Despite the growth of texting, instant messaging, and Facebook postings as a means of marketing, emails still have their place in communicating with colleagues, customers, suppliers, and the public. An email enables you to fold in text, pictures, videos, and downloads with your message, and allows recipients to respond at their convenience. If you want to use emails effectively, follow these guidelines.
Talk about one thing. If your messages tend to ramble on for many screens, it may be because you’re trying to cram too much information into one email. Picking just one topic to talk about will instantly cut down on your verbiage. If you want to cover several subjects, put each one in a separate email.
Explain the title. Using one or two-word titles in your subject headers may be easier for you but they do not tell the recipient anything about your message. Emails entitled “Answer” or “Your Request” will most likely be skipped or considered junk mail especially when the recipient has dozens of messages to process. Don’t be afraid to use a descriptive sentence in your title, such as “SX-101 price options that you requested during the Monday meeting.”
Keep it concise. Like you, your recipients are busy people who barely have time to go through all their messages. Keep your email short and scannable if you want it to get read. Use no more than three to five paragraphs, consisting of about three to five sentences each. Use headers to separate major ideas and break out enumerations into bulleted or numbered lists. If you must use more text for your message, put your writing into a downloadable document and then use email to send a link to the file.