(this post is an update to my original post of September 2017)
While there are a plethora of ways we communicate with one another, the meetings industry communicates predominantly in email so as to keep a record of conversations and moving meetings business forward. Given the constant onslaught of emails to one’s inbox, a majority of emails tend to be ignored.
There are some ways, however, of crafting an email that will elicit a response from your intended audience; its a matter of how you position both yourself and the content of your email.
Here are some email writing tips for the meetings industry:
- Include a clear subject line – when working with a client on a particular program, its best to be clear about the intention of your email. The new inbound marketing rules say to be creative with subject lines to get them to open an email, but when its all about business at hand, a clear subject line and call to action will elicit a response faster.
- Do not ask “how are you” – asking about the well-being of the recipient is great for a phone call or back and forth text message exchange but in an email which can remain one-sided for several days, if not infinity, asking “how are you” is not a strong call to action.
- Do not ask “do you ever” – these words typically appear in the first email of solicitation of business, where the sender is asking if you “ever plan meetings in Atlanta”, or the like. Some research into their meeting or buying habits can help you answer this question beforehand, or turn this question into more specific.
- Do not say you’re “just following up” or “just checking in” – both these terms include 2 faux pas. For starters, as a meeting partner who would like to see themselves are a strategic part of the meetings process, you shouldn’t be “just” doing anything! Everything you do is with purpose. Secondly, both of these terms focus on the email sender, and not on the recipient. There could be a million reasons why they didn’t acknowledge the first email. As someone who truly listens to what your recipient needs, put the focus on them, versus on your own need for resolution.
- Do not say “I wanted to take the time to email” – see #3; again this is focusing on you, the email sender, and not on the recipient themselves. I’m so very glad you wanted to take the time, but I have zero time in the next 14 years to get back to you on an email that has no other strong call to action.
- Do not say “I am hoping to connect with you” – see #3 and #4
- Do not say “I’d love to….” – this again this focuses on you, and not on your recipient.
- Do not say “do not hesitate” – This goes without saying, so don’t say it. No one ever “hesitates” if they need more info; make the call to action more compelling than an “open door” policy.
- Do not say “let me know if you have questions or concerns” see #7
- Always include a call to action – any email without a call to action will leave your recipient wondering “what’s next?”. Never let your recipients wonder what’s next; let them know and take control of the situation (especially if no one has control at that point!)
- End email with a clear signature line – ensure your recipient knows how to get a hold of you for any questions; include phone number and organization name as the basics (its remarkable how many professionals in our industry still do not have these staples in their email signature, especially on forwards or replies.)
- Do not text instead of emailing – unless the recipient has given you their approval to text them about business versus sending an email, please refrain. Most people still use text for personal use (and this may change, you’ll have to ask the forward-thinking Gary Vee on this one), and keeping record of the conversation is not as easy with texts as it is with an email string.
There is a ton to learn about email sales and soliciting, but by employing the above email writing tips to your meetings industry colleagues, you will have positioned yourself as a valued member of the team.
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