How not to write an email.

I’ve received plenty of cold emails. I’ve sent plenty of cold emails. Below, you will find a few lessons from bad emails I have received and sent. Here’s how not to write an email.

1. Write a catchy email subject line — I actually just wrote a post covering this topic here. The main takeaway? Write a catchy email subject line that piques the reader’s curiosity. Nobody is excited to open up, “Inquiry”. If you have an “Inquiry”, instead write “Quick question.”

2. Keep it short — The email inbox is not the time nor the place to write a novel about your life’s story. Anyone who is remotely successful does not have the time nor the energy to read your thousand word email. Make it short. Then, reread it and make it even shorter.

3. Get to the point — You can build rapport on the phone, but first, you need to get the person you’re emailing to respond.

4. Make it personal — You are talking to a person, so write the email in a conversational way. I hate to beat a dead horse here, but if you don’t use the word “inquiry” in passing conversation, don’t use it in your emails. Write your emails the way you talk.

5. Include a call to action — Once your recipient has read your email… what would you like them to do? If you want them to send you work — ask. If you want them to hop on a call with you — ask. If you want them to pay your invoice — ask. Whatever it is you want, clearly state it in your email. This is called a “call-to-action”.

6. Always follow-up — Roughly 80% of emails that get sent to a person never get opened. So, if you don’t receive a response the first time around, there is a good chance the recipient didn’t open your email. What should you do? Grab a pen and paper, brainstorm another catchy email subject line and follow-up. Always, always, always follow-up

7. Hit send at the right time of day — If you are trying to get your email read, you want to be strategic about when you hit send. I have found that right after lunch is the best time to send an email. The recipient is usually unfocused and running low on energy. This is when they take some downtime to peruse their email. If you are interested in exploring this subject more in depth, this article picks apart 10 different studies on the topic.

8. Read it out loud before hitting send — Before you ever hit send, read your email out loud to yourself. How does it sound? If you find yourself stumbling on certain phrases and sentences, revise. If you find yourself sounding a bit pompous in different spots, revise. If you find typos, revise.

By Cole Schafer.

Cole is the copy chief at Honey Copy, where he helps startups make more money through emails and landing pages that read like poetry and sell like Ogilvy. When he isn’t slinging copy, he is right here on Medium sharing ideas about life, business, marketing and emails. Or riding alpacas…

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I write pretty words and sometimes sell things.

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