E-mail is a wonderful way to reach a large number of people for little cost. But it won’t do you any good if it goes straight into the delete file.
The first step is to pass the “glance test” and to create a friendly feeling in the minds of your readers.
First pay attention to the “from” line: Make it clear that the message is from you. Use your name and/or your agency name, not just some address at gmail or yahoo.
Then consider the subject line: Make it interesting, but true, and make it relevant to your message.
Consider your own reactions. When the subject line is clearly an attention- getter to make you look at the message…and has nothing to do with the message… doesn’t it make you cranky? It does me!
Take a little information out of your message and turn it into a hook to draw your reader in. If you’re telling about a new listing, say so, and include the address. The people who are looking for a home will read it, but the ones who are hoping for an offer on their short sale probably won’t. That’s OK, because they’re not your target audience.
If you have interesting news about a political or social development, don’t say “news.” Say something specific like “HR 345 passed! Here’s how it affects you.” You have about 40 spaces, so use them!
Every day my mail… and probably yours… is filled with e-mail from people who are trying to trick us into reading their messages. I get mad. That means that even if I wanted what they offered I’d ignore them.
Now pass the second “glance test.”
What about the look of the copy? How many times have you started to read an e-mail message and stopped because it was too much work?
A long block of copy might work in a book or a magazine article, but on the screen it’s difficult to keep your eyes on the right line when there are too many lines.
Copywriters call it a “gray wall” and it is a wall. It’s a wall between you and your intended readers, because many people simply won’t bother to try.
The answer is to use short paragraphs with blank lines between them. Break it up, make it easy to scan, and use bullets and sub-heads to draw your readers to the most important points. If you want your message read and understood, present it in bite size pieces.
The bottom line is that you need to do everything possible to create trust in your reader, and to make it easy for him or her to read and comprehend your message.
One of the easiest ways to accomplish that is to put yourself in the reader’s place… If you got that e-mail would you read it or delete it? If you’re not sure, ask a friend to read it before you send it.