OK, you probably know how to write an email already (write, press send), but there is a difference between writing an email to your friend and writing one for work, in relation to an apprenticeship or for any other serious or business matter. This is especially true if you are sending a ‘cold’ email with the hope of attracting someone’s attention. Common in careers like marketing, there is a skill to writing an email that grabs the attention, gets to the point and says what you want in a personal yet business-like manner. A great specific skill to have, here we offer a few tips on how to write a cold email – effectively!
- Subject Line
The first thing that anyone will see is your subject line – it is the make-or-break of your email as it is the thing that will decide whether your email gets read or trashed. The trick lies in getting the balance right between piquing your recipient’s curiosity and saying something of substance. Busy people don’t have time to read unimportant emails, so the curiosity value becomes less important, but when people have time they are more likely to open an intriguing email. Since you don’t know what mood your recipient will be in, the best thing to do is use a mix of both the practical and the intriguing. So, for example, you could say to a colleague, “Can we meet to organise our efforts” in the title line. The meeting offers the practical but the ‘efforts’ offers a little mystery! However, at all times, if in doubt keep things simple and to the point.
- The Personal Touch?
Nobody wants to think that they are just another name on a list of contacts. Using a generic email where only the name of the recipient changes is an option, but be sure not to make the rookie error of using a different font or text size for the name than the rest of the pre-written email! The more personal details and touches you can use the better, it creates a connection with the reader rather than making them feel that they are little more than another name from a contacts list. Oh, and makes sure you get their name right!
- Get To The Point
It is fine to ask how someone is or make another similar greeting in your email, but try to get to the point. Be specific and to the point with what you want. So, if you wanted to organise a meeting to discuss a few issues make sure to say how much time it is likely to take and what sort of things you want to talk about.
- Keep It Short
Don’t ramble on in your email – keep it short and to the point. It is fine to chat on with personal emails, but business emails need to be business-like, which means keeping things short and sweet. People don’t have time to sit and read paragraph after paragraph. Think of your email as an entry into a discussion rather than a monologue! Getting your point across is a skill in itself!
- Make It Unique
As with offering a personal touch in your email, it is also a good idea to explain why you chose to send the email to this particular person. Not only is it flattering for the person to think they were chosen specifically, it also makes them more likely to respond. It may seem a little bit dishonest (especially if you have sent the same thing to several people!), but making the person feel special and chosen will give you a better chance of success – which is ultimately what you are after!