Good Email Matters: Life is too Short to Write Bad Emails

by Joe Fuld (He/Him)

Good Emails

Good Email Matters:  Stop Writing Soul-Sucking Emails

Good email is life-changing, while a bad email is soul-sucking. All of you write emails and let’s face it, most of them are bad. Writing a good email takes more time but you will get better results and fell better in the process. So here are some tips on what to avoid - Because life is too short to write a bad email.

The subject line is the most important part of an email. The first sentence (the lead) and the call to action (CTA) are the next key elements. Together these components make the structure of a good email.

I confess - I like a good email. I think a good email has personality, tone, engagement, warmth, and feeling. But email has gotten a bad rap because most emails are shit. A bad email is life-sucking garbage that has nothing redeeming; no matter the goal, fundraising, advocacy, or member engagement - bad emails sucks the soul out of you. Reading a bad email makes me sad. But a good email can make you smile, laugh, and even cry. The best emails immediately convey tone and feeling.

Good email delivers connection in the subject line, the lead sentence, and the call to action.

I understand that writing a good email takes time, but it doesn’t have to be overdone and over rot. A simple clear subject line followed by a great opening sentence can make all the difference in your open rates and engagement.

Try things, test, and above all, have fun! If you’re having fun while writing an email, people know it. They feel it and understand it. When we are writing emails for The Campaign Workshop, we make sure they have personality. We get better engagement and open rates, and people enjoy reading emails when they possess character. 

Even the simplest email can be creative. 
Whether we are trying to inform folks of an event, talking about a podcast, or one of our weekly or monthly emails - the tone and creativity matter.

Here are our tips for good subject lines:
A good subject line gets a better open rate, will keep us out of the spam folders, and will get our clients and friends talking about how creative and good our work is. 

So where do you start? 
Think about your approach. What do you want to convey? Action, community, power, humor empathy?

  • Share value “Learn how to make change”
  • Ask a question “Want to increase member engagement?”
  • Tell a joke “How many advocates does it take to change a light bulb?”
  • Make an announcement “ December 8th -learn about the future of advocacy”

What is a bad email?
A bad email is self-serving, obnoxious, spammy slimy, or just plain boring 

Stay away from bad subject lines
An email with a bad subject line is never read or if it is, it will get ignored, trashed, or blocked. If it feels spammy, it probably is. Life is too short to not be creative and to not feel good about your work. You can tell the difference between a good writer and a bad one by the subject line, lead sentence, and call to action.

For subject lines never say:

  • Free
  • Download
  • Now
  • No percentages 
  • Or use all caps

I usually try and answer three questions before I write an email:

What is the topic?
I know this sounds simple but once you write out the topic, the email is much clearer.

Who is the audience?
Knowing who you are talking to allows you to create focus.

What is the subject line?
Write 3 subject lines. Picking from a few options allows you to refine, edit, and even test.

What is the lead sentence? 
A compound sentence that connects the subject line and topic with the call to action.

What is the call to action? 
Be clear about what you want folks to do. Make sure it anchors your email. Pro tip- include a simple link to your CTA in your lead, as well as at the end.

Have a process and stick to it.
Once you answer these questions you can write your email. Once you write your email you can edit it and chose the best subject line that works and refine it all.

Good emails matter 
I get that writing good emails may seem like a useless endeavor as most of what you get in your inbox just sucks. So why be different? Because if you are this far into reading this blog post, you care about good writing and good creativity - so do it! Once you truly start writing good emails you will never go back. Your open rates and engagement will increase, while simultaneously seeing a decrease in opt-outs - and best of all, your day and the day of whoever reads your email will be just a little bit brighter.

Have a question about how to write a good email? click the link -