The first email was sent out close to half a century and has since then increased in volume remarkably. Yet, despite the impressive experience gained, many mistakes are still being made. From typos to grammatical bloopers, failing to take proper care of your email copy can result in – let’s say interesting – consequences.
Today we’ll be sharing some email copywriting mistakes you seriously need to avoid. Here are the top mistakes to avoid when crafting an email
1. Using a Generic Email Domain
Unless you’re an individual, you need to use an email address that’s representative of your company. Someone getting an email from “firstname.lastname@example.org” about the last will and testimony of their grand aunt simply smacks of a scam.
Aside from that, an official email address is also part of your business brand, so get one. Professional email hosting is readily available today, and hosting companies are more than willing to provide all the support you’ll need. Grab a domain name for your business to go with it, and you’re set.
2. Failing to Address Your Email Recipients
Nothing shouts ‘impersonal’ more than getting an email address to “Dear sir or Madam.” Doing this can lead to several interpretations, of which none are good. Not addressing a recipient by name shows that you either don’t know them or don’t care.
It can also lead to potential legal issues. Spam emails are a massive global problem, and regulations have emerged requiring companies to obtain permission before machine-gunning out emails en-masse. If something thinks your “Dear Sir” email is a sign of this, questions may start getting asked.
3. Omitting Salutations – and Proper Closings
Sending an email to your buddy isn’t the same as sending one to a business prospect. We sometimes omit salutations when writing personal emails – don’t let that influence your business mail; it can come off as incredibly rude.
Always apply common courtesy no matter who your email recipient may be. Aside from showing you as being polite, the salutation and closing are also your opening and closing, letting people know where the contents lie.
You don’t need to make them too elaborate, as long as they’re distinct. A “Dear Mr. Smith” and “Best regards” or similar will do in most cases.
4. Avoid Junk Subject Lines
Over 300 billion emails are sent daily worldwide, a number that’s only going to grow. From personal and business email to marketing content and spam, everyone has an inbox full to the brim – all wanting their attention.
Unless you can quickly grab attention with the subject line, your email has a high chance of getting ignored or simply junked. In a business capacity, using proper subject lines also helps people keep track of relevant topics more quickly.
5. Being Disorganized is Dreadful
The low cost of email isn’t an excuse to write the never-ending story. As mentioned, everyone gets a massive amount of emails each day. Once your subject line has drawn them into opening your email, quickly outline the contents for them.
You don’t want your boss, for example, to have to wade through 2 pages of text before arriving at your intended delivery. It’s unproductive and may quickly lose the attention of recipients that you’ve fought so hard to get through to.
Always start with a quick summary to deliver the best results. If necessary, the remainder of the content can then go into further detail, sharing the million-and-one steps you took to arrive at the desired destination.
6. Don’t Assume People Always Know What You’re Discussing
In some cases, you may be dealing with people who have to respond to many recipients. Let’s take the case of a customer service representative to illustrate this example. Sending an email with the contents saying “Hi, Can you fix my camera? Thx” isn’t very informative.
Include the information that is necessary, so the person receiving your email has enough to work with. Not doing so will likely result in an extended digital paper trail with them painfully trying to extract what’s needed one email at a time.
7. Be Cautious About Spelling Bloopers
We live in an era of automation, and spell-checkers with autocorrect are becoming a norm. Even if that wasn’t so, the human mind could sometimes trip, possibly resulting in humorous or terrible consequences. Imagine you signing off an email as Frank and getting it corrected to Frack – you may see the potential of this.
No matter how busy you may be, always give your email a once-over to ensure that nothing got lost in the transcript, even if you aren’t using an autocorrect feature. You never want a potential employer laughing in stitches when reading your email addressed to “Dear madman.”
Grammar mistakes in your content can also come off badly in a professional sense. Some small but common errors include substituting “you’re” with “your” – things that can leave recipients wondering if you’re the Harvard grad you claim to be.
8. Don’t Be Clever in Font Customization
Caption: Getting an email in a big, bright red font can ruin someone’s day.
Customizability is one of the most incredible things of the 21st century, but there are times when lines are crossed. Just because you love Comic Sans doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to use it in all your email correspondence.
While that may be a more obvious thing to do, there are many things associated with fonts that come to mind. For instance, no matter how upset you are, it isn’t an excuse to use all caps, increase the font size, and change the color to bright red.
9. Watch Those Links and Attachments
Links and attachments are sometimes necessary and are a great way of enriching the email experience (provided you can compress files to the right size). Be aware, though, that sending an incorrect link can be a big issue. For example, you don’t want to link to a competitor’s product by mistake.
Attachments are the same way and have been known to cause not only embarrassment but result in job terminations. You absolutely do not want an image of your private parts to land in your boss’ inbox.
10. Messing Up the Details
Email can be awesome to provide information with since they remain long after you hit the “Send” button. However, it isn’t so great if you mess up the details and need to send multiple corrections about some details.
Imagine getting the time and date of a meeting wrong and sending a correction in a later email – and repeating that twice. It can result in frustration at best and a missed meeting in worse cases. While you need to go over your contents, always make sure to pay special attention to fine-line details.
11. Don’t Forget Your Objective
The way emails are crafted also needs to vary depending on the recipient. Yet, no matter the purpose of your email, always ensure that it meets a specific objective. Failing to do so can result in effort lost, especially if it was intended for marketing purposes.
Let’s take the example of a sales email that you want to build for potential customers. While it certainly doesn’t hurt to expound on how your product can benefit their business, you need to remember to include a clear and prominent call to action (CTA).
Losing out on a sale simply because your potential customer didn’t have an easy way to take action is such a sad thing. Remember, they’re as busy as you are, and you want them to make the purchase – so help them out.
We’ve become so accustomed to email that many of us have simply lost focus. How you word an email to friends and family, for instance, is very distinct from addressing one to a business partner or prospect.
While there isn’t a perfect formula, knowing your recipient plays a major role in helping you avoid email copywriting mistakes. Oh – and don’t rely too much on grammar checkers or autocorrect; it may cost you dearly.