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8 Tips for Writing An Effective and Compelling Email

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8 Tips for Writing An Effective and Compelling Email


Have you ever had to hype yourself up to send an email? Because, same.

There’s something that feels monumental about sending an email that you don’t always get with other forms of communication. And if you’re a non-native English speaker, that task can seem even more daunting.

This article will provide some helpful tips to help you improve the overall quality of your emails, no matter your perspective. Once you’ve applied these simple strategies to your writing, you should be able to confidently send emails to anyone and get rid of that post-send anxiety.

Let’s get started.

1. Have a compelling subject line.

Subject lines can make or break your email’s success. It’s often the deciding factor on whether someone will open your email.

Unfortunately, a lot of people struggle with this part.

Take a look at this example:

subject line example

This particular subject line (real-life example by the way) is vague, indirect, and does not hint to me at all what the content of the email will be about.

The result? I might delete or ignore it altogether.

Here’s a better option:subject line example

It’s descriptive, specific, and tells me that this is an introduction.

Subject lines are especially important if you’re reaching out to someone for the first time. The recipient doesn’t know who you are, and can only judge you from your subject line.

Even if you’re sending emails internally at your company, it still pays to write a great subject line so your recipient has an idea of what to expect. Like any busy person, your teammates receive a ton of emails every day, and would certainly appreciate the extra effort of a descriptive subject line.

So, how do you write a good subject line?

Be clear, direct, and describe the content of your email. Don’t be afraid to take up the whole subject line. Here are some good examples of subject lines:

  • [Action Required] Monthly Marketing Meeting
  • FYI/Informational
  • Request for [Insert here]
  • [Reminder] Survey to Complete | Will Take 2 Minutes
  • [Name] suggested I reach out to you
  • I’m going to be in town next Tues – are you available?

If you’re sending a promotional email, avoid deceptive subject lines like:

  • RE:
  • FWD:
  • Urgent
  • Order confirmation
  • Account Status

There’s no need to resort to sneaky tricks or clickbait titles just to induce an open. They make recipients feel cheated and tricked, according to a 2019 Litmus survey. You’ll lose trust and may end up in their junk mail as a result.

You want to associate positive feelings with your email, not anger and disappointment.

2. Start with an appropriate greeting.

To kick off the email, you should begin with an appropriate greeting. There are two components to the greeting: the salutation and the opening sentence.

The appropriate salutation actually depends on the situation. If you’re writing a formal email to a bank or government institution, it would be better to start off with “Dear [X].”

If you’re sending an email to someone you know, or work in a casual environment, then it is perfectly fine to go with a “Hi [name]” or “Hello [Name].”

There’s also “To Whom It May Concern,” when you’re sending an email to a group email and not sure who will be reading it.

One thing you want to avoid is using gendered and non-inclusive terms like “Hi guys” and “Mr./Ms/Mrs.” in your salutation.

To help you out, here is a list of salutations you can open in your emails:

  • Dear [First Name]
  • [Name]
  • Good morning/afternoon
  • Hi team
  • Hey
  • Hi there

3. Have a strong attention grabber.

Once you’ve gotten the salutation out of the way, it’s time to start your email.

While the subject line determines whether your email is opened, your opening sentence determines whether your email is read till the end.

If it’s an introduction, you can open with something you know will interest your recipient. You can find this out through a little research on their social media profiles. Perhaps they Tweeted something interesting or recently posted something on LinkedIn you can reference.

This will help you build rapport and show that you’re not sending a generic email to multiple people.

how to write an email that builds rapport

Of course, this is not necessary if you’re emailing a colleague or someone you know, but it is still important to establish some kind of context so that they know what’s happening.

With a colleague, start with the “why.”

No one has the time (and patience) to guess what an email is about. The sooner you answer the “why,” the faster you’ll capture their attention.

Quick tip: If you’re sending out sales emails and need inspiration of exactly what to say, take a look at HubSpot’s free email templates. With this tool, you can access a library of built-in templates designed for each stage of the customer journey.

4. Keep your message short and concise.

According to Statista, we send and receive roughly 319 billion emails a day worldwide.

This statistic makes one thing very clear: We spend a lot of time reading emails. And because of this, many people simply scan emails to get the essence of the message and move on to the next.

With this in mind, you want to optimize your email for readability and scannability. This will look like:

  • Keeping paragraphs short.
  • Adding bullet points.
  • Using visuals to break up the text.

While you may feel like you need to tell them everything in one email, don’t.

No one is eagerly awaiting a three-page essay arriving in their inbox. Think about it this way: What’s the main takeaway from your email and is there a particular action you want your recipient to take?

