Tag Archives: email writing tips

6 Tips on How to Proofread Emails

Email has become a common form of communication in both our business and personal lives. Technology has made sending an email as easy as picking up your smartphone, meaning you can send messages anywhere, anytime. But before you hammer out a quick response or reach out to a client, it is essential to proofread what you have written.

A seemingly small mistake can make a big difference. Dropping, adding, or changing one letter can create a completely different word and change the meaning of your sentence. Getting a time or place wrong can mean the recipient misses out on a meeting or event. And spelling someone’s name incorrectly can convey carelessness and lack of attention to detail. Taking a few minutes to proofread your emails before hitting send can keep you from making silly mistakes.

  1. Use Spell Check and Grammar Check Tools. Many email and word processing programs have proofreading software built in. You can also use an external program to check for errors. While these tools are not foolproof and do not catch 100% of mistakes (especially if everything is spelled correctly but you use the wrong word), they can be a great place to start.
  2. Read It Aloud. Read back what you wrote out loud and listen for any mistakes, missing words, or confusing sentences. Make sure that the tone is appropriate, and you are not coming off as stuffy or hostile. At the same time, you don’t want your message to be too informal either.
  3. Wait Before Sending. Don’t immediately hit send once you are done writing. Take a break and come back with fresh eyes. Work on a different task for a few minutes to change your train of thought, then come back and reread the email to catch any confusing or unclear phrases.
  4. Double-Check Important Details. Review any names, dates, times, locations, or other essential detail to verify that they are correct. Don’t rely on just your memory. If you are sending an attachment, make sure that not only is it included, but it is the correct file.
  5. Keep It Simple. No one wants to waste time reading an excessively long email or trying to decipher your message. Keep things short and simple. Avoid using fancy words or technical jargon for the sake of sounding more impressive. Use language the reader will easily understand and cut unnecessary words or sentences that don’t add value.
  6. Ask for Help. When it comes to important emails, have another person read them before you hit send. You know what you are trying to say, so it can be easy to overlook mistakes or assume the meaning is clear. Asking someone else to proof your message can provide a different perspective and catch errors you may have missed.

Don’t let your message get overshadowed by confusing wording or spelling/grammar mistakes. Make sure you have a polished, professional email that effectively conveys important information. Reach out to Grammar Chic for proofreading help and feel confident pressing send. Connect with us at www.grammarchic.net or by calling (803) 831-7444.

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Email Inbox Overloaded: How to Apologize for a Delayed Response

Most of us know what it’s like to experience email overload. As your inbox becomes more and more crowded, and your life more and more stressful, it’s all too easy to delay your email responses. You may find yourself putting off that much-needed reply email for a couple of days, a couple of weeks… perhaps even upwards of a month.

When you finally do get around to writing that response, it’s normal to feel a little guilt over the delay. And whether it’s a professional correspondence or something more personal, it’s probably not the worst idea to acknowledge your faux pas with a word of apology.

But is simply saying “I’m sorry this took so long” sufficient? Depending on how important the subject matter, and how long the delay, you may feel compelled to go a bit further. We’ve got you covered. Here are a few tips on writing an effective apology for a delayed email response.

You Don’t Always Have to Apologize

First, we’d recommend pausing to consider whether an apology is really needed at all.

We’re all busy, and if it takes you a couple of days to respond to something that is clearly non-urgent, you can probably just assume that the person you’re emailing with gets it and doesn’t begrudge you the slight lag time. In these situations, there’s really no need to make things awkward, or to make your response more cumbersome, with a token apology. Just get straight to the substance of your email.

Try to Be Helpful

What if somebody asks you for something specific, and it takes you a little bit too long to acknowledge their request? In these situations, we would typically recommend owning up to the delay and also doubling up on your efforts to be helpful.

For example, let’s say someone asks you for a specific report, and it takes a little time to get back to them. You might try a response like this:

I’m sorry for the delayed response. It took me some time to find the report, and I wanted to also offer some supplemental information that you might find to be useful. The documents are all attached here.

If you’d like to schedule a few minutes to discuss this information together, I’d love to help however I can. Please just let me know if we can schedule a phone call, or if I can assist in some other way.

