Whether in my day job or when working on my blog, I really do spend a bit of time working on emails. And whether we like it or not, emails are here to stay. They’ve become one of the easiest ways to reach people for collaborations, or information. Business people, bloggers and creatives will find themselves constantly using emails.
And whether we receive the information that we require or the collaboration – depends to a large extent on how our emails are crafted.
I don’t necessarily think I send the best emails. But I think they’re good enough and my response rate is actually quite amazing (if I do say so myself!). Recently, I emailed someone to ask to be featured on the Nine people, One question column. The response I got back was super flattering that I just have to quote it. “Hello Kachi. Thank you for your excellent email. I have never seen a more articulate email in my entire life. I would be more than happy to be part of your column“. Obviously I took it as a bit of flattery, but it warmed my insides and the sender insisted that it was no flattery!
On the other hand, some emails I receive get deleted either without being opened or shortly after I’ve read the first few lines. Others I read to the end, but totally unsure of what is being asked or conveyed in the email.
These are my thoughts & I hope they’re helpful!
Before sending the email:
Seems pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised that some emails fail to clearly state the purpose or deliverable. So think this through in your head first, and be sure it’s clear. Summarise it in one sentence.
It’ll be a shame to spend ages drafting an email and then, you realise you haven’t got an email address. These days many people have some sort of email on their blogs, LinkedIn, or social media account. For bloggers, and businesses stating the email address clearly is often better than a contact form – so fix this if necessary.
Related: 5 Really Quick Ways to Improve Your Blog (in less than one minute!)
If the email address isn’t publicly available, it’s okay to send a direct message on social media asking for the best way to reach such person by email.
Because we live in such a fast paced world involving 140 characters or less, emails suffer and often get treated very shoddily. The reality however is that a good email takes time to draft. So don’t think it’s something to be done lightly. I typically spend 15 mins on an email – many times up to half an hour!
The Email Itself
Subject lines are super important! And in many cases could make or mar an email. I know they’re not the easiest things to think up. But remember that one-line summary you came up with before drafting the email, that should usually be sufficient. The recipient should then have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the body of the email.
If sending a general email to more than one person, who do not know each other (or need not necessarily know the other is being emailed as well) please use the Bcc option. This means blind copy and ensures that each recipient is not aware that it is being sent to others. Much more importantly it protects each recipients’ email address. I really do cringe when I see that I have received an email with multiple persons and all email addresses are visible in the To or Cc section.
Yes, we still need these and they should be clearly paragraphed as well.
The introduction will depend on the situation, and whether or not you’re familiar with the person. For me, I often open with a greeting and say a bit of myself in about two lines. Much more importantly, I try to put in some good words about the recipient. People often love to see themselves in the positive and it makes them eager to read in more detail.
A brief introduction could be “Hi A, Hope you’re well. Thank you again for providing your email address via Twitter. I’m Kachee, a lifestyle blogger at KacheeTee.com and I recently stumbled upon your writings on your blog. I must say I particularly loved your piece about your recent road trip across Nigeria – so inspiring“. Please don’t feel like you have to lie to say something about the recipient. It’s not that necessary.
Here’s your chance to pitch. It should be clear and possibly concise. These may be split into paragraphs. Make sure your recipient has all the necessary details and background information they’ll need. Be clear on timings and deadlines. Feel free to emphasise these details using the bold italics or underline feature. Avoid caps as it often comes across as shouting. Use numbered lists or bullets if possible as these are sometimes easier to skim.
This should include action and/or follow up steps, as well as an appreciation and a reminder that you’re happy to answer any questions. Sign off wishes are great and it’s advisable to include a proper signature.
Before you hit the send button, don’t forget to do a proof read for typos.
Related: How to Avoid Making Typos
Ensure that you’ve spelled the recipients’ name correctly and any dates, times, addresses, web links you’ve included are correct. If possible, don’t use attachments except where absolutely necessary. Many people read emails on mobile devices and may be difficult to access such attachments. Plus sometimes, attachments can carry viruses and people may be reluctant to open them.
