How to Write Effective Emails to Get What You Want

Have you ever sent an email and wished that the recipient would respond favourably or take the path of action you were asking for?

Emails can be a tricky form of communication. The person you are emailing cannot see your body language or hear the tone in your voice. Hence the way you craft your email plays an especially important role in the type of response you are likely to receive.

  1. Have a Clear Outcome in Mind

More often than not, people have a plethora of tasks and responsibilities on their plate and do not have all day to mull over your email.

If you are going to email someone and make a request, begin with thinking about the exact response you want from your recipient before you write your email.

Keeping in mind this action you want from your recipient, work backwards and craft an email geared towards getting that ideal response.

  1. Start with an Effective Subject Line

Email subject lines should be:

  • Clear and specific

Summarise exactly what your recipient will read in this email.

  • Attention-grabbing

Think of newspaper headlines. Brief but catchy, these headlines make us want to read on. The same applies for your email–you want your recipient to pay attention to it.

  • Relevant

Remember to change the subject line if the initial subject of the email is no longer relevant. If you don’t, the reader might get confused and disregard your email.

  1. Open with a Greeting

Start your email with a quick greeting. Sometimes a simple “Hope this finds you well” is nice, instead of plunging straight into the matter.

  1. Cut to the Chase

Introduce the reason you are writing your email, by focusing on your recipient’s interest and benefit.

Always think, “What’s in it for him/her?” and frame your email accordingly.

  1. Include a Clear Call to Action

In marketing, a call to action is an instruction to the target audience intended to evoke an immediate response or perform a specific act. Examples are “call now”, “buy now”, etc.

Your email should end with a very clear call to action, phrased specifically and politely. Put your call to action in a paragraph on its own so that it is clear to the reader that it is a specific request that they can respond to.

  1. Politely Hint at the Answer You are Hoping to Get

Let’s take for example you have to send a draft copy, revised for the fourth time, to a person for his or her review. The copy looks fine this time round and you are hoping that it will be approved. You might want to say something like “I look forward to your approval”, rather than “Please let me know if you have further feedback” which might invite many more corrections.

  1. Make All Actions Easy For the Recipient

To increase the chance of your recipient following through the actions in your email, ensure you make all actions very easy to carry out.

For example, if you refer to a document amongst many documents, specify exactly which file it is and provide its file name. If you refer to something online, include a clickable link to that content.

It is also worth separating your email content into smaller chunks of text, by keeping paragraphs to 3-4 lines and using bullet points where possible.


Hope you found some of these tips useful and applicable!

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