Top-Shelf Tip No. 250:

"Say a little and say it well."

Irish Proverb

Four Ways To Sharpen Your Email Skills

The average professional receives about 120 emails per day and spends nearly three hours sifting through their inboxes. If you want to get your message seen, it's critical to cut through the noise. Aytekin Tank, founder and CEO of JotForm, says that effective emails can boost productivity and save time for both the sender and the recipient.

So how can you polish your email-writing skills? Keep reading this issue of Promotional Consultant Today. We'll share Tank's strategies for more successful emailing.

Choose recipients with care. In marketing, think about the term "segmenting," which means dividing customers into smaller groups based on characteristics such as age, income, personality traits or behavior. By segmenting, you can tailor and optimize the content you send. Tank says many companies rely on segmenting to increase the likelihood that their emails will be read and acted upon. If you're sending an email, first decide who absolutely must receive that email. If you email someone with an irrelevant message, you run the risk of losing credibility and potentially tarnishing the relationship.

Be strategic about your call to action (CTA). What do you want the reader to do? Would you like them to shop now, learn more, sign up? While the CTA is often a button, Tank says it doesn't have to be but it must be concise, attention-grabbing and easy to understand. To make your CTAs pop, Tank advises separating them from the body of the text and playing around with bold text and colors. If you have several action items, separate them with bullet points. He also recommends limiting your action items to two per email.

Be brief, but personal, in the body of the email. The adult attention span is eight seconds. After that, most people tend to lose focus. That means you only have eight seconds to get your point across. Tank says you better make it brief. In fact, experts recommend limiting your emails to 150 words or less. If you can't adhere to that word limit, consider breaking your message down into separate emails. It's also important to make a human connection at some point, notes Tank. Nobody wants to read a message that sounds like it was written by a robot. So, take a second to think about your audience and add a personal touch. That could say something like: "Hi Anne, Nice job on that demonstration last Friday. Regarding this week's budget meeting ..."

Don't ignore the subject line. Tank says it's important to craft a subject line that's so good they can't overlook your email. Research on email marketing has found that 50 percent of subscribers open an email based on the subject line alone. It's worth the extra effort to craft a compelling, informative and creative subject. One great piece of advice, borrowed from military communication practices, is to include action words that describe the nature of your message. For example:

SIGN — Vendor contract attached

INFO — Run-of-show for Friday's demo day (no response needed)

DECISION — Which designer do you prefer?

REQUEST — Approval for 2020 budget.

Emailing doesn't have to be stressful. Make it easy and effective by fine-tuning your email messages using the tips above.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Aytekin Tank is the founder and CEO of JotForm, the easiest online form builder. JotForm was ranked in the 2016 Entrepreneur 360 List, an annual ranking of the most entrepreneurial private companies in the U.S.

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