Related: Cyber Security 101 - Seven (7) Tips to Stay Safe Online
In few seconds consider the possibility that the contents of your email is shared online. Would the contents embarrass you?
Have you overused exclamation marks or come across as too friendly using abbreviations and excessive LOLs?
Well, what else is there to do? Just sit and wait for a reply? Sort of but not quite. First, be sure it’s delivered. You’ll typically receive a failure notice if it hadn’t, so best to look out for that.
Most people will generally reply to their emails and get back to you in good time. But sometimes we really just forget. Don’t follow up within 48 hours except its really urgent. But I really do advise following up after a while. It’s the simple reason I get some of my emails responded to. And a lack of follow up is the reason why I haven’t replied some emails – despite my best intentions to do so.
Oh and one more thing. It’s really helpful if your email address is somewhat decent as the recipient sees this immediately. I know many of us opened our first email using supposedly cool words or phrases. It’s kind of time to upgrade.
In summary, the truth is some people get excellent replies and collaborations even when they send shoddy emails. And such people argue that some of these are unnecessary. But why take the risk of wondering if you didn’t get a reply just because you couldn’t spare 15 minutes to type up a decent email.
So there we have it! Let me know if this was helpful. And if you have any questions, I’ll answer in the comments. Please use the share buttons if you found this helpful as well, so others may benefit.
What’s your email pet peeve? And what part of sending emails do you struggle with? Let’s hear!
You may also like:
'DaraMay 23, 2017 at 05:46
Good piece Kachi. The suggestions are also very useful in sending corporate emails.Email pet peeve: Sending an email with an attachment with nothing in the body of the email. How do I know what I’m supposed to do with the attachment?
YemisiMay 23, 2017 at 11:13
Lmao! People do that?! Wawu!
DebsMay 23, 2017 at 09:23
Super helpful! I spend time too when I’m the first initiator of a corporate mail especially in my office where they’d always print your email and attach to document for future reference.I remember once when I sent an email to our auditors. The guy was requesting for a particular reference document, we’ve done a lot of back and forth and I was clearly tired and my last response was “That’s all we have o, I hope it’s sufficient”.Now this thread was just between me and the guy. Imagine my embarrassment when the mail was referred to months later and he cc about 8 people, I almost died of shame!So I believe, emails have really come to stay and one should be extremely careful of what you send out. And always proof read! I have once misspelt my boss’ name and it was ridiculous cos it’s not a chat where you can easily send the correct name especially when a lot of people are in copy.My email pet peeve: Sending me a mail without a subject or intro or conclusion e.g. “Come to my office” I always roll my eyes at such, like why don’t you just send as an sms…
YemisiMay 23, 2017 at 11:16
This was really helpful Kachee! Thank you for sharing. My email pet peeve: An email ridden with typos. Gosh! I can’t stand it. Also, poorly paragraphed mails are tedious to read.
Kachee || KacheeTee.comMay 24, 2017 at 11:15
Thank you Yemisi! Absolutely agree with your pet peeves. Hate long emails with no paragraphs!
OzofuMay 23, 2017 at 12:35
I have been looking for tips on how to send really good mails and boom..I found it. My boss sends really good mails and I’m always amazed. My email pet peeve: funny email addresses, lengthy emails and unnecessary attachments that could be explained in the body of the mail.
Jude NnadozieMay 23, 2017 at 20:32
Very helpful. I’ll keep this piece handy.Your blog is going places, Kachee.
Kachee || KacheeTee.comMay 24, 2017 at 11:16
Thank you so much Jude. Really appreciate.
UdMay 25, 2017 at 09:36
My God! I loved reading this.My emails from now onwards would be always thought through to the very last punctuation mark.You always give solutions to real life issues and that’s why I love coming here. To soak it all up! Many thanks.
