Bulk email messages can hit a lot of people at once, but your personal notes will elicit action.
We’ve become too dependent on growing our email lists and sending easy messages to vast numbers of people. This is the most popular method to communicate with your contact list, but it shouldn’t be the only way you get your message out.
Whether you’re telling people about a workshop, inviting them to an opening, or announcing a sale, a personal email (or letter or phone call) will garner far more attention than a mass announcement. To personalize your communications, consider the following tips.
Write to a single person.
Don’t write as if you’re talking to a large group. Write with one person in mind. How would you speak to her if you met in the same room? Use that more relaxed and casual voice than what you’d write in a proclamation. It’s more trustworthy.
You can use the same framework as a starting point for personalized email, but you must take care to ensure that each recipient’s message is unique to them. Use his or her name, mention anything personal you’ve shared (like lunch), and remove references that don’t apply.
Use a salutation.
Addressing someone by name isn’t just professional, it is also the polite way to start an email. Please be sure to double check the spelling of the person’s name before you press the Send button. You instantly lose credibility when you misspell a name.
Be clear about what action you’re looking for.
What do you want recipients to do as a result of your email? Don’t make them guess and don’t beat around the bush. More importantly, don’t command or demand anything. “Please post this on your blog” might sound polite, but it’s still a command. Instead of commanding, ask. But asking doesn’t have to be in the form of a question, as evidenced by these examples:
- I know how busy you are, but I would really appreciate your help [doing xyz].
- If you have a couple of minutes, would you mind forwarding this to people who might be interested?
- If you know anyone who might like to attend, I’d be grateful if you would share this with them.
Customize the subject line.
Your subject line shouldn’t sound like a promotion. It should read as if you’re writing to a friend.
When you want recipients of your communications to take action, send a sincere, personal request.
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