Monday, May 28, 2012

7 Tips for Writing Emails

Writing emails for promotion might seem straightforward, but all too often those emails will be tossed away unread or caught in spam filters. Below I’ve offered some quick tips on how to get the most from emails.

1. Respect people’s privacy. When someone gives you their email address, they trust you won’t spam it out to everyone. Privacy is a real issue in today’s world and you could get more than a slap on the hand by inadvertently sharing around the address. Sure, some organisations sell email addresses to other organisations. Don’t be one of them.

So how do you hide email addresses when sending out a mass mailing? By placing all the addresses in the ‘bcc’ field—not the ‘to’ field or the ‘cc’ field. It’s as simple as that.

2. Personalise the email. We all like to feel important enough that someone took the time to write a personalised email to us. If it's personalised then we'll be more open to what the email has to say.

3. Don’t waste the recipient’s time. Keep business emails brief and to the point. Leave the rambling to the personal emails.

4. Include links. If you want the recipient to go to a link or leave a review, then make it easy for them by providing that link rather than making them look it up. This might sound obvious, but I’m amazed how many people don’t do this. If you are worried the links might get caught by spam filters, you don’t have to make the links live. The point is to make it easy.

5. Include a signature. I don’t mean an image of your scrawl. I mean your full name and other links to find you. For example, I sign off my emails with something like this:

Lyn
--
Lynda R. Young
http://lyndaryoung.blogspot.com
@LyndaRYoung

It’s a great marketing tool because it’s subtle, but it works. Also, we shouldn’t always assume the recipient will know who we are. However, try to keep your signature short and, if you must add an image banner, then make sure the image file size is tiny.

6. Never send huge files without permission first. I have an older family member who recently discovered the joys of emails. Unfortunately, in his enthusiasm he sends me 2-8 megabyte files. This clogs up my email and slows everything down.

7. Give the recipient the ability to respond. For example, if you are using email to respond to blog comments, make sure you don’t use a no-reply address. The whole point of social media is to make ourselves accessible.


Can you think of other tips for using emails?

--
Thanks: A huge and massive thank you to Nate Wilson. He ran a haiku contest recently and I won a $25 Amazon Gift Card. I’d not written Haiku before, so thanks, Nate, for pushing me out of my comfort zone.

Thank you also to Trisha from Word & Stuff for the Great Comments Award.
Please visit these great writers and say hi from me.

Photo: This is another photo I took on the Isle of Pines during my recent cruise. The weather in Sydney is getting colder as we draw near to winter, so I’m yearning to return to somewhere tropical.

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60 comments:

  1. Great tips! I haven't figured out how to add a signature yet ... well, to be honest, I haven't looked into it at all - but it's a very good idea! I'll have to get on that :)

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    1. I didn't include the how because every email program is different. I don't think gmail has an automated one, so I just type it in every time.

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    2. Actually, I use a signature with Gmail:

      http://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=8395

      . . . just thought that might help if anyone's looking to add one. :)

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    3. Oh!! You are brilliant, Golden! Thanks so much for the link. Very helpful!!

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  2. Excellent tips! I haven't sent out emails other than to those who signed up for blogfests and my Catch Fire party, but I wouldn't want to spam anyone.

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    1. mass emails are fine as long as they are rare and done carefully.

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  3. A super, succinct post filled with common sense -- as per usual. You're all aces, Miz Young!

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    1. Nah, I'm sure there's a couple of jokers in my pack ;)

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  4. Hi Lynda. Enjoyed reading your blog post. Those are great tips for avoiding email spam. Thanks for sharing them.

    CONGRATS on the gift card for your winning haiku poem. It's been awhile since I've written haiku.

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  5. I've made the mistake once or twice of not putting recipients into the BCC section. Not good!

    I'd like to add that before you hit send, check and DOUBLE CHECK the name of the person/site that you're sending to if you're personalising. I've both sent and received emails and said the wrong name or wrong site. Not only is it extremely embarrassing, it can harm your reputation and severely limits the chances of a positive response.

    Another way to get around it is to set a delay on all outgoing emails, so you'll have time to check over it before it gets sent. It's saved my bacon on numerous occasions.

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    1. Oh yes! That's a fantastic tip to remember!!! I've hit send and almost immediately cried, "Noooo!!!" lol.

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  6. Wonderful tips. I especially like the one about putting the recipients email address in the bcc filed. I was wondering if our contacts are listed by name or nickname rather than actual email address if this prevents others from viewing their actual email address? I do this to protect privacy, but now I am not so sure it does the trick.

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    1. Emails sent via the bcc field show no addresses or names and there is no option to 'reply all'. The recipients can only reply to the sender.

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  7. Excellent advice, full of common sense.

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  8. Firstly, love the isle of pines shot. Delicious. Yes,it's a little colder in Bris too, but still beautiful weather.
    Great advice Lynda. One more thing I do is create a new email address for my submissions so they don't get lost amongst my regular email. I'd hate to miss an acceptance!