What we love about a response like this is that it owns up to the delay, but also makes it clear that you are not trying to be indifferent or unhelpful; if anything, the opposite is true.

Don’t Procrastinate on Delivering Bad News

Sometimes, you may find yourself in the tough position of telling someone that they didn’t get a job, or that you’re not moving forward with their proposed project. It’s always good to send these unhappy tidings sooner rather than later… but if you do wind up with a delay, try a response like this:

I’m sorry for the slow response. I had hoped to get back to you much sooner. We really enjoyed discussing your proposal with you, and felt like you brought a lot of great ideas to the table. Unfortunately, at this time, we have decided not to move ahead with the project.

With that said, I really appreciate your time, and think you have a lot of value to offer. I would be happy to keep you in mind for future projects, and to refer you to other contacts whenever possible.

Again, there’s no point in drawing out your apology or offering a pile-up of excuses. Just fess up, then get to the heart of the matter.

Get Help with Business Writing

These are just a couple of examples of how you can address delayed email responses… but if you’d like to drill down deeper into this subject matter, we’re happy to chat. Contact Grammar Chic for help with business communications or editing: Visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444.

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Make Your Email Marketing a Summer Success


Here’s a phenomenon you may have noticed: During the grueling hot months of summer, you’re much more likely to get out-of-office auto-responders from the people you try to reach by e-mail. It’s not that everyone’s avoiding you. It’s just that everyone’s on vacation—or so it seems, sometimes. Certainly, the summer season is touch-and-go when it comes to emails, which may tempt you to pack in your email marketing campaign for the summer, perhaps revisiting the ol’ email list when September rolls around.

That’s not an illegitimate temptation, nor is it necessarily a wrong one: Certainly, there is an argument to be made for scaling back on your marketing emails during the summer months, if not disbanding them completely.

No matter how many marketing emails you send over the next couple of months, though—just one or a baker’s dozen—we encourage you to implement some simple tweaks to your strategy, which can make those emails much more enticing to your recipients—and thus, likely to get opened and acted upon.

Get Your Marketing Emails Ready for Summer

Keep those subject lines succinct. A lot of your readers may be getting those emails while they’re waiting in line for movie tickets, a plane ride, or a trip down a roller coaster. They don’t have time for epic-length headings. Shoot for subject lines between 30 and 50 characters—never any more.

Cozy up to emojis! Summer time is fun time, right? There’s no better season to adorn your subject lines and your email messages with a few tasteful smiley faces or other festive icons. Don’t go overboard, and don’t sacrifice actual words for emojis, but do feel free to use them as they fit.

Resist the temptation toward click bait. Drop two swimsuit sizes in a week’s time may seem like a tempting promise, and if your product can actually deliver it, then good for you! Don’t fall into the trap of making cheap promises that you know you can’t keep, though, nor of writing subject headings that aren’t actually relevant to your content. You may get click-throughs, but you’ll also get a lot of annoyed customers.

Don’t let your emails fall into the junk pile. Nobody has a lot of time to sort through their junk folder, so avoid letting your emails end up there. Cut down on spam triggers, as we talked about in this previous post.

Need some further assistance getting your marketing emails summer-ready? We can help you strategize, write, format, and send. Reach out to Grammar Chic today at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.


Filed under Business Writing, Email Writing, Writing

Three Ways to Keep Your Marketing E-mails Short


Let’s start this one with a hypothetical. Imagine it’s a Tuesday morning, around 11:45. You’re in your office, just preparing to head to the car to go meet a client for lunch. As you walk out the door you flip to your phone to check your e-mail. You have a couple of new messages, and both of them are for e-mail lists you’ve signed up for. We’ll call them the e-mail lists for Company A and Company B.

Company A has sent you an exhaustive missive that details everything about their new line of products—eight products in total, with a full paragraph of information on each one of them. The full e-mail is more than 700 words!

Company B has sent you a quick reminder to call them if you have any needs they can meet. Their e-mail is exactly three sentences long, including a call to action. It totals 35 words.

Our questions for you are two. The first question: How likely are you, really, to read the e-mail from Company A? One glance at that litany of text and you’re probably going to swipe it into your trashcan. It’s not that you’re uninterested per se—but really, who has the time?