From there, draft your email and when you re-read it, make sure every line you add is helping you meet this goal. If it’s not, remove it.

When you need to include a lot of information in an email, it’s probably better to suggest a phone call or a meeting instead. You can use this free meeting tool to schedule your meetings faster and avoid back-and-forth emails.

5. Be consistent with your font.

If I get an email like this, I’m immediately deleting or assuming it’s a scam.

how to write an email: be consistent with your font

Emails can be fun. You can add images, GIFs, and colors. However, there’s a way to do it that’s not too jarring or distracting.

This is an example of what not to do. There are several fonts used in the email, different font sizes along with different colors. As a result, the eye doesn’t know where to go and it’s a bit overwhelming.

Furthermore, the message gets lost, as your recipient is too distracted by all these elements fighting for their attention.

So, as a rule of thumb: Stick to one font. If you want to use a secondary one, use it sparingly. Follow the same rule for color.

If you’re using a non-English keyboard, your fonts may not show up properly on the other person’s device. Instead, use web-safe email fonts like:

  • Arial
  • Courier
  • Georgia
  • Helvetica
  • Lucida Sans
  • Tahoma
  • Times New Roman
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Verdana

In fact, this is the exact list Gmail gives:

how to write an email: step 5 use consistent font

This will ensure that your recipient will receive your message in a regular font, regardless of device or operating system.

6. Write a simple closing.

Once you’re done with the content of your email, it’s time to close it off.

You don’t have to make it fancy – just keep your closing simple and straightforward.

So, nothing like this:

example of bad email closer

Instead, stick to the safe, proven closing lines and you should be good.

You can choose from some of the most common closing lines below:

7. Schedule your emails.

One 2020 survey by Sleep Advisor found that around 54% of Americans check their work email immediately after or within an hour of waking up.

Another study by Litmus on the State of Email Engagement in the United States in 2021 supports this. It reveals that the most popular time for reading emails is in the morning. Open rates start around 6 a.m. but usually peak between 9 a.m. and noon local time.

Given this information, you can follow one of two strategies: Send your email in the morning when you know they’re scrolling or wait for a less busy time.

On one hand, your email runs the risk of being buried if you send it in the morning. However, if you wait for a later time, your email may never get opened.

It takes trial and error to figure out what works best when emailing with your team.

If you’re writing an email to someone in another state or country, you also have to factor in time zones. Noon for you may be 7 p.m. for someone else. As such, keep in mind who your recipient is and when they would be most receptive to your email.

Pro-tip: You can use our free email scheduling tool to ensure that your emails are sent at the right time.

8. Do a final spelling and grammar check.

You’re almost there – don’t mess up at the last stretch.

Imagine spending time crafting a perfect message, only to be ignored because the email riddled with spelling and grammar errors.

how to write an email: step 8 grammar check

Here’s how you avoid this: Once you finish drafting your email, copy and paste it into Microsoft Word or Google Docs to give it a quick grammar, phrasing, and spelling check.

Alternatively, you can also use free checkers like Grammarly to automate the process while you’re drafting.

how to write an email using grammar check grammarly

Image Source

In addition, read the message out loud to make sure the sentences aren’t too long, sound clunky, or robotic. You want your email copy to sound human.

All of these tips help the reader focus on your message, not the other elements of your email.

Email Writing Tips for International Teams

Most people won’t tell you this, but crafting a good email begins even before you put down a single word. It starts with your mindset.

When you’re in the correct frame of mind, you’ll be able to write effective emails that communicate and persuade.

Sounds logical … but how do you enter the “correct frame of mind”? Well, there are two ways: Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes and write the way you talk.

More on that below.

Imagine receiving the email you’re writing.

Have you ever received an email that it was so incoherent you couldn’t even finish reading it, let alone even consider replying? Or included a completely irrelevant proposition?

how to write an email

Image Source

Ahrefs is an SEO tool, yet they received an email from a fishing company.

One of the biggest problems when it comes to email writing is the lack of empathy for the recipient. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Why am I emailing this person?
  • Is this the right person to contact, considering what I’m trying to achieve?
  • Is my message clear and to the point?
  • Would this be better discussed in a meeting?
  • Does each line help or hurt my goal?

This is especially important when emailing someone new but still valuable when contacting a colleague.

Write like you talk.

If you’re not a native English speaker, it’s normal to feel like you should be more formal when it comes to your email writing.

However, this results in emails that are too formal, and come off as awkward or stiff. For example:

how to write an email for international teams

Native English speakers write more informally — their writing sounds like one person talking to another.

