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8 Tips for Writing An Effective and Compelling Email

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8 Tips for Writing An Effective and Compelling Email


Have you ever had to hype yourself up to send an email? Because, same.

There’s something that feels monumental about sending an email that you don’t always get with other forms of communication. And if you’re a non-native English speaker, that task can seem even more daunting.

This article will provide some helpful tips to help you improve the overall quality of your emails, no matter your perspective. Once you’ve applied these simple strategies to your writing, you should be able to confidently send emails to anyone and get rid of that post-send anxiety.

Let’s get started.

1. Have a compelling subject line.

Subject lines can make or break your email’s success. It’s often the deciding factor on whether someone will open your email.

Unfortunately, a lot of people struggle with this part.

Take a look at this example:

subject line example

This particular subject line (real-life example by the way) is vague, indirect, and does not hint to me at all what the content of the email will be about.

The result? I might delete or ignore it altogether.

Here’s a better option:subject line example

It’s descriptive, specific, and tells me that this is an introduction.

Subject lines are especially important if you’re reaching out to someone for the first time. The recipient doesn’t know who you are, and can only judge you from your subject line.

Even if you’re sending emails internally at your company, it still pays to write a great subject line so your recipient has an idea of what to expect. Like any busy person, your teammates receive a ton of emails every day, and would certainly appreciate the extra effort of a descriptive subject line.

So, how do you write a good subject line?

Be clear, direct, and describe the content of your email. Don’t be afraid to take up the whole subject line. Here are some good examples of subject lines:

  • [Action Required] Monthly Marketing Meeting
  • FYI/Informational
  • Request for [Insert here]
  • [Reminder] Survey to Complete | Will Take 2 Minutes
  • [Name] suggested I reach out to you
  • I’m going to be in town next Tues – are you available?

If you’re sending a promotional email, avoid deceptive subject lines like:

  • RE:
  • FWD:
  • Urgent
  • Order confirmation
  • Account Status

There’s no need to resort to sneaky tricks or clickbait titles just to induce an open. They make recipients feel cheated and tricked, according to a 2019 Litmus survey. You’ll lose trust and may end up in their junk mail as a result.

You want to associate positive feelings with your email, not anger and disappointment.

2. Start with an appropriate greeting.

To kick off the email, you should begin with an appropriate greeting. There are two components to the greeting: the salutation and the opening sentence.

The appropriate salutation actually depends on the situation. If you’re writing a formal email to a bank or government institution, it would be better to start off with “Dear [X].”

If you’re sending an email to someone you know, or work in a casual environment, then it is perfectly fine to go with a “Hi [name]” or “Hello [Name].”

There’s also “To Whom It May Concern,” when you’re sending an email to a group email and not sure who will be reading it.

One thing you want to avoid is using gendered and non-inclusive terms like “Hi guys” and “Mr./Ms/Mrs.” in your salutation.

To help you out, here is a list of salutations you can open in your emails:

  • Dear [First Name]
  • [Name]
  • Good morning/afternoon
  • Hi team
  • Hey
  • Hi there

3. Have a strong attention grabber.

Once you’ve gotten the salutation out of the way, it’s time to start your email.

While the subject line determines whether your email is opened, your opening sentence determines whether your email is read till the end.

If it’s an introduction, you can open with something you know will interest your recipient. You can find this out through a little research on their social media profiles. Perhaps they Tweeted something interesting or recently posted something on LinkedIn you can reference.

This will help you build rapport and show that you’re not sending a generic email to multiple people.

how to write an email that builds rapport

Of course, this is not necessary if you’re emailing a colleague or someone you know, but it is still important to establish some kind of context so that they know what’s happening.

With a colleague, start with the “why.”

No one has the time (and patience) to guess what an email is about. The sooner you answer the “why,” the faster you’ll capture their attention.

Quick tip: If you’re sending out sales emails and need inspiration of exactly what to say, take a look at HubSpot’s free email templates. With this tool, you can access a library of built-in templates designed for each stage of the customer journey.

4. Keep your message short and concise.

According to Statista, we send and receive roughly 319 billion emails a day worldwide.

This statistic makes one thing very clear: We spend a lot of time reading emails. And because of this, many people simply scan emails to get the essence of the message and move on to the next.

With this in mind, you want to optimize your email for readability and scannability. This will look like:

  • Keeping paragraphs short.
  • Adding bullet points.
  • Using visuals to break up the text.

