You can’t see your email list, so there’s little way to tell if their eyes glaze over when they see your email address. What you can tell is this. The click through rate on your emails is as sluggish as the Zombies in The Walking Dead. Let’s face it. Boring emails don’t engage anyone. Fortunately, there are ways to resurrect your dull and boring emails. It’s a matter of learning how to focus.

Focus on your reader.

Kissmetrics shares an interesting statistic. “We humans spend 60% of our time talking about ourselves. The number increases to 80% on social media.”[1] It’s natural to do this in emails as well. However, much we may love talking about ourselves, those around us get tired of it. They want to join the conversation. They want to talk about themselves.

If your emails aren’t about what matters to your readers, the boredom rating shoots upward. They just don’t want to hear about you. They want to know what’s in it for them. So start there. Every email you write should have something in it that’s going to provide value to your reader.

Avoid sounding like a telemarketer. Don’t ‘script’ your emails. Write as though you’ve enjoyed a cup of joe together, while your reader opened up about the things that really mattered in his or her world. Your email is your response to that person.

Focus on simple.

Stop trying to crowd so much information into each email. Focus on one thing. As Henneke writes on copyblogger.com, “There’s nothing more boring than a story that goes in twenty different directions. Each article should have only one big idea. Each argument, each story, and each example should support it.”[2]

Straight RoadSo your conversation over coffee brought up a lot of things to write about. Take each point one email at a time.

Also focus on keeping your sentences under 15 words (some sources say 10). Longer is harder to follow, even if you’ve taken a degree in English. The longer a sentence is the more carefully it must be crafted. If shorter feels choppy, focus on using connector words—however, thus, so, as a result, etc. These short phrases and words smooth the flow of shorter sentences.

Simple applies to the words you choose. Why say exit a room when you can say leave? Veterans may relate to exit; however, everyone knows what leaving a room means.

If your readers need to grab a dictionary to understand you, you’ll lose them. As Henneke says, “Just help your readers solve their problems.” [2]

Focus on conversational.

Throw out those rules your high school English teacher drilled into you.

  • ‘One’ does not want this. ‘I’ do not want this. ‘You’ want this.
  • Sentence fragments can add impact, so use them.
  • Contractions erase formality.
  • Use nouns and adjectives as verbs. If Shakespeare became famous for doing it, why shouldn’t you copy him occasionally?

Focus on concise.

Hemingway had it right. Eliminate adverbs and adjectives unless their use is essential to meaning. Trim vigorously. If the meaning remains the same without it, cut. But as you scale things down, make sure each sentence leads readers into the next.

While you’re striving for a compact, powerful message, look for common factors that transform boring reading into fun.

  • Bullet lists.
  • Use the Flesch reading scale. If you’re over 6th grade, look at sentence length and word choices.
  • Choose verbs that show action.
  • Find verbs that eliminate the need for verb-adverb combinations.
  • Use words with emotional trigger value.

Your can transform your emails from zombie specters. It takes longer to write, especially as you start out. However, if you add the component of passion for your topic, your customers may just start anticipating your emails, instead of rejoicing that Outlook misdirected them to the zombie file—junk mail.


How To Make Love Not Spam

[1] https://blog.kissmetrics.com/stop-boring-your-subscribers/

[2] http://www.copyblogger.com/boring-writing/