How to write a business email part 5

How to write a business email (part 5)

Writing a business email is an art as much as it is a science.  Time and time again I tell people to test out what they’ve written.  Have a goal in mind.  Remember that you want to

1.  Get your email read

2.  Ask for some information that THEY would want to reply to

3.  Come across as a real person, the kind of person you’d want to be friends with, not a spammer.

4.  Hopefully get another way to contact them like phone or skype.  This could be a way to build a real contact.

Today we’re going to talk about how to respond to their emails.  You will notice that different people in business write differently.  Pay attention to how they write to you.  If they are casual, you should be casual.  If they are really professional and formal, you should be more toward the same way.  You want to kind of mirror they way they write to you.  They obviously feel comfortable with that style and that is really the only thing that matters.  Who cares if a university professor thinks it’s not proper.  They aren’t the ones reading it.  Friends talk to each other using the same vocabulary and in the same manner.  Try to do the same when corresponding with someone in business.  You don’t need to copy them exactly, it’s weird and not crucial.  Just keep it in the back of your mind when you are writing.

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How to write a business email part 4

How to write a business email (part 4)

By now we hopefully have a successful initial business email.

1.  You have written a good subject

2.  You have asked a good question that will make them want to answer it

3.  You are polite and professional while still seeming like a normal human being.

Now you need to wait for them to respond.  Not everyone will respond.  Give them a few days and do a follow up email or email someone else in the company.  Don’t feel bad if someone doesn’t respond.  These tips just make it so your chances of success are that much better.

Once they have responded you want to send another email.  This time you want to build a deeper connection.  They will be much more likely to respond to your second email if they have already responded to the first.  Here is a good one.

Hey Jim,

Thanks for the reply.  I’m going to take you up on that advertising offer.  I’ll pay you via paypal later today.

I’ve got a couple of other ideas that are too long to write efficiently in an email.  Would you mind giving me your phone number or skype and a good time to call?

Cheers,

Bob

Now your business email is getting less formal than even the first one.  Hopefully you can get the person’s phone number or skype.  It is still better to talk on the phone because it is a friendlier feel.  If they don’t want to give it to you, it’s no big deal.  Many people will though.

Saying something like “Cheers” is quite friendly.  I think it shows that you respect the person like a friend and aren’t just treating them like some office drone.  I really find it is much better to treat people like that.  Try to let your personality shine through in an email and do everything you can to make sure you seem like a real person.  Even saying something like,

Have a good weekend.  I just checked and the weather is going to be awesome.

Saying something like that shows that you are paying attention and talking a bit the way real friends would.  It seems like it’s not a big deal, but it makes a slightly more intimate relationship with that person.  People would always rather do business with a friend than a total stranger.  It’s just human psychology.

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How to write a business email part 3

How to write a business email (part 3)

This section talks about the politeness level involved in writing the initial effective business email.  This depends on who you are writing to and for what.  I personally find that you don’t want to be overly polite.  Something like “Dear sir” is ridiculous in my opinion.  People reading these emails don’t need to be treated that way and it looks like junk mail.  I even think “Hello” is a bit too formal.  Hi is ok I think.  It’s not offensive and it seems friendly.  “Thanks” is also ok.  You don’t need to write “sincerely” or anything like that.  So I guess the main objective here is to make it polite but look like its from a person of equal status to another of equal status.  You aren’t best friends yet, but you want to make yourself look like you are a real person and don’t give it an overly corporate feel.  If the question or context of the email looks professional, you will look like a modern, educated, successful business person.  It is so much better than looking like a template from the 1950’s.  I think almost everyone hates reading that style.

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How to write a business Email part 2

How to write a business Email (part 2)

Part 1 was all about getting your first email opened.

Now we’re going to talk about what kind of things you should say in that first business email.