While you may feel like you need to tell them everything in one email, don’t.

No one is eagerly awaiting a three-page essay arriving in their inbox. Think about it this way: What’s the main takeaway from your email and is there a particular action you want your recipient to take?

From there, draft your email and when you re-read it, make sure every line you add is helping you meet this goal. If it’s not, remove it.

When you need to include a lot of information in an email, it’s probably better to suggest a phone call or a meeting instead. You can use this free meeting tool to schedule your meetings faster and avoid back-and-forth emails.

5. Be consistent with your font.

If I get an email like this, I’m immediately deleting or assuming it’s a scam.

how to write an email: be consistent with your font

Emails can be fun. You can add images, GIFs, and colors. However, there’s a way to do it that’s not too jarring or distracting.

This is an example of what not to do. There are several fonts used in the email, different font sizes along with different colors. As a result, the eye doesn’t know where to go and it’s a bit overwhelming.

Furthermore, the message gets lost, as your recipient is too distracted by all these elements fighting for their attention.

So, as a rule of thumb: Stick to one font. If you want to use a secondary one, use it sparingly. Follow the same rule for color.

If you’re using a non-English keyboard, your fonts may not show up properly on the other person’s device. Instead, use web-safe email fonts like:

  • Arial
  • Courier
  • Georgia
  • Helvetica
  • Lucida Sans
  • Tahoma
  • Times New Roman
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Verdana

In fact, this is the exact list Gmail gives:

how to write an email: step 5 use consistent font

This will ensure that your recipient will receive your message in a regular font, regardless of device or operating system.

6. Write a simple closing.

Once you’re done with the content of your email, it’s time to close it off.

You don’t have to make it fancy – just keep your closing simple and straightforward.

So, nothing like this:

example of bad email closer

Instead, stick to the safe, proven closing lines and you should be good.

You can choose from some of the most common closing lines below:

7. Schedule your emails.

One 2020 survey by Sleep Advisor found that around 54% of Americans check their work email immediately after or within an hour of waking up.

Another study by Litmus on the State of Email Engagement in the United States in 2021 supports this. It reveals that the most popular time for reading emails is in the morning. Open rates start around 6 a.m. but usually peak between 9 a.m. and noon local time.

Given this information, you can follow one of two strategies: Send your email in the morning when you know they’re scrolling or wait for a less busy time.

On one hand, your email runs the risk of being buried if you send it in the morning. However, if you wait for a later time, your email may never get opened.

It takes trial and error to figure out what works best when emailing with your team.

If you’re writing an email to someone in another state or country, you also have to factor in time zones. Noon for you may be 7 p.m. for someone else. As such, keep in mind who your recipient is and when they would be most receptive to your email.

Pro-tip: You can use our free email scheduling tool to ensure that your emails are sent at the right time.

8. Do a final spelling and grammar check.

You’re almost there – don’t mess up at the last stretch.

Imagine spending time crafting a perfect message, only to be ignored because the email riddled with spelling and grammar errors.

how to write an email: step 8 grammar check

Here’s how you avoid this: Once you finish drafting your email, copy and paste it into Microsoft Word or Google Docs to give it a quick grammar, phrasing, and spelling check.

Alternatively, you can also use free checkers like Grammarly to automate the process while you’re drafting.

how to write an email using grammar check grammarly

Image Source

In addition, read the message out loud to make sure the sentences aren’t too long, sound clunky, or robotic. You want your email copy to sound human.

All of these tips help the reader focus on your message, not the other elements of your email.

Email Writing Tips for International Teams

Most people won’t tell you this, but crafting a good email begins even before you put down a single word. It starts with your mindset.

When you’re in the correct frame of mind, you’ll be able to write effective emails that communicate and persuade.

Sounds logical … but how do you enter the “correct frame of mind”? Well, there are two ways: Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes and write the way you talk.

More on that below.

Imagine receiving the email you’re writing.

Have you ever received an email that it was so incoherent you couldn’t even finish reading it, let alone even consider replying? Or included a completely irrelevant proposition?

how to write an email

Image Source

Ahrefs is an SEO tool, yet they received an email from a fishing company.

One of the biggest problems when it comes to email writing is the lack of empathy for the recipient. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Why am I emailing this person?
  • Is this the right person to contact, considering what I’m trying to achieve?
  • Is my message clear and to the point?
  • Would this be better discussed in a meeting?
  • Does each line help or hurt my goal?