Here is a quick grammar tip that will always help you sound more native: Write in an active voice and avoid the passive voice.

An “active voice” shows that a subject is performing the verb’s action, e.g.: “Marilyn mailed the letter.”

In contrast, the “passive voice” shows that the verb is acted upon by the subject, e.g.: “The letter was mailed by Marilyn.”

Instead of writing “your feedback would be much appreciated”, try saying “I would appreciate your feedback.” Instead of writing “your request has been received”, try “I received your request.”

Notice how writing in an active voice sounds more human.

Writing an email shouldn’t be daunting. With these simple tips, you’ll make sure your email is effective every time.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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The Ultimate Guide to Storytelling

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The Ultimate Guide to Storytelling


Storytelling is an art.

Not a process, method, or technique. And — like art — it requires creativity, vision, skill, and practice. Storytelling isn’t something you can grasp in one sitting, after one course. It’s a trial-and-error process of mastery.

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How to Blog When You Have No Time

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How to Blog When You Have No Time


Finding the time to blog is a frequent challenge for many marketers. Marketers often wear many hats and it can be difficult to focus long enough to churn out quality articles when you’re pressed for time.

How to blog when you have no time? We spoke with author and marketing expert David Meerman Scotton how to avoid common time management mistakes by developing a routine.

No matter what you’ve got on your marketing plate, it won’t get done without proper time management. Learning how to make the most of your time will greatly affect your productivity and overall success as a blogger.

Why is blogging time management important?

When it comes to creating content, maintaining consistency is key. This is why blogging time management is so important. You may not always feel motivated to create on a regular basis, but establishing a schedule will help you to stay consistent with your blog output.

For example, you may find that you’re better at writing in the mornings. So you can set aside 2 to 3 hours each morning to work on writing based on how many articles you’d like to produce each week.

Create a content calendar to help you plan your content in advance and set reasonable deadlines. Make note of holidays or seasonal events that may impact your content schedule.

Getting organized will help you set and achieve goals for your blog. If you’re starting from scratch, check out our guide to starting a blog.

How to Blog When You Have No Time

1. Use blog templates.

An easy way to jump-startyour creative process is to start with a template. Why suffer through writer’s block staring at a blank document if you don’t have to? HubSpot’s free blog post templatescan help you format your article and get started writing faster than starting from scratch.

[Include screenshot]

Templates function as an easy to follow outline where you can organize your thoughts and start to flesh out your content. HubSpot’s offer includes six templates ranging from how-to posts to pillar pages and infographics.

2. Develop a blogging routine.

In many ways blogging reminds David of exercising. In order to be successful at it, you will need to develop a routine. “It is programmed in,” David says. “It is about building it into your life and making it a second nature, like running in the mornings or doing yoga after work.”

Dedicate time each day to writing or allocate one to two designated writing days per week. Block time off on your calendar and turn off messaging apps to avoid interruptions while you write.

Once you’ve gotten organized and created a routine, you may find you had more time to write than previously thought.

3. Keep a list of ideas.

One way to save time coming up with content is to make sure you always have a running list of fresh ideas to work with. That way you’re not scrambling at the last minute for worthy topics.

Creating topic clusterscan help you flesh out your blog content strategy. A topic clusteris multiplearticles grouped by a shared topic or related topic. For example, you may have one pillar page that gives a broad overview of a topic. From there, you can create more in-depth, specific articles on related subtopics.

This will not only help you plan content but organize your site architecture as well.

4. Perform research prior to writing.

It’s much easier to write when you have all the pertinent information you want to include in one place. Research your chosen topic before sitting down to write and organize the information in a quick outline.

Include any keyword researchin this process so you can ensure your content aligns with what readers are searching for online. This way when you sit down to write, your only job is to write — not look up new facts.

5. Don’t edit while writing.

When writing it’s very tempting to want to stop and make corrections. Don’t do this. It breaks your writing flow.

Instead, write a rough draft withjust pops into your mind first. Follow your train of thought without stopping to fix typos or edit. The goal is to just get your thoughts on the page. Once your initial draft is written, you can always go back and make changes.

6. Perform article updates.

Another strategy is to build upon existing content by performing an article update. Giving your older content a refresh is not only good for SEO and your readers, but it can be a quick win for adding new content in a time crunch.

With older content, you may need to include additional research and update it for accuracy, but it generally takes less time than writing a new article from scratch. Review your existing content. Are there articles you can do a deeper dive on? Have there been industry advancements you can include? Is there a new angle to explore?

