- Personalize it – It’s 2014. We all have the ability to send emails to “Dear Elizabeth” rather than “Dear Colleague” so be sure to call people by name.
- Be a real person – Write like you would talk to someone, not like the first draft of a Business Communications 101 project.
- Avoid jargon and acronyms – This is hard in associations, but do your best and be sure to define any acronyms you do use.
- Short paragraphs – People scan emails, so you need to write in a scanable way, which means short sentences and paragraphs. Even better? Bullet points!
- Keep it short overall – This is not a scholarly treatise – or the last time you’ll ever speak to your reader. Keep your emails as short as possible while still conveying your message. Edit, edit, edit!
- Call to action – What do you want your readers to do? If the answer is “nothing,” you probably don’t need to send the email in the first place. Always have a call to action, and if it includes a link (and it should), make sure you include the link more than once in your message.
- TEST! Don’t just send it out – send a test run to a small group first to make sure everything’s showing up the way you think it should. Problems happen, and it’s WAY better to catch them in an email that went to five of your fellow staff members than when the message has gone to hundreds – or thousands – of your members.
- Test it to more than just yourself, and more than just internal association email accounts (i.e., include a Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. account in your test group). It’s really hard to spot your own mistakes, and you want to make sure that your email is going to look OK and get through even for people who aren’t using Outlook.
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