    Denise

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    1. I started to do that, but then, because submissions take forever to get a response--if at all--I'd forget to check the email. Oops ;)

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  9. Yay for your haiku win!!! Wonderful! Take care
    x

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  10. Great pointers... I've set up my signature so each email has my details;)

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  11. yes, I despise when someone sends you a group e-mail and doesn't hide your address .... horrid!

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    1. I've requested to be taken off mailing lists because of that.

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    2. or when someone sends you a group message at Facebook and then the crazy people start answering and replying to it, and you're getting tones of their messages, even when you don't know half of them.... horrid!

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    3. yep, but that's a FB thing. You can turn that off completely, but I wish there was a setting in FB to email me only when the response is from the original author--and not all their friends and family.

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  12. Lynda - these are great tips, especially hiding the email addresses. It is a custom we use at my day job. It is always great stopping by your blog for helpful information.

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  13. Great tips. Want tropical? Visit San Antonio! We're not an island, but we are a day trip from one. And we have homegrown attractions, too. Weather today: Sunny, breezy, 94F.

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    1. Oh yes please!!! San Antonio sounds perfect!!!!

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  14. I usually don't send many emails but it does make me crazy when other writers spam my email. Great points.

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  15. These are all great tips. Thanks for sharing.

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  16. Great email tips! :)

    Bookmarking this for future reference--I can see this coming in handy in the future.

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  17. This is a great topic, because although I get right into the social media and I do use email, I've never used email lists and mail outs. Good points to consider when I do.

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  18. thanks for the great tips..awesome post
    Tasty Appetite

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  19. These are very good tips for sending e-mails. I really appreciate that you shared this.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  20. Very cool tips, thanks Lynda. I agree with all these points on email etiquette!

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  21. Thanks so much for joining me, Lynda.

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  22. I think this is such a delicate tool b/c there's a fine line btw promotion and SPAM. And people get very annoyed about getting spammed... But you make super points here! Thanks again, Lynda! :o)

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  23. Those are great tips! I can't think of anything to add. :)

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  24. I need to figure out how to add a signature to my mailing list thingy. Don't mail too often, I'd say.

    Once you start publishing, consider an email provider. There are several you can use for free until you get big. That list is $ to a writer, which is why we should have one.

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  25. Wonderful points. It's so important to be respectful and considerate.

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  26. thanks for the great information--saying hi from the az challenge!

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    1. hi, right back at you! It certainly was an awesome az challenge this year :)

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  27. Fantastic tips! I know I always appreciate short and to the point emails.

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  28. Great tips! I probably need to start adding a signature. :) At least for my gmail, which goes out to writers and other bloggers, etc. Thanks for that food for thought, and other mental munchies!

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  29. I love you suggestion for signing off email..I have not thought to do that. New plan in place. Thank you.

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  30. I'm never sure how to respond to a mass e-mail. I'm always afraid I'll reply and it will go to everyone on the list, not just the person who sent it. Ack!

    And I only recently learned how to embed a link in an e-mail. Yep, I'm state-of-the-art. Right on the cutting edge. :P

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    1. if you simply 'reply' you are safe. It's only if you 'reply all' that your response will go to everyone on the list--if the list is available.

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  31. Such timely advice! Though I'm done requesting author blurbs, I still have a lot of promo stuff to email about in the coming weeks & months. These tips will come in handy. I need to take all the guesswork out of the process. I'm nervous enough as it is.

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  32. Thanks for the helpful information.

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  33. A huge and massive thank you? Wow. You're welcome. If there's one thing I'm great at, it's making people uncomfortable. I mean, forcing them out of their comfort zones. (Actually, both are true.)

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  34. I know a lot of people who could benefit from this post. I use signature lines too. I think people appreciate that you include them in your life and an link to your Website is usually appreciated.

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  35. Great tips, Lyn. My email address has been passed around by a friend who would bulk forward all her emails by putting them in the "to" field where everybody could see it. It caused me a lot of problems wherein all her contacts started writing to me.

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    1. yep, I've had that problem too. It's why I now have 3 different emails.

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  37. Don't send forwarded junk mail. You know the email, they are cute and all but are not personal and really take up space.

    Don't send videos or .docs for security reasons.

    About the huge files - I recommend using skydrive or dropbox. Have them go there and download it, then delete it.

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  38. Great tips and advice, Lynda. Truly I didn't know about the CC and BCC feature differences. Thanks.

    Congrats on the win and hey, come on over for tropical!

    Riya

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  39. Are you allowed to publish your haiku on your blog?

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  40. I could, but you could check out all the haikus in the contest, including mine, on Nate Wilson's blog.

    All the entries are here:
    http://wheelisonfire.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/robot-haiku-contest.html

    The winners are here:
    http://wheelisonfire.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/robot-haiku-contest-winners.html

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