This is especially important when emailing someone new but still valuable when contacting a colleague.

Write like you talk.

If you’re not a native English speaker, it’s normal to feel like you should be more formal when it comes to your email writing.

However, this results in emails that are too formal, and come off as awkward or stiff. For example:

how to write an email for international teams

Native English speakers write more informally — their writing sounds like one person talking to another.

Here is a quick grammar tip that will always help you sound more native: Write in an active voice and avoid the passive voice.

An “active voice” shows that a subject is performing the verb’s action, e.g.: “Marilyn mailed the letter.”

In contrast, the “passive voice” shows that the verb is acted upon by the subject, e.g.: “The letter was mailed by Marilyn.”

Instead of writing “your feedback would be much appreciated”, try saying “I would appreciate your feedback.” Instead of writing “your request has been received”, try “I received your request.”

Notice how writing in an active voice sounds more human.

Writing an email shouldn’t be daunting. With these simple tips, you’ll make sure your email is effective every time.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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What It Is & How to Build an Effective One

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What It Is & How to Build an Effective One


In the business world, professionals are obsessed with tactics because they can help them meet their short-term goals. But if all you do is focus on the short-term, you won’t spend enough time or energy figuring out how you can succeed in the long-term.

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the second key persona for modern marketing operations leaders

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the second key persona for modern marketing operations leaders


This 4-part series presents a framework that helps rationalize the roles and responsibilities modern marketing operations leaders are taking on. This installment summarizes the framework briefly, and dives into how MOps leaders are now “orchestrators.” 

In case you missed it, part 1 is here.

Inspiration for this framework

Two years ago, marketing technology pioneer and chiefmartec.com editor Scott Brinker outlined the four key responsibilities of marketing technologists, summarized here.  

That work espoused the view that you could be both a marketer AND a technology leader. They are not mutually exclusive! It was my inspiration for this framework, explaining how today’s MOps leaders are instrumental for marketing and business success.

X-Axis:  A range of skills from a focus on technology to creativity and arts

Y-Axis: A range of decision-making skills, ranging from emotional to rational approaches

The resulting grid captures four MOps archetypes or “personas.” MOps leaders exhibit characteristics across all parts of this framework and will operate in multiple quadrants, similar to Brinker’s frameworks.

Modernizers – Are most likely to be the “original” technologists, constantly modernizing their martech stack.

Orchestrators – Are the closest to Brinker’s Maestros and the focus of this article. He described this archetype in 2020 as the “Operations Orchestrator — MAESTROS who design and manage the workflows, rules, reports, and tech stacks that run the marketing department.

Psychologists – Are now increasingly responsible for “reading customers’ minds,” i.e. interpreting customers’ interest through intent data and digital engagement.

Scientists – Are constantly testing and evaluating. Experimentation is their specialty.

Orchestrators: Leaders of the band

Now that you’re familiar with the framework, let’s dig deeper into the Orchestrators!

I’ll start with a personal story. My exposure to orchestration started with 8-straight years of practice in violin and trumpet during my formative years. Each week was literally a blur of private lessons, group lessons, orchestra and/or band practice. I probably spent as much time with music directors as I did with my family.  

It was painfully obvious to those conductors when we hadn’t prepared or practiced. Moreso, we would get – literally – an “earful” from the conductor when we were not listening to the other instrument sections. If we were not coordinating our efforts and timing, the outcome was awful for anyone listening.

Source: Unsplash

This orchestration metaphor is powerful because there are multiple levels for MOps leaders:

  • As a project management team within marketing, and often as a conductor across external agency partners.
  • As a cross-function business partner and primary contact for IT, compliance, and legal, in addition to the traditional MOps role of achieving marketing/sales alignment

Notably, all marketers have to be project managers for their own tasks/deadlines. They must be aligned with overall campaign and program timelines. 

However, as organizations scale they are more likely to have dedicated project management teams to handle coordination across the specialist teams within marketing. The orchestration responsibility may include timeline, scope, and capacity trade-offs even after campaign briefs have received approval. 


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The orchestration responsibility multiplies when agency execution teams are delivering on individual tactics and media buys. Last year, Optimizely described these evolving orchestration duties as a “transformative shift and approach towards how marketing synchronizes their teams, content, channels, workflows, and data!”

