How to write emails that get noticed – not deleted

How to write emails

None of us has time to read the dozens of daily messages already swirling around in our inboxes. Sometimes we don’t even get to the ones we want to read, much less the ‘slimey-sales’ ones, the ‘way-too-long’ ones, or the completely irrelevant, ‘how-the-heck-did-they-even-get-my-email’ ones.


What I’m saying is, you don’t get many chances to get it right. If your emails are stuffy-sounding, impersonal, time-wasters, you’re only adding to the noise and we know what happens when our inboxes get too loud…we ignore, delete, opt-out, take a nap.


If your emails are putting your readers to sleep (and you’ll know by the sound of the PayPal dings you’re *not* hearing), then here’s some tips to help wake your readers up and get your business noticed:


Subject line ?

This is probably the most important thing you need to focus on. The right subject line will get your email noticed and opened. Your subject line needs to be short, meaningful and leave them wanting more…


Which one would you open first?


     Receive 10% off tomorrow night only at our city store between 5 – 6 pm

    Want a sweet discount off your next home delivery? 


Brevity is best ✂️

Keep your sentences simple and your email as short as possible. Limit your email to five or six bullet points or a couple of paragraphs. Don’t make the reader scroll, anything beyond the first screen is unlikely to be read so avoid the temptation to add more, cut the fat.


Opening line ?

Make the first paragraph a single, well-written sentence that builds on/repeats the subject line.


Call to action ?

Include only one idea or action per paragraph and try to keep paragraphs to three sentences or less. If you have multiple action items, number them. People are much more action-oriented when they’re online.

State upfront what action you want your reader to take (e.g., click the link to secure your early bird discount).


Layout ?

Use subheadings to break up your copy and link to more info on your website. People tend to glance at email messages. Help the reader to absorb key points in a hurry.


Colours and spacing ?

Use black text on white background only, anything else is hard to read. Use hard returns to create line breaks, making white space so your message has visual breaks. Align text and any images to the left.



Avoid overuse of CAPITALS and apostrophes, you don’t want your reader to feel like YOUR SHOUTING AT THEM!!!!


Avoid business buzzwords or jargon ? 

Try not to use jargon or abbreviations, if you’re great aunt Mary can’t understand it, you need to go back and revise.


Make it fun ?

Use humour wherever you can. We all want to laugh and feel good and in an overflowing inbox brimming with bills, deadlines and shouty sales messages, this will make your email stand out from the rest.


Add a P.S. ?

We’re all busy and receive so many emails each day that even if your reader knows, likes and trusts you, most of us will simply scroll, skim or scan your email. This is when a good P.S. comes in handy. Add all of your important content and links to a short P.S. for the scrollers.


If it’s *that* urgent, don’t email it ?‍♀️

Don’t mark emails high priority or urgent. Your readers likely already have many ‘urgent’ emails to deal with. Similarly, don’t use the words URGENT or IMPORTANT in the subject line of an email. If your message really is urgent or important, then email is not the best method to be using; the telephone is probably better.


Don’t be annoying ?

Whatever you do, don’t request a read-receipt – this will almost always annoy your reader before they’ve even read your message. Many people even consider this an invasion of privacy and will usually delete.


The most important thing…

Check spelling and grammar. Carefully proofread all of your emails or have someone look over them for you before hitting send. If someone hasn’t taken the time to give their words a once over before sending, I’ll usually just press delete. Of course, there are times when it’s an honest oversight but if the email is full of typos and grammatical errors I’ll treat it as spam.


If you need help writing, editing or strategising your weekly newsletters,  welcome nurture sequence or sales emails for your next launch, I can help.


Get in touch.

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About Amie

Amie has a 15+ year background in publicity, marketing and communications. She's worked with non-profits, big brands, and small business. She knows how to shape the message for maximum impact and generate real excitement around your products and programs.

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