Email Message Writing Tips: Writing Effective Email Communication

Want to mark your e-mail promotional message as an amateur effort -- or worse, as spam? Here are steps you can take to avoid this blemish on your professional image.

Want to mark your e-mail promotional message as an amateur effort — or worse, as spam? Then be sure to send it out chock full of spelling and grammatical errors, and vague and confusing statements. That’s one of the best ways to make sure your marketing message heads right to the trash bin!

Take the time to edit your e-mail message or ad before you send it out. Don’t just skim over it. Make yourself read every word — and not just once. Go over it two or three times to check for problems. If you’re not a good writer, have the message checked over by someone who is — a partner, co-worker, friend or spouse.

One good practice is to set the message aside and take another look after it’s stopped “smoking.” If you wait a day or two — or even just an hour or two, if that’s all you have — you’ll be able to get a little distance from it and look at it more objectively. Another trick: Try reading your message backwards! This will force you to look at every word.

Here are some common problems to look out for:

– Misspelled words — It’s a good idea to spell-check a document, but it’s not enough. A spell checker won’t catch every error.

– Wrong word used — This is why a spell checker isn’t enough. A spell checker will only flag words it doesn’t recognize. It can’t tell if a legitimate word is used incorrectly. Some words commonly confused: accept, except; your, you’re; then, than; there, their, they’re; cite, site, sight; lay, lie; loose, loosen, lose. Also, look out for a missing “r” in the word “your.” It’s easy to overlook a sentence such as “Visit our Web site now to receive you free copy.”

– Grammar error — Again, if you know you’re not a good writer, have someone else check your writing for grammatical errors. Mistakes make you look bad.

– Punctuation error — This is another area where you’ll benefit from a review by someone who knows their stuff. If you’re determined to do it yourself, purchase a good grammar or style book. One of the most common punctuation problems: Too many stupid commas!

– Vague or confusing statement — Make sure every sentence is crystal-clear. You don’t want your promotional message to raise more questions than it answers.

– Illogical statement — Read over what you have written slowly. At the end of each paragraph, ask yourself: “Did that make sense?” Rewrite so that it does.

If you’re convinced that you just can’t provide well-written marketing copy on your own, it’s best to hire a copywriter. It’s worth it to pay the writer’s fee if that person can make you look good — and help you get a better response from your marketing message.

Al Bredenberg is senior consultant for Enterprise Interactive [].

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