Quick, how many business emails have you written? I have written 120,000. Here’s the paper-napkin calculation:
20 emails per day
x 300 days per year
x 20 years
= 120,0000 emails
I could be off by 60,000, because maybe I only write 10 on an average work day. 60k, 120k, 30k, what’s the difference? It’s a lot.
It’s the same for you. Which is why you’re an email marketer.
The short emails count, too. The one-sentence replies. The nothing-but-emoticon replies. Think about it; some of the most impactful emails are the shortest ones.
Some of the least impactful are the longest.
Raise your hand if you’ve read every single long email. Didn’t think so.
Of course, you’re not intentionally selling yourself, your service, with every email. But you are in practice. You’re a de facto email marketer.
Are you a good de facto email marketer?
Here are the tell-tale signs of good emails:
- Positive, friendly tone
- Content or tone personalized to the recipient
- Short (my weakness!)
- Easy to understand and respond to (another weakness!)
- End with a question, if any further action is required
- Ask the recipient to do one thing and only one thing
Now I can find you hundreds of if not thousands of work-context emails contradicting these rules and maybe you can too.
Secondly, this overlaps with productivity thinking, which advises on how to write work emails. But this isn’t about being efficient and helpful at work. F*#k your co-coworkers. Just kidding, co-workers!! 🙂
If you isolate those six qualities in your work emails, and work on them, then by definition you are writing good marketing emails.
I will acknowledge that workplace communication often involves lots of info. If your email gets beyond 5 sentences, copy it into a document and attach it (or link to it). Then extract the most essential 5 or less sentence that talk about the contents of the document.
Ironically, this is also a commercial email marketing practice.
In conclusion, practice asking
Now I will caveat as follows: some work emails not only don’t require a follow-up action, they don’t want one. That is, you don’t think you want a response apart from a thank you.
But in email marketing getting the recipient to take action is the whole point. So here’s your opportunity to practice email marketing at work. Practice asking for something and make sure it’s just one thing.
That’s it, that’s your homework. Will you let me know how it goes?