Kachee || KacheeTee.comMay 25, 2017 at 10:10
So glad it was useful Ud! Thank you so much for stopping by.
Bubu GreenMay 25, 2017 at 13:18
Very true, Kachee. The Blind Copy feature is so important. I don’t bother replying mails when I see how courteous/affectionate/personal/concerned an email is to you and then you see it’s been sent to the rest. Looks like a con!www.bubusboulevard.com
Sarah Enuwa AuduMay 26, 2017 at 12:30
Super helpful post, after reading this it is clear to me that I might need to spend more time drafting my emails as I don’t always introduce myself at first or follow the normal introduction, body and conclusion style. Also, I probably need to work on my follow ups. Now with that being said, I will be pitching more brands for collaborations, I initially got disappointed when I got no replies to the first emails sent but your point about following up is maybe where I messed up, I don’t know but I’ll try. And my pet peeve in emails especially as a fashion blogger is when people contact me for collaborations and address me as Princess, that’s an obvious indication that proper research was not done because my name is different from that of my brand.Princessaudu
Kachee || KacheeTee.comMay 26, 2017 at 12:37
Don’t get disappointed. It does take a bit of work, but eventually they’ll work out. Follow ups are so important.I feel you on the Princess thing. That’s annoying! But don’t throw out the emails simply because of that. I’ve got emails without my name at all, and it turned out to be a good one.
Grace SmartMay 27, 2017 at 14:08
This was totally helpful. I like the way you wrote your introduction. The kacheetee kind of introduction. Simple and straight to the point.www.liveinibadan.blogspot.com
AbbyMay 30, 2017 at 09:03
I’ve basically lived in crafting emails in the past couple of months and I can so relate to spending over an hour typing up a mail. It gets exhausting sometimes.Oh and I can testify your response rate is super high!
EndalineMay 30, 2017 at 18:52
This is so helpful. I try to adhere to all the rules for drafting an email, but I know I’m not quite there yet. I still ask close colleagues to proof-read my emails. My problem is that I fail to follow-up. Will work on that.
AdaezeMay 31, 2017 at 09:02
I sent this to a friend that always gets me to proof read her emails before sending it and she read it and said, she just realised she has been sending watsaap messages as emails. lol. This blog is now added as a bookmark on her laptop. Well done Kachi
Kachee || KacheeTee.comMay 31, 2017 at 12:51
Hahahaha! @ sending Whatsapp messages as email. Some people don’t see the need for any difference. Thank you for sharing with her!
yevandyJune 2, 2017 at 17:39
I came back to this post to send an email.. :)Thanks Kachee.. very helpful tips.. I hate it when people use abbreviations in emails…. so annoying… smh..
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJune 2, 2017 at 17:41
You’re welcome Hun! Xx
Mary-AnneJuly 7, 2017 at 14:37
Great post as always. I learnt how to compose my e-mails from Dr. Akintayo (remember him?). He was my 500L supervisor and we communicated a lot through e-mails. I must confess, I do not introduce myself in e-mails, but I will work on that. #SomethingNewLearnt Yaay!!!
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 7, 2017 at 14:44
I do remember him. He is such a great teacher to be honest. Learnt so much from him. I think introductions are great – especially for first time emails!
Debby AdebayoJanuary 12, 2018 at 19:04
This is interesting. Everyone I’ve met has something good to say about Dr.Akintayo. He is currently teaching me a course.☺
Aisha O'ReillySeptember 5, 2017 at 10:12
Great post Kachee. Pet peeve: someone asking me if I got their mail…4 hours after they sent it. I’m very very busy and I’m not always on my phone. And you’re not the only one who’s emailed me!
ChinnyJanuary 21, 2019 at 18:21
Saw this on your IG stories and I had to come over to read! This is my life right now…sending cold emails especially as I am trying to connect with people and get a good gig after grad school.