How many times have you ask yourself “Why doesn’t she get back to me?” I mean, seriously, how long does it take for someone to reply to an email. It only takes a few minutes but why does it take so long. Getting someone to do something is hard, it’s even harder when you’re asking your customers (a.k.a. the board members) via email. The importance of writing a good email cannot be overemphasized. Things need to get done and your emails to your residents need to be good. Period.
Formalities aside, a good email is a simple one. Easy enough to be understood by a 5th grader (i.e., 10 year old). Here’s a good example, why use 5th grader when you can clearly choose to use “10 year old.” In other words, why make the reader think?
To master the art of effective email writing, property managers can borrow from the lowliest form of communication: direct mail copywriting.
Direct mail copy is, well, direct. It’s persuasive, politely blunt, and makes it easy for recipients to respond. All those flyers and letters that go from your mailbox straight into the recycling bin—they’re a goldmine of inspiration.
You simply transfer those direct mail attributes to your email writing, and bammo. Timely responses in your inbox. Here’s how:
Use short, simple language.
Write your emails for clarity to avoid confusion on the part of recipients. Be succinct. Clearly explain what you want using the fewest possible words. (Top tip: remove unnecessary qualifiers – words like “very”, “really”, “extremely” – that lessen the impact of your message. It’s better to use one powerful word than two or three mediocre ones.) Long blocks of text are subject to the “tl;dr” (too long; didn’t read) phenomenon. Instead, write short, to-the-point sentences. Use bullet points to break up long paragraphs that list things. Limit paragraphs to four or five lines so they’re easy to skim—you should see lots of white space in the email message field.
Focus on a single topic.
People have short attention spans. Don’t overload them with too much information crammed into one message. Each email you send to board members should include details only relevant to the specific point you’re trying to make. Resist the urge to add a “p.s.” or ask about other (unrelated) issues.
Be specific in the “Subject” line.
A good subject line lets recipients know what your email is about right away. Write subject lines using detailed language instead of vague phrases like “Questions for you” or “Ideas to consider” and instead use something like “Feedback needed: Agenda items for 2017 AGM.” (This also makes emails easier to find if you have to search your inbox for them later.)
Remember that size matters.
There’s a reason direct mail copy uses bold lettering, big headlines, and fine print. It guides the reader’s eye to the most important messages. For email, make sure your messages are readable on a mobile phone, where most people will open them. This means using precise language to keep copy as short as possible; using at least an 11-point font for body text and a 22-point font for headlines; and having a clear call to action in the subject line.
Have an obvious call to action.
Create a sense of urgency that encourages board members to act right away. Whether it’s a contract deadline, a maintenance issue, or an event they should attend, explain in 10 words or less exactly what action you want them take. Make sure to use “active voice” rather than “passive voice”.
- Hit “reply” and type “Yes” to RSVP today.
- Feedback due ASAP to meet next week’s deadline.
- Reply to accept this meeting time or suggest another.
Do you find that board members are responsive to your emails? How do you encourage timely responses? Share your stories in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!
Evercondo the leading web and mobile platform that facilitates quick, useful communication between property managers, the condo association or HOA board, and residents. Contact us for a demonstration or a free trial to see how we can keep your communities happy.