how you want it.
Remember to be specific ‘Please respond by 4.15pm’ rather than ‘this afternoon’ – ‘Please let me have the information on Friday by midday’ not ‘by the end of the week’.
Above all make sure your emails are accurate, brief as possible and clear.
Business Letters and Emails Self Study Guide will be published on the 1 February. To reserve your copy now by email special launch price £5.50
Purpose of the Self Study ebook: To enable you to communicate in written business English confidently and effectively.
On finishing the self-study guide you will be able to:
Decide when it is appropriate to write rather than speak;
Demonstrate a style that meets the needs and concerns of the reader;
Write simply, clearly and concisely;
Set out emails and letters in an acceptable business layout;
Structure your correspondence for different situations including enquiries; complaints; requests; giving good/bad news;
Use correct grammar and punctuation in all business communications.