Greetings! Today kicks off your four-day mini course on email-writing for gift officers.
Email remains the most pervasive form of communication in the business world. Given the volume of email you send, what would it mean for you to master this ever-important tool?
Would it mean more visits with top prospects? Deeper relationships? Bigger gifts?
Those are all good things. So let’s get started.
3 keys to writing to busy, important people (aka All your top prospects)
Yes, cutting through the clutter can be a challenge. But email is still a tremendous opportunity.
Busy people get a lot of it, but they still reply to the best ones.
I’m going to give you three quick tips for writing messages that not only get read, but generate a response.
And then I’m going to give you a sample that uses these techniques. It’s one of my “go-to,” word-for-word templates. Copy it, paste it, tweak it – make it work for you.
Here we go.
1. Make it relevant
Make your emails as relevant as possible to your prospects. All they really want to know is Why me? or What does this person want from me?
So, make it about them! Answer those questions.
And do it early! If your prospect has to wade through paragraphs of introductory material you’ll probably lose them.
Your subject line, in particular, needs to be relevant. Don’t just put your organization’s name in the subject line! We’ll take a much deeper dive into subject lines in the next session.
Here are some other ideas for making your emails more relevant:
- Leverage a referral
- Mention a mutual acquaintance
- Applaud your prospect for an accomplishment
- Ask for advice related to her area of expertise
- Propose a partnership opportunity that will generate good PR for his business
2. Warm and friendly wins the day
In looking back over some emails I sent years ago, I noticed something strange: the bigger the prospect, the more I would use formal language. Whether consciously or unconsciously, I was trying to sound smarter for my top prospects. Forced and awkward is a better description.
What happens when we encounter this kind of language?
Defenses go up. We assume the person has something to hide and/or is trying to sell us something.
Forget about the academic writing you learned in school. As a gift officer, your goal is to connect with a person, not impress a professor. Write like a human being. Write the way you talk.
2. Make it easy
In addition to being easy to read and understand, you want your email to be easy to respond to. Best case scenario: Your busy, time-constrained donor is able to reply to your note with a simple “Sounds great” or “Sure, next Tuesday works for me.”
How do you get there?
- Focus. Don’t make your email about more than one thing. Don’t ask multiple questions. Figure out what you want and stay focused.
- Economize. Less is more if you're reaching out cold. Get to the point and avoid long paragraphs of introductory material. Length is only okay if you're writing about something that is highly relevant to your prospect.
- Do the heavy lifting—particularly with logistics. This means you’re the one suggesting meeting dates, times, and locations. Don’t make your prospect figure it all out. When working across time zones, convert everything into your recipient’s time. Don’t make him do the mental math.
Steal this email template
Here's my gift to you. The link below will take you to a sample email that incorporates all the principles I just outlined. It’s a template I use almost every day to set up meetings with new prospects – most of whom are incredibly busy.
Steal it! It’s yours to copy and paste.
Click on the icon to download
More freebies are on the way
There's more great stuff coming. You can't talk email communication without talking subject lines. We'll do this tomorrow and I'll share some of my favorites.
The internet’s not lacking in information about email subject lines. Most of it, however, is completely irrelevant to the type of email you send as a gift officer.
I’ll tell you which common rules of thumb could actually work against you.
And later in the week, you'll get more free templates. Stick around!