Here’s a brief guide to making sure each and every email you send is heard loud and clear.
“The primary objective of all writing is to communicate information. This means considering how a customer will actually approach the advice you’ve given them. Are your implied “Steps 1, 2, & 3” the actual order the customer should be doing them in? Are they logically organized, not only by what should be done, but by difficulty?”……says Gregory Ciotti, Help Scout
BEFORE you write your next email take in consideration these guidelines to make sure you are heard LOUD AND CLEAR
Always explain things chronologically. No exceptions.
The first thing customers should do must be Step 1. As with all these steps if you can do it for them, you should.
Be mindful of workflow. This is a bit more abstract—in general, we all recognize that if you link someone to a video a few paragraphs into your email, you increase the chances that they’ll get distracted. You need to structure responses in a way that keeps readers in the email and doing/reading things that won’t interrupt their problem-solving workflow until they are near the end.
Recognize that “reader fatigue” and “click fatigue” go hand-in-hand. Similar to assembling help content, place links strategically in sections to nudge customers into clicking them only when ready.
Using Underline, Bold, and Italics
- There’s almost no reason to ever underline text in emails.
- Bold is a fantastic way to clearly organize the customer’s queries into segmented responses.
- It becomes poorly utilized when you start emphasizing random words that make people place emphasis for no reason.
- Don’t do it.
- You can even reframe a customer’s question to add clarity.
- Bold what they’re really asking, and respond underneath.
- Italics are useful for placing a lighter touch on points of interest.
- For instance, telling a customer to “go to your settings” is okay, but a better response would be “up in the top right, click on My Settings.”
- The emphasis brings attention to exactly what they should be looking for.
Using Bullets, Links, and the P.S.
- Writing for the web lends a distinct advantage.
- You have flexibility in structural style that helps make for easier reading.
- Bullet points are a common example.
- Make use of bullet points to “ladder” lengthy sets of instructions.
- When discussing an ordered list, use numbering.
- Links are a bit trickier.
- An excessive amount of linking in any piece of writing will diminish comprehension.
- But a differing principle that comes from email marketing is that links that stand out are links that get clicked.
- This matters when you’re sharing an important piece of documentation or just something the customer needs to see.
- You also give them a clear “what to do next” by having a section written around the links.
- P.S.: Did you know that the P.S. is the most consistently read part of any email?
- Direct response copywriters have known this for decades, and they often put some of their most compelling writing in this area.
So before writing your next email, please keep these guidelines and quick styling tips in mind to help you organize communication in a way that is beneficial for you and your customers.
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To Your Success,