1.  Keep it brief

Business people are busy and they don’t have time to read long emails.  If they can see it’s long, many people won’t read it.  Think about what you want to say and ask and keep it short and to the point.  Here is an example of an effective business email body text:

Hi,

I’d like to know your monthly advertising rates for a standard size banner ad on www.xyz.com I’d like to pay immediately through paypal to your account.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Bob,

www.1234.com

This email is very short and direct.  It also expresses that you want to give the company money.  Companies love when you give them money.  If they believe you are willing to pay them, they are usually more than happy to reply quickly.  If you aren’t going to pay them for something, make the question in such a way that it is worth THEIR time to answer it.  Think totally in terms of what they want and not what you want in this first email.  You will have a much higher success rate.  Also, make sure that the subject and the content are related.  If your content is unrelated to the subject, they will feel cheated and won’t want to answer your question.  Trust me.  I’ve tried everything.

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How to write a business email part 1

How to write a business email (part 1)

Business email writing is a bit different than writing personal emails.  There are a few things to keep in mind when writing a business email and to be honest, the culture of this writing style changes all the time.  Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1.  Use a good subject.

Many businesses get way too much junk mail, and it doesn’t matter at all how good your email is if it’s not going to get read.  You want to make a subject that someone will open.  This takes a bit of thinking and creativity.  Don’t use the same type of subject that everyone else uses.  You want your subject to stand out.  Every field is different too, and you need to use a bit of trial and error to find what works for you.

Here is a subject example that I personally find to be effective:

Re: Inquiry about your advertising rates

Obviously you need to make sure that the company you are emailing has advertising, but if you use a subject like that, it makes them want to open it because it looks like you have a real question that is from a possible client.  It doesn’t look like junk mail.  Don’t write about deals or what you are selling.  If it is the first email you are writing, it is better to ask some kind of question and establish a relationship with this person.  Don’t make a fake question.  Think of something you really want the answer to.  Don’t sell anything in the first business email.  Just ask something and write back and forth a few times.  Your email will have a much higher chance of being opened and responded to if you use this approach.  After you have emailed each other a couple of times, then you can slowly start to talk about what you want to sell them.  Remember, the person opening the email is a real person.  You want to treat them like a real person.  If they like you after a few emails, it is much more likely they will actually read and take your business offer seriously.

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Business Email Etiquette Lesson 3

Business Email Etiquette Lesson 3

Think of what the other person would like to read.  Help someone else out.  If you are inquiring about paying money, that is for them because you are planning to give them money.  If you want to sell them something, help them with something first.  Do it quickly, no one wants to read a stupid novel.  They don’t have time and it’s disrespectful to think someone cares to read that much info.  Don’t sell to anyone unless you have already been exchanging emails.  If you’ve already exchanged a few emails you could write something like this.

Hey Steve,

I just checked out your homepage and noticed that it doesn’t work on my new firefox browser.  I guess anyone else using this browser is in the same boat.  I just thought I’d give you a heads up in case you didn‘t know.

I have an idea that I think would help your sales.  I tried to email you about it but I ended up deleting it because it was too long.  It would be a lot easier to talk on skype or the phone.  Let me know if you have any time and give me your skype or phone number and a good time to call.  I’m out of town next week but anytime this week or after I get back is good for me.

Later,

Dave

That email is giving help.  People are much more likely to reciprocate if you help them first.  It also isn’t needy.  Old school sales says, “Is Tuesday or Wednesday a good time to call”?  It kind of forces the other person into thinking they have only those two choices.  People aren’t that stupid and it doesn’t work that way.  It looks pushy and needy.  It isn’t very effective and it’s bad email etiquette.  I think it’s rude in any situation.  A casual business email that is to the point is professional and effective.  Most people aren’t that caught up with overly polite etiquette.  It looks weird and distant.  People would rather do business with friends than strangers.  Try to write in more of a friendly style than some weird corporate style.  Even if you are writing to a corporation, the people working there are still people.  You do want to use your common sense here however.  It is possible to be too unprofessional too.  Try to be moderate.  The first email should always be a tad conservative and then it should gradually become friendlier.

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Business Email Etiquette Lesson 2

Business Email Etiquette

Lesson 2

Be super clear and concise.  Answer all questions in the email if you are replying to one.  Make sure everything you say is swift, easy to read, and just makes sense.