Our second question: Don’t you think it’s pretty likely that you will read the e-mail from Company B, at least if the headline is compelling enough for you to open it in the first place? Reading 35 words takes only slightly more time than it does to delete the message; why not give it a cursory scan?

And that’s the point here: E-mail marketing tends to be the most significant and successful form of content marketing, yet it’s the e-mails that are short and sweet that get the best results. And that brings us to the topic du jour: How do you ensure that your marketing e-mails are as brief, as lean, and as focused as possible?

We have three quick tips for you:

  1. Treat your e-mail like a landing page. A landing page is a piece of Web content that’s designed to do one thing and one thing only—to convert customers and get them to take a specific action, whether it’s to sign up for an e-mail list, buy a specific product, or download an e-Book. A landing page is focused on just one topic and getting the reader to take just one action, and as such a landing page is always going to be extremely direct and uncluttered. Use the landing page mentality as a guide for your marketing e-mails.
  2. Let images do the talking. A picture’s worth… well, you know. Images can make great marketing e-mail fodder; a quick piece of graphic text can be more attention-grabbing than a full written paragraph, and using an image forces you to keep things brief.
  3. Here’s an e-mail marketing strategy that tends to work well: Provide the first three or four sentences of a really great new company blog post, as a kind of a teaser, and then redirect readers to the blog itself for more information—“Click here to read the rest.” Not only does this drive traffic to your blog, but it also helps ensure your e-mail message is short and snappy.

E-mail marketing works—especially when it gets to the point. For assistance with any of this, contact the Grammar Chic, Inc. team at your convenience! Call 803-831-7444, or visit www.grammarchic.net.


Filed under Email Writing

How to Write Wow-Worthy Headlines


With so many e-mails flooding our inboxes each day, it takes something special to get a busy person to click on your communication. Some marketers get so sidetracked by writing the perfect body text that they forget about how important the subject line of an e-mail is. You can write the most compelling and fascinating content in the world, but if your subject line is “blah” then you won’t get clicks. When you’re crafting your next e-mail—whether it’s to your team or to a customer—keep these tips in mind:

Make it informative

You want to make it easy for your readers to know what they’ll get by opening your e-mail. You also want to make it easy for them to go back into their stuffed inboxes and find your e-mail later on should they need to reread the information. No matter what kind of e-mail you’re creating, a descriptive subject line is important. Instead of just titling the e-mail “Discounts,” you should shift that to “30 percent off this weekend!” Though it technically conveys the same message, option 2 is far more eye-catching than option 1.

Explain exactly what needs to happen

In a pinch, your reader should be able to scan the e-mail’s subject line and understand what needs to happen without even reading the body of your e-mail. While you want people to read the whole e-mail, the subject line must give a snapshot of what’s to come in the rest of the text. Consider adding a call-to-action in your e-mail in order to quickly grab a person’s attention and encourage them to follow your instructions.

Don’t abuse the privileges

Though tools such as the “Urgent” marker can make communicating via e-mail easier, it’s possible to become The Boy Who Cried Wolf. If you mark every single e-mail that you send as “Urgent,” then this label will lose its potency. Only use this marker when it’s absolutely necessary, otherwise it’ll quickly stop being effective.

Understand the lingo

There are a few abbreviations that you should learn in order to communicate via e-mail more effectively. One such abbreviation is NRN, or “No Reply Needed.” Use this when you need to get a message across, but don’t require every single person who is looped in to reply. For example: “Running 15 minutes late. NRN.” Instead of having 30 people reply all saying, “Okay,” the message is received and the thread is over. Another important piece of lingo to know is EOM. Instead of forcing the reader to keep scrolling and scrolling, wondering if they’re missing anything, make it easy for them to know when they can move on to the next thing. For example: “The meeting has been moved to 4pm. EOM.”

Regardless of whether you’re trying to make contact with clients or are hoping to communicate clearly with your team, knowing the fine art of crafting a catchy subject line is an important step.

The team at Grammar Chic specializes in a variety of professional writing and editing services. For more information about how we can help you, visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444. We also invite you to follow us on Twitter @GrammarChicInc for the latest in writing and editing tips and to give a “like” to our Facebook page. Text GRAMMARCHIC to 22828 for a special offer.

