KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
The most important aspect of any email is knowing your audience. If your first email is a response, mirror the tone and layout of your correspondent. If they're writing Dear and Kindest Regards you know it’s formal hour and you should follow suit, but equally if you get a one liner without pleasantries, you're safe to do the same. This will make them feel comfortable, and you're more likely to get into an easy rapport. If you're first to serve, play it safe with an even balance between formal and light – but always keep it friendly.
STICK TO THE POINT
It's essential to remember what you're asking for, and to be concise. On your first email correspondence, keep it short and snappy and leave them wanting more. If there's a lot to cover, demonstrate how adept you are at relaying in three words what most people would use five for. In this economy, brevity and pace are essential, and quick, occasionally witty and concise emails are the way to any business person’s heart. Particularly if you're polite along the way.
MAKE IT MEMORABLE
Now this is where you get to distinguish yourself with a little flurry of originality, particularly if this is a ‘cold email’. Don’t be staid and ask if they're well or send your best wishes, or be typically English and comment on the weather. Wish them a lovely evening, a safe commute or anything else that fits the audience and tone, but also breaks up the monotony of their inbox. We all have flooded inboxes and anything you can do to distinguish yourself among the multitude, be it to a complete stranger or someone you know well, is certain to get you noticed.
By Matthew Ede, head of consultancy at Logistik Group. For consultancy on all aspects of B2B and B2C communications, go to logistikgroup.com.