How often do you receive real e-mails that stand out... that compel you to compose a carefully crafted response?
Real e-mails are those where the sender carefully selects words, keeping in mind the recipient's likes and dislikes, while embedding a touch of their own personality. Remember the handwritten letters that we used before e-mails took over?
With the evolution of internet spam, we've developed a certain disregard of e-mails in general. We have somehow lost that ability to read e-mails carefully and to write them with thought and feeling. Tired of automated e-mail blasts and a congested inbox, we have become more mechanical and have started writing like machines. Terse messages, cold and utilitarian.
It is a sad story.
Since we mostly receive e-mails that are devoid of any human or emotional trace, we've closed our hearts and minds. As such we only feel an underwhelming joy when we receive a new e-mail from a long lost friend. So how do we get some of the old excitement back?
E-mails can be as beautiful as lovingly handwritten letters used to be. All we need to do is take few cues from the history of writing letters!
1. A message that sticks
Personalise your e-mails with precious little details in the form of real images, quotes and anecdotes. E-mails like that tend to hang around longer in the recipient's inbox and are most probably saved to be read later as well, just like old-school handwritten letters.
It makes no difference if the e-mail is written formally or informally -- all that really matters is a real person's touch.
2. Give people what they expect
Whether it contains a sales pitch or an invite to a certain meeting, just be clear and precise about the focal message in an e-mail. Nobody likes a vague message, but honesty is always appreciated.
"According to the Adestra July 2012 report, as many as 22.2% of e-mails are more likely to be opened if they carry a personalised subject line."
3. Make it a bit funky!
No, I didn't mean you should add garish graphics and gifs. But imagine a simple thing that'll bring back the nostalgia of typewritten letters. There are many web and mobile apps that give typewriter effects to the written text of an e-mail.
Play with fonts and graphics in your e-mail to make them extra special. Just a little attention is all that is needed.
4. Keep it natural
Marketers must pay special attention to this. E-mail blasts are a practical way of sharing information, but when they are to one person or even a group, please don't use those e-mail marketing pointers.
Don't use automated e-mail templates unless or until they are necessary. Keep the message tone spontaneous, but avoid less robotic greetings and use real human expressions that express your personality.
Letters were the epitome of the personal touch being used to mould relationships. From 16th-century chivalry to modern e-mails, wordplay has always triumphed. Try to bring in the same values and intent to your e-mail writing.
Remember - if our forefathers could do it, then so can we!
5. Personalized subject lines
According to the Adestra July 2012 report, as many as 22.2% of e-mails are more likely to be opened if they carry a personalised subject line.
Imagine finding 100+ e-mails in your mailbox after a vacation trip. Which e-mails are you most likely to open first - those with a bland subject line like "Team Lead Follow-up" or something more personal like a "Hey Seema, here's last week's round-up in your absence"?
Mail subjects are crucial from a marketing perspective as well. Digital marketers are well aware of the fact that subject lines may be their biggest asset after content. But don't overdo it! Nobody appreciates an overflowing inbox.
In the movie You've Got Mail!, Tom Hanks hides his true identity from Meg Ryan over e-mail when he realises that he isn't talking to a complete stranger anymore. Instead of confronting her face-to-face he tries winning Meg's heart with his words and e-mails. Now that might be too romantic for our generation, but Hanks' character had a point - and he got the girl!
The article originally appeared on the Business Insider