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Filed under Content Writing, Email Writing

How to Write Attention-Grabbing Email Subject Lines

It seems as though email marketing has taken the place of antiquated direct mail advertising practices. And while email marketing is certainly more cost effective than its postage consuming precursor, the mere fact that the majority of businesses now engage in this practice means that consumers are feeling overloaded by crowded email in-boxes.  At the same time, studies show that email marketing does work, at least when it is sent to a targeted audience interested in what you might have to say.

A recent report compiled by Monetate (to whom I will expressly thank for the below graphic) shows that effective email marketing has the ability to convert a lead better than social media platforms and SEO combined.  In my opinion, that is incredibly powerful!  Take a look at the findings:


Experts agree that the best online marketing strategy encompasses a good combination of all three platforms (just in case you were about to scrap your social media and SEO efforts in favor of email marketing alone).  However, in order to get the most out of your email marketing strategy, you have to think about more than just what you are writing in the body of the message.

At Grammar Chic, Inc., we have countless customers who approach us for help crafting the best and most direct email marketing message.  And it’s true, what you say in the message itself does count.  But what about that first line of copy that captures the attention of the reader?  No, I’m not talking about the email introduction or the headline that a person sees when the email is open; I’m talking about the email subject line.

Improve the Open Rate of Your Marketing Emails and Clinch New Sales

This can indeed seem like a daunting task.  After all, you only have a line of text available to get someone’s attention.  If you feel overwhelmed by this fact, read on to learn about some great email subject lines that will guarantee your targeted audience opens your email.

1.)  Subjects that Offer Contrary Advice

This particular subject line works really well if the audience happens to encompass members of the business community.  Ultimately, the use of a contrarian title makes a reader begin to think about what you actually mean and they end up opening your email specifically to find out if they guessed what you were talking about.

Example: Your Clients Have No Idea What They Want:  Effective Research Shows Correct Market Trends and Foregoes Collecting Customer Opinions

2.)  A Creative Thought that Doesn’t Really Fit Together

In a sense, this could involve the use of sarcasm.  When used correctly, this style of writing can be humorous, invoke curiosity and inspire action.  But remember, if you use it in the subject line, the body of the text has to back it up.

Example: Accomplish All Your Dreams without Leaving Your House

3.)  Say Something Controversial

Ultimately, controversy will always be an effective marketing tool.  This is why the National Enquirer and other celebrity tabloids will always fly off the shelves.  A reader always wants to learn a secret or be privy to salacious information.  As an email marketer, you can use this desire to sell your product or service.

Example: What Facebook Doesn’t Want You to Know About Paid Ads

4.)  Shock and Awe

Shock will always be one of the most intense emotions a human can experience, for better or worse.  Shocking information sells and, just like the breaking news ticker that scrolls along the bottom of the TV screen, this type of subject line should be timely.  After all, how many times have you paused what you are doing specifically to check out what a shocking headline was about, either on TV or the Internet?  The same can be said about email.

Example: Warren Buffett Explains Why Your Business Is Going to Get Crushed in 2013

5.)  Reference the World of Pop Culture

As much as many of us may hate to admit it, there is a reason why people like the Kardashians and Lindsay Lohan attract our attention.  While it may be a form of mediocre entertainment, most people have a hard time turning their attention away from pop culture references.  This is because, for good or bad, pop culture icons satisfy our curiosity as well as allow us to feel good about our choices (because of their bad ones).  A pop culture reference in an email subject line can be pure gold.

Example: What Not to Do:  Kim Kardashian’s Guide to Bad Business

In closing, there are some rules to follow when writing email subject lines.

  • Make it useful; promise valuable information to the reader.
  • Ensure that there is a sense of urgency; it must inspire the reader to open the email right now.
  • Create a unique message; ensure the email is something that is compelling and creative.
  • Provide specifics; always make sure that the message shows how the reader will benefit from the information.

Remember, your targeted audience is not simply standing by, waiting to hear from you.  When you do happen to have an email in their in-box, you have to give them a reason to open your message and read what you have to say.  Therefore, be strategic about how you reel them in.  If you are looking for help crafting the ideal email subject line in addition to penning your message, contact the team at Grammar Chic, Inc. today.  Visit us at grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444 and learn about how we can help you improve your email marketing efforts!


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Filed under Email Writing