6 strategies to write better email

March 17, 2021

We’ve all heard two things:

  1. People have too many emails in their inbox.

  2. Email marketing is the most effective way to bring in sales.

So where does that leave you as a business owner? Do you add to the noise or… just keep posting on social media in hopes they catch it while they’re not on a social media fast?

Let me get straight to the point: people will always have too many emails in their inbox. Just like they will always have too much laundry.

But even though laundry is annoying, we still love our favorite Madewell sweater, so it’s worth sifting through the millions of socks to get that sweater ready to wear on an important Zoom call.

In the same way, YES, people have too many emails in their inbox. But if yours is good enough, consistent enough, and well, a right fit, then it’s worth it for people to click open.

Because they will read yours. If you do it right.

And why do we want this?

  • So that you can have confidence in your brand’s strategy.

  • So that you can have confidence in your messaging.

  • So that you have confidence that you’re showing up for your ideal client, even when Zuck decides to change the algorithm (or the entire purpose of the platform!)— again.

By now you’re like, okay, Corrie, just tell me how to do this! I’m in!

Glad you asked. 

The advice I have listed here comes from my nerd-central obsession with email marketing, and a REALLY busy boss.

Yep, I first learned how to write a good email from a boss who was so hard to get a hold of. I’m impatient by nature, so I wanted my info right away. What you’ll see here is how I learned to speak “emails that create action”. It’s how I did innovative work inside a system with the MOST red tape that ever existed (I love you, public schools). It’s how I created programs and even got on the news. (Seriously, it all starts with email.)

Here are your tips to write emails that people open and respond to:

  1. Know your audience

    • This sounds obvious, but you cannot do anything well without being super clear on who your audience is, how they make decisions, and what format of an email they are most likely to respond to.

    • Take my busy boss. He’s a quick decision-maker IF he has a few key components: the why, the how, and a very clear ask from me. He’s a loooong decision-maker if I pass along a thought or an idea without much direction. (Can you blame him? Who has time to mull on someone else’s idea they haven’t thought through?)

    • If your audience is a working mom, you want to make sure you’re not a. Wasting their time and b. Giving something of value. Every time. They don’t have time for fluff. They just want to know what their problem is and how you can solve it. 

  2. Make your subject line work for you

    • First Of All, Don’t Use Cases! This is an EMAIL, not a boring presentation I have to sit through at work, which is what Titles with All Caps feel like (more academic-y than friendly).

    • Make it clear and about them. It’s not about your sale, it’s about how you have a promotion on a product that will actually make their life better. 

  3. Personalize it with the Preview Text

    • Use them! Otherwise it’s obvious that it’s a newsletter email and they’re less intrigued. Make it funny or interesting. “Hey [first name], did you run away??”

  4. Don’t make their eyes work harder – use white space

    • As an English teacher for 15 years, I’m very aware that people don’t like to read. Whether you’re 16 or 36, our attention spans are wired to do a hard eye roll when we see a big chunk of text in an email. Break that thing up with white space, bullet points, etc.

    • And I mean, just keep going. Use bold font to make a point so as they’re skimming (which they are unless it’s your mom), they get the key points and they keep going. Italics are not a thing of the past, either.

  5. Email consistently

    • People open emails of people who keep showing up.

    • Even if they only read the subject line and preview text, you’re reminding them of the value they offer, so they’ll go book their next appointment with you even though they don’t know what you put in the PS.

  6. Don’t sleep on the P.S.

    • Since we’ve already established that people skim emails, include a clear PS with the main call to action. 

BONUS: Speaking of call to action — have one!

Here’s my call to action for you:

  1. Try ONE of these strategies this week. Yep, even if it’s an internal email to your team. Try it.

  2. Then? Send me a quick email hello(at)corriemyers.com and tell me how it goes. 

Work with me

share this post

hey, i'm corrie!

I help people-driven companies, large and small, connect with their kind of people with brand voice strategy + personalized copy. A believer in public schools and Ted Lasso, I love getting to champion the best version of your brand. 

