10 Ways to Make Your Email More Personal

Canned Emails I hate canned emails.

In fact, I appreciate spelling errors in email because I know it was hand-typed from an account manager who actually took the time to read about my company. That means a lot in a sea of email proposals from marketing companies, online resellers, ingredient suppliers, etc. They're all so boring.

Don't hop aboard the boring train. It's already packed.

Be different. Be personal. I handle four different email accounts. One for contracting, one personal email, and two business emails. So, yes, I do get a lot of emails. But, I try my best to make them as personal as possible. I wanted to share a few strategies with you:

1. Get to the value

Don't BS your email recipient. Get to the point. Why are you emailing them? What value do you have to offer? Always thinking about the question "What's in it for me" from your recipient's perspective.

2. Tell people you're going to bed

When I'm emailing people past 9pm (which happens a lot), I'll sign-off by saying "I'm headed to bed - enjoy the rest of your night". And I'll get a response almost every time. It shows I don't stay up all hours of the night. Plus, if they respond, it tells them they won't get a response until the following day.

3. Write how you talk

You've probably seen this one on other blogs if you do any writing for the web. That's because it works! Writing how you talk makes it easier to write personal emails because you're thinking and typing at the same time. No big words, long paragraphs, or unclear arguments.

4. Forget hello. Go with "hi" or "hey"

Hello is probably the worst greeting (it's in stiff competition with "To Whom it May Concern") in the world. It's stale. It's beyond corporate. And there's no reason to use it. Go with hi, hey, or my personal favorite, howdy.

5. Find commonality with your recipient

If you're looking for something from your recipient, find something in common. Maybe you went to the same high school. Maybe you both like to play golf on the weekends. The second you talk about something you have in common, the other person becomes more receptive - even over email. I like to throw commonalities on the PS in an email. It distracts from the main message of your email but still says "I'm not all business."

6. Ask how they're doing - no one cares about you

If you send an email full of me's, I's, and we's, you're not going to get a response. Period. Turn it around and see how they're business is doing, how you can help them, the benefit they get. Simply replacing we/me sentences with you will radically change the tone of your emails.

7. If you can, find their name

I hate when I send an email to someone and I don't have their name. Writing "Hi _____" kills me.  I scramble to find their name if it isn't already in their email. For example, last week I found someone's name on a random golf tournament website. Thank you, Google.

8. Reference their businesses Facebook page

I like pulling stories from the business Facebook page - a specific update. And since I talk with tons of food companies, talking about a picture of a maple-glazed donut covered in bacon is pretty easy. But, if you're in B2B sales, talk about a news item on their website, find out if they've launched new products, etc.

9. Lend a hand - see how you can help them

If you're sending an introductory email, don't ask for anything. Simply open the door to see how you can help them get ahead. You could introduce them to someone you know, refer them to another local business, or even give them a dinner recommendation for a city they've never been to, but you love. It's all about paying it forward and giving before you get.

10. Keep it short

A few weeks back, I wrote a post on why I cut my emails off at 200 words. You don't want to read all that -- I don't either. Get to the point, show value, and ask how you can help - all in a couple hundred words. Your response rate will skyrocket.

There's plenty more tips to make your email personal. I'm sure you have some, too. Let me know what they are in the comments below. Happy Tuesday!