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the art of writing emails

August 8, 2012

fransiweinstein

I have a new WordPress blog — Three Hundred Sixty-Five (hope you’ll visit, by the way) and yesterday’s post — my first on that blog — was about how much I loved the email exchanges between the two main characters in the hot, hot, hot (referring to sales in this instance) erotic trilogy “Fifty Shades of Grey”, “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed”.

Yes, I know.

Of all the conversations going on, all over the world, about E.L. James’ novels you’ve never heard anyone talking about the emails before.  And that’s fine with me.  I think there’s a good point to be made about what makes for an effective email.  And, besides, there’s more than enough people already discussing the innocent virgin, Anastasia Steele … the handsome billionaire, Christian Grey who, when he’s not making money, likes to blindfold, gag, handcuff and dominate beautiful brunettes … his red room of pain … floggers … riding crops …  and virtually non-stop sex.

So emails it is.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  And if you’re not one of the 40 million people who’ve read the books so far, see if you can borrow them — just so you’ll know what I’m talking about:

With only a couple of exceptions the Fifty Shades emails are very short.  Some are more serious than others, but they are simple, frank (and I don’t mean sexually explicit), witty, charming and very engaging.  Qualities I rarely see in emails I receive — from friends and family, companies I do business with, and those who are trying to entice me to do business with them.  Most of them are deadly, deadly dull.  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

The subject lines in these three books do exactly what they’re supposed to do — grab your attention and draw you in to the email itself.  Not that I’m suggesting that your next email have ‘panting’ in the subject line — unless, of course, you’re writing your lover or selling asthma puffers.  And then I bet you’d get a great click-through rate.  But in all seriousness, direct marketers totally understand the importance of subject lines because their mission is the same as the envelope teaser:  Get the recipient intrigued enough to either open the email or the envelope so they can see your message.  And offer if you’re writing a business email.

And what can I say about the signatures?  Again, so charming and clever.  Great for personal emails.  But I do suggest you be judicious with email campaigns you’re creating for clients — not that you can’t try to see if there’s something appropriate you can do to humanize your signatures — just be circumspect.

Among all the other work I do for clients, I do often write email campaigns, and I’m happy to say they’re quite successful.  But since reading Fifty Shades I must admit that I am looking at them differently; and I’m definitely trying to have more fun with my personal emails.  So what do you think?

Is it time for all of us to ‘spice’ up our emails?  No sexual innuendos required, by the way.

6 Comments

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  1. 최다해 gongjumonica #
    August 9, 2012

    Oh, I like the email exchange in Fifty Shades trilogy, too! I adore those creative subject lines and signatures :)

    • fransiweinstein #
      August 9, 2012

      Hey, that’s great that you like them too.

  2. November 20, 2012

    I love emails with awesome subject lines! I blogged a couple of weeks ago about the subject lines in emails to and from my best friend =D http://adifferentdaylight.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/mad-legs-six-months-of-subject-lines/

    • fransiweinstein #
      November 20, 2012

      Yep. Intriguing, interesting subject lines get you to read the email. They just always need to respect the brand, if it’s a business email you’re writing. You have leeway with emails to and from friends that you just don’t have in business. But they can still be compelling.

      • November 20, 2012

        One of my favourite brands for compelling subject lines is Mr Hyde (http://www.mrhyde.com/) – it’s aimed at men in their mid-20s, and the copy is among the best in class for their demographic, I think.

        One of my favourite subject lines from them:

        Six woollen ties to improve your life* (*shirt)

      • fransiweinstein #
        November 20, 2012

        I’m not familiar with them. Thanks for the link. I’ll check it out.

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