We’ve all heard two things:

  1. People have too many emails in their inbox.

  2. Email marketing is the most effective way to bring in sales.

So where does that leave you as a business owner? Do you add to the noise or… just keep posting on social media in hopes they catch it while they’re not on a social media fast?

Let me get straight to the point: people will always have too many emails in their inbox. Just like they will always have too much laundry.

But even though laundry is annoying, we still love our favorite Madewell sweater, so it’s worth sifting through the millions of socks to get that sweater ready to wear on an important Zoom call.

In the same way, YES, people have too many emails in their inbox. But if yours is good enough, consistent enough, and well, a right fit, then it’s worth it for people to click open.

Because they will read yours. If you do it right.

And why do we want this?

  • So that you can have confidence in your brand’s strategy.

  • So that you can have confidence in your messaging.

  • So that you have confidence that you’re showing up for your ideal client, even when Zuck decides to change the algorithm (or the entire purpose of the platform!)— again.

By now you’re like, okay, Corrie, just tell me how to do this! I’m in!

Glad you asked. 

The advice I have listed here comes from my nerd-central obsession with email marketing, and a REALLY busy boss.

Yep, I first learned how to write a good email from a boss who was so hard to get a hold of. I’m impatient by nature, so I wanted my info right away. What you’ll see here is how I learned to speak “emails that create action”. It’s how I did innovative work inside a system with the MOST red tape that ever existed (I love you, public schools). It’s how I created programs and even got on the news. (Seriously, it all starts with email.)

Here are your tips to write emails that people open and respond to:

  1. Know your audience

    • This sounds obvious, but you cannot do anything well without being super clear on who your audience is, how they make decisions, and what format of an email they are most likely to respond to.

    • Take my busy boss. He’s a quick decision-maker IF he has a few key components: the why, the how, and a very clear ask from me. He’s a loooong decision-maker if I pass along a thought or an idea without much direction. (Can you blame him? Who has time to mull on someone else’s idea they haven’t thought through?)

    • If your audience is a working mom, you want to make sure you’re not a. Wasting their time and b. Giving something of value. Every time. They don’t have time for fluff. They just want to know what their problem is and how you can solve it. 

  2. Make your subject line work for you

    • First Of All, Don’t Use Cases! This is an EMAIL, not a boring presentation I have to sit through at work, which is what Titles with All Caps feel like (more academic-y than friendly).

    • Make it clear and about them. It’s not about your sale, it’s about how you have a promotion on a product that will actually make their life better. 

  3. Personalize it with the Preview Text

    • Use them! Otherwise it’s obvious that it’s a newsletter email and they’re less intrigued. Make it funny or interesting. “Hey [first name], did you run away??”

  4. Don’t make their eyes work harder – use white space

    • As an English teacher for 15 years, I’m very aware that people don’t like to read. Whether you’re 16 or 36, our attention spans are wired to do a hard eye roll when we see a big chunk of text in an email. Break that thing up with white space, bullet points, etc.

    • And I mean, just keep going. Use bold font to make a point so as they’re skimming (which they are unless it’s your mom), they get the key points and they keep going. Italics are not a thing of the past, either.

  5. Email consistently

    • People open emails of people who keep showing up.

    • Even if they only read the subject line and preview text, you’re reminding them of the value they offer, so they’ll go book their next appointment with you even though they don’t know what you put in the PS.

  6. Don’t sleep on the P.S.

    • Since we’ve already established that people skim emails, include a clear PS with the main call to action. 

BONUS: Speaking of call to action — have one!

Here’s my call to action for you:

  1. Try ONE of these strategies this week. Yep, even if it’s an internal email to your team. Try it.

  2. Then? Send me a quick email hello(at)corriemyers.com and tell me how it goes. 

Work with me

hey, i'm corrie!

I help people-driven companies, large and small, connect with their kind of people with brand voice strategy + personalized copy. A believer in public schools and Ted Lasso, I love getting to champion the best version of your brand. 

share this post

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