Tips for Writing the Body of Email - Business Email Secrets

Jason Nazar, co-founder and CEO of Docstoc (http://www.docstoc.com/) helps you compose great emails. Use these suggestions to create a message that will draw in the recipient, and compel them to respond.

  1. Begin your message by complementing the recipient
  2. Structure your message as an outline rather than in paragraphs
  3. Write concise emails, trying to stick to a 3-sentence maximum
  4. Be very selective with your use of bold & italics
  5. Include as much content below the signature as possible

We’re talking about how to be successful with business e-mails and now, on to the actual subject, the body of that e-mail. And again, the used case that we’re talking about here is reaching out to someone that you’re talking to for the first time or maybe have had a little bit of correspondence with and you’re trying to get build awareness, get an action or get a response.

The first thing that you always want to do is start off e-mails, talking about that person and complimenting them or flattering them in any way possible. We all are subject to wanting to hear about ourselves and how great we are. And so, if you start off an e-mail and you reference a blog post that somebody wrote about or something they accomplished or something that you thought that they did was very cool and you just keep it short into the point and sincere, you’ll instantly going to get their attention, you’ve almost guaranteed that they’re going to read that next section of your e-mail a 100%.

The second thing is I like to write e-mails and outlines, not paragraphs. So, especially anytime I have to include a little bit more information in the e-mail, I create headers and then bullet points beneath those headers. And it’s typically just a much more consumable way for somebody to take in that information because if we see a long list of paragraphs, we tend to avoid it.

That also relates to what we talked about earlier, keep your e-mail short and I generally have a 3 sentence rule.

Anytime that I’m e-mailing somebody that I don’t know that well or that I’m trying to get an action for, I keep it as short as possible. My general rule of thumb is no more than three sentences. There’s an introductory sentence. There’s -- here’s what we need sentence. And there’s the conclusion sentence. The shorter the e-mail, the more likelihood that you’re going to get a response. Once you get a response from that person, then you can provide more detail, then you can provide more information because you know that you have their implicit permission that they want to hear back from you.

The fourth is the use of bold an italics to be careful (inaudible) in here. You do not want to send e-mails that have multiple words in bold and italics and long sentences. You want to maybe use this at most once in an e-mail to draw one really clear point. And especially, if you have to have a longer e-mail that requires two or three paragraphs, and there’s one key point, put that in bold so that the reader can immediately go to that and if need be, respond to that.

And finally, everything below the signature is fair game, so feel free to fill up that part with as much information as possible, most notably, your contact information. Put in your e-mail, your phone, your Twitter handle, your blog address. Feel free to put in PS, PPS. Keep putting little add-ons on. This is where you want to add in reference information that when somebody goes back to the e-mail later on, they can call at any point that they might need. Once the reader gets done going over the body of the e-mail, everything above the signature line, they’ll kind of mentally feel like they’re done so you can fill up everything after the signature line with reference information that they want to get to later.

If you make sure to follow those five rules, you’ll always be more successful in getting a response or a different action from the person that you e-mail.