November 09, 2022

I don’t know if you know that if you have a CEO title, you are likely to get an insane amount of emails from people trying to sell you something. Most of those emails won’t even be read, let alone acted upon. In this blog post, I’m going to share what email techniques work for me to read your email and respond positively to it.

Be Relevant – This is probably the most important (and most difficult) thing to achieve – if you offer something I need now (or aware of a need in one of my businesses), I will be more likely to read the email. In some cases, I make a direct contact, but more often than not, I refer the email to the relevant person for review.

Keep It Short – Getting hundreds of emails a day, I’m not going to read them all. A long email from unknown contact is not worth the time, whereas a short email can be scanned for relevance. At the very least, make sure you state your point in the Subject line and the first few words of text, since that’s the only thing I see in the Gmail preview – it’s important if you want the email to be read as I delete most emails without opening them.

Customize – If you got me to read your email, I would appreciate it if you took the time to make it relevant to me by demonstrating mastery of my “unique” situation and needs. Tone-of-death emails like Oracle’s trying to sell me a MySQL Enterprise Subscription, on the contrary, are a negative signal to me. It’s better if the customization looks like it was written by a human, rather than a “naive” customization of inserting a couple of template variables that looks obviously as a fake.

Visualize – As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and if it’s an animated GIF, several thousand. If you can visualize what you’re selling, do it, not talk about it. If the value proposition is hard to visualize, at least you can use imagery to highlight the key message or key points of your email.

Humor Me – A little smile goes a long way. If you look fun, I’ll be more interested in having a conversation with you. Also in my mind there is a correlation between fun, creative trams and great products and customer experience.

Provide Value – Reciprocity is a great behavior to rely on. If you can provide me with some value with your email, it will be a great start to building a relationship, and will also greatly increase the chance that your email will be forwarded to a more relevant person. By value, I don’t mean a $20 Starbucks card, but rather relevant information.

Follow up – I may skip your email the first time or intentionally delete it if it doesn’t look relevant at first glance. However, when following up, make sure you are being professionally persistent rather than annoying – if you write every day, adding simply “Have you missed my email”, you will end up on the spam list. It works much better to provide additional information or value that gives me a reason to reconsider.

I hope these tips will help you to write better emails that produce better results for your business. As for me, if more folks followed these principles, my time spent with my inbox would be more fun and productive.

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