I get hundreds of emails a day from different companies.  Some are spam and some are from real people.  It is rare that one of them makes sense.  I think it’s rude if it makes no sense.  It’s annoying and I won’t respond to it.  I don’t need you to call me “Sir”, I hate it actually.  I don’t need a zillion pleases and thank you’s.  I just want what you write to make sense.  I don’t want to have to read it twice.  I want to read it once and totally know what you are talking about.  I don’t want to have to email you back for more clarification.  It makes you look like an idiot.  It’s rude and it’s bad etiquette.  It’s bad business.  Read your email a few times to yourself and see if it makes sense before clicking send.  Don’t worry about how polite it is, just be normal.

Hey Steve,

What’s the price of a monthly banner ad at the top of your homepage.  I’m interested in buying one if the price is right.  I couldn’t find that info on your website.

Cheers,

Dave

That example above is a normal level of politeness.  It’s not how you’d write to the president but it looks normal.  It’s not rude at all and it’s clear.  It’s totally fine for modern day business.

If it’s your first email to a person, you might want to say who you are a bit more and say “Hi” instead of “Hey” but don’t go crazy on the politeness.  It is creepy and looks spammy.

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Business Email Etiquette Lesson 1

Business Email Etiquette

Lesson 1

There are so many so-called RULES about business email etiquette and in my opinion, and more importantly experience, most of them are retarded.  Even saying the word “retarded” would offend people and would be a definite no no for many “experts”.  It’s true that it will offend some people, but it will also create a bond with other people who don’t mind that word and actually find it kind of refreshing.  I’m a business person too and if you used that word, or any word, in an email to me I wouldn’t be offended.  All I care about is if the content of your email is useful to me and it makes sense.  In fact, I’d prefer you to email me in a funny way that makes sense.  I want to see that you have some guts and are a real person with something to say too.  Is everyone like me?  Not at all.  But many people are and you need to be aware of who you are dealing with.  If you don’t know, take a guess.  It makes a difference as to where they are from, how old you think they are, male or female.  Usually you can find this kind of info on a website.  If you are emailing to a big corporation, you probably know the type of person.  Lesson 1 is to just use your common sense.  If you think a joke is fitting, send it.  If you think it would be offensive, don’t send it.

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Professional Email Writing Tip 5

Know how to differentiate between the type of emails that should take a lot of time and planning and those that do not.  If you are writing to your friend or your mom, you could slap anything together and they will read it and respond.  You don’t even need to spell the words right.  You have that trust.

Basically, the emails that you should spend the most time on are the ones that are to new people.  Ie, people who have never responded to an email of yours and don’t know who you are.  Also, spend more time on the emails that are the potential home runs.  Some people in any industry would be great to contact.  If you have the email address of someone like that, treat it like gold.  Spend a lot of time planning how you are going to approach it.  Don’t get excited and whip something up in 10 minutes, click send, and just hope to get a good response.  Follow the tips from the other lessons with this type of person.  Once you have exchanged emails a few times, that person will feel comfortable with you and you don’t need to worry so much about the title and every little word in there.  Just make sure you keep a good reputation and never waste anyone’s time with a useless email.

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Professional Email Writing Tip 4

Think from their perspective.  What would they want in their inbox.  Everyone is basically the same.  We ignore most of our mail and hope that a certain type of mail is waiting for us in our inbox.  If someone you didn’t know wrote you a huge email that took them a lot of time, you probably wouldn’t take the time to read it let alone respond.  The time and energy they took to write it would be irrelevant.  You would just delete it from your inbox and your mind.  The other person would be waiting anxiously for your reply but you would be too busy to even think about that.  That is how everyone treats your emails too.  Just because you want them to respond does not mean they care at all about you or your product.  It is just another email to them.  It’s probably junk.  Why would they think differently?  Most of what they get is junk.  Most of what we all get is junk.  The key is to think carefully about what business they are in.  What kinds of emails would they be likely to read and pay attention to?  What do they want in their inbox?  How can you make yourself stand out from the pack of spammers?  Think carefully about these 3 questions and you will almost certainly come up with something that is better than you would have off the cuff.

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