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An often-underestimated but crucial part of your message. It must have a hook that makes reader curious enough to double-click on it. Virus - mongers have been intimately aware of, and adept at this technique for years. Nothing gets read until it's opened. If someone referred you to person receiving your e mail, include that name as "mutual friend" in title bar. If there is a benefit to be conveyed by your message, try to sum it up in a title that grabs reader's interest immediately.
By way of example-- 1) Bad Title: "Hello Potential Customer John X !"; 2) Good Title: "Website Traffic Booster Recommended by Mutual Friend Joe Y !"
2. [ I ] Introduction
In a paragraph consisting of no more than 3 sentences, start your message by clearly and succintly telling your reader who you are , and why you're writing. If you must "toot your own horn" here, do it very lightly. There is plenty of time later (in future communications) for reader to find out all about your background, qualifications, and inherently fine personal traits! Right off bat, like a major league relief pitcher "setting plate" for his best pitch, in intro you are quickly working reader into a malleable state of mind to receive next step, wherein you:
3. [ T ] Tell Tale
To extent that, in steps 1 and 2, you've made a promise to deliver a pitch, or set up a scenario of sorts, here is litmus test for how well you deliver on that promise. Say what you need to say in strong, specific terms, and be as brief as possible without damaging thrust of your intent. Create a sense of urgency by conveying an easily-understood benefit to reader, and follow up with reasons why you are person best suited, in here and now, to bestow such a benefit upon reader. Have you ever heard someone tell a joke really well? The trick is in getting quickly and smoothly to punchline, then delivering it with an even tone and straight face, right before:
4. [ E ] Ending
Believe it or not, this is where most "communicators" get hung up. You can nail first three steps like a seasoned pro, but not capping off your e - message in a timely fashion can be a surefire way to see it "fragged."
The reader must be left with a taste of curiosity lingering on roof of his or her mouth, that can only be quenched by-- you guessed it!-- responding to your message. No matter how eloquent you may indeed be, old adage "less is more" could not be more appropos than at this juncture. If you cannot "tell tale" in 75 words (100 max.) delete copy and start again.
You will be rewarded with a swelling address book, successful link exchanges by score, and a rare skill indispensable for navigating rough cyber-seas of communication-- tight writing.
Dennis Mahagin promotes and develops content for websites, writes articles, fiction and poetry for publication on the Web, and puts together grant applications in his spare time. http://www.artforstudios.com/