7. Find content ideas wherever you go.

By making blogging a life routine, you will come across creative content ideas much more frequently. Keep an open mind, observe new things that interest you personally and find ways to turn them into fodder for a blog post. By noticing world dynamics that get you excited and relating them to your audience, the process of blogging becomes a lot more natural and fun.

Accumulate content ideas from different situations in life and find ways to apply them to your industry.

8. Hire a freelancer.

Sometimes your workload is just too heavy and your efforts can be better used elsewhere. If you have the resources and budget to do it, hiring outside help may also be a great option.

Sites like Upwork, Contenta, and MediaBistro make it easy to find writing professionals. If looking to generate content on a larger scale, consider working with a content agency.

Blog Like A Pro

Creating content with a consistent cadence is an obstacle busy marketers frequently struggle with. Creating a schedule and mastering blogging time management will allow you to create even when you’re short on time.

This article was originally published in December 2010 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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How clean, organized and actionable is your data?

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90% of marketers say their CDP doesn't meet current business needs


A customer data platform (CDP) centralizes an organization’s customer data, providing a single 360-view of each consumer that engages with the company. Yet there are still data-related considerations that organizations have to make beyond what the CDP does.

“[CDPs] were designed to fill a need – to enable a marketer to easily get to the data they need to create their segmentation and then go on and mark it from that point,” said George Corugedo, CTO of data management company Redpoint Global, at The MarTech Conference. “But the issue is that CDPs really don’t take care of the quality aspects of the data.”

Maintaining data quality also impacts segmentation, campaigns and privacy compliance challenges for marketing teams that use this data.

Data quality

The data in a CDP depends on the quality of where it came from. Therefore, an organization using a CDP must also consider the quality of the data sources and reference files used to build out the CDP.

“The inevitable question is going to be, how good is this data?” said Corugedo. “How much can I trust it to make a bold decision?”

This is something that has to be on every organization’s radar. For instance, when identity resolution is used, the issue depends on the quality of the third-party reference files. If they are provided by a telecommunications company or credit bureau as the data partner, those files might only be updated quarterly.

“It’s just not an optimal solution, but every single CDP on the market uses some form of reference file,” Corugedo stated.

It’s up to the data scientists and other team members working within the organization to own the accuracy of these data sources.

Read next: What is a CDP?

Segmentation and other actions

The quality of the data using specific reference files and sources will vary and will impact the confidence that marketers have in creating segments and using them when deploying campaigns.

Marketers have to make this decision at a granular level, based on the trustworthiness of data from a particular lineage.

“If they have a campaign that is reliant on suspect data, they can actually delay that campaign and say maybe we wait until that data gets refreshed,” said Corugedo.

Otherwise, marketers are just “spraying and praying.”

Using rules instead of lists

The advantage of having a CDP is unification of all data. But the data is being updated all the time. Instead of deploying campaigns based on a fixed list of customers, the use of rules to define segments allows marketers to update who they engage in the campaign.

“A list, as soon as it’s detached from the database, starts to decay because it doesn’t get any updates anymore,” Corugedo, adding that using lists takes longer to execute a campaign.

Lower quality from data that isn’t updated can have serious implications for healthcare and other industries, where accuracy is essential. 

“Instead, rules are passed through the campaign just like they would be with a list, but those rules reevaluate every time there’s a decision point to make sure that only the qualified people get the particular content at that point,” Corugedo explained.


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Privacy and regulatory compliance

Maintaining data quality through a Redpoint Global dashboard, or a similar combination of tools and data personnel, will also help an organization manage privacy.

The crucial point is that people on the team know where the data came from and how it’s being used in campaigns. The stakes for sending out relevant messaging are high. Privacy and compliance issues raise the bar even higher.

If you’re using a CDP, you can save headaches and extra labor by using a tool that has compliance and privacy baked in, so to speak.

“What we’ve done is embrace some of this complexity and absorb it into the environment, so the marketer never even sees it,” said Corugedo. “What we do is with every implementation, we will implement a PII vault that keeps PII data super secure, and we can anonymize the marketing database.”

This way, personal information of individual customers (PII) is never violated.

“Marketers ultimately don’t necessarily need to have visibility to PII,” Corugedo explained “They like to see it for testing purposes and making sure that it looks right and everything, but the truth is we can do that in other ways without revealing PII.”

Having a handle on data quality adds to the confidence marketing teams have in creating segments and executing campaigns, and it can also help protect the customer’s privacy and guard against regulatory infringements.

Facts not fiction: Beyond the CDP from Third Door Media on Vimeo.


About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.



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