I believe the shift is even more impactful, with orchestration benefits being felt beyond marketing. The highest value “program orchestration” responsibilities occur when MOps leaders are representing marketing’s interests in enterprise-wide programs with other functions within the organization, including product, compliance, and IT. Examples of orchestration duties with these other key functions can include:

  • Product teams – Coordinating campaigns with major product feature/functionality launches, and managing brand standards.
  • Legal/Compliance – Overseeing compliance with Can-Spam, GDPR, and CCPA, and customer preference and data privacy initiatives that may be initiated by a marketing touch-point. 
  • IT/Procurement – Technology stack management, vendor evaluations and negotiations, platform integrations and data management.

All of this departmental and cross-departmental coordination requires skill sets that can be analogized as the difference between a chamber orchestra (marketing) and a full symphony. It’s the highest level of conducting across the enterprise. 

MOps leaders are holding individuals and teams to target timelines while managing the scope of a particular campaign and business initiative. They do this while also overseeing targeting of customer and prospect segments.

In order to accomplish this complex segmentation and coordination, MOps leaders are now responsible for cross-functional data – embodied by the modern martech stack imperative: integration. Integration across systems has been the #1 issue for marketers since the modern marketing tech stack started exploding in the early 2010’s, but software and solutions providers finally listened. A tipping point was reached in 2020. Marketers reported that we were finally working within an integrated, multi-system environment, according to a CDP Institute member survey analyzed here.  

Continuing with the orchestration analogy, the conductor is the integration “synchronizer,” deciding if/when the data flows across the stack. The sheet music is the data model standard showing how to map common attributes. 

However, just because we now have this more integrated environment does not mean our work is done. The instruments do not play themselves (yet!) and they require configuration and deliberate training to play effectively — both individually and in groups. 

Training was one of the top responsibilities for marketing ops leadership, ranking it in the top 5 of MOPS tasks by percentage of work, according to the 2022 MarTech Salary and Career Survey, published jointly by MarTech and chiefmartec.com (free, ungated download here). conducted by chiefmartec.

In the 2020 version of that same study, training was highlighted as one of the top two responsibilities for many of the primary marketing technologists personas, and 91% of operations orchestrators reported that training and supporting technologies were among their top priorities.

MOps leaders are never done

Finally, under the category of “MOps leaders are never done”, the last several years have also forced a whole new category of orchestration duties – a combination of conducting, training, and martech growth: marketing work management.

The largest growth (67%) over the last several years was in the category of “work management”, according to the 2022 edition of the Martech Landscape. Established entrants such as Adobe expanded with the acquisition of Workfront, while newer players like Trello and Monday gained traction.  

Although this was already a prevailing trend BEFORE the pandemic, the hybrid/remote work environment brought on by the last 2+ years forced these project management and agile-planning tools to the forefront.  The marketing work management category grew to over 1000+ tools, according to the State of Martech 2022

Source: State of MarTech 2022 – chiefmartec.com and Martech Tribe

MOps leaders are Maestros

In summary, modern MOps leaders are indeed Maestros. They are skilled orchestrators, conducting a symphony across multiple levels. They lead:

  • Omni-channel campaigns within marketing and across business functions
  • Integration across an ever-growing, integrated martech stack
  • Training and deployment as one of their primary responsibilities 

Editor’s note: In Part 3 of this 4-part series, Milt will expand on MOps leaders’ growing role as Psychologists. For background on this framework, see Part 1 of this series here


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Milt is currently Director of Customer Experience at MSI Data, an industry-leading cloud software company that focuses on the value and productivity that customers can drive from adopting MSI’s service management solutions.

With nearly 30 years of leadership experience, Milt has focused on aligning service, marketing, sales, and IT processes around the customer journey. Milt started his career with GE, and led cross-functional initiatives in field service, software deployment, marketing, and digital transformation.
Following his time at GE, Milt led marketing operations at Connecture and HSA Bank, and he has always enjoyed being labeled one of the early digital marketing technologists. He has a BS in Electrical Engineering from UW Madison, and an MBA from Kellogg School of Management.

In addition to his corporate leadership roles, Milt has been focused on contributing back to the marketing and regional community where he lives. He serves on multiple boards and is also an adjunct instructor for UW-Madison’s Digital Marketing Bootcamp. He also supports strategic clients through his advisory group, Mission MarTech LLC.



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How to Calculate Your Web Traffic to Increase Website Revenue

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You want to know how to calculate website traffic. That’s smart since your website’s value is both the traffic AND the revenue it can bring in.

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