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Writing emails that get results in 2023

The best emails, from personal messages to mass promotions, are planned carefully before a word is written. The problem is, very few actually get the benefit of such consideration. We just start typing.

If we were to think about things in advance, what would we say? What does a great email look like? I might suggest: “It considers the relationship with the recipient, and maintains an appropriate tone throughout. It has a singular purpose, and has an attention-grabbing opening sentence. Its purpose is explained in the subject line. It avoids long sentences.” Something like that.

A great bonus of the current interest in generative AI is that to make tools like ChatGPT work well, we can’t just say: “do this”; we need to tell it: “do this… in this way“. In other words, we’re forced to consider what we’re doing before we start.

As an example, I asked ChatGPT to write an email for me (below), asking a customer to find the time for a product demonstration. I’m not suggesting that what it’s produced is the best email ever written. But it’s a decent effort, and the reason is that I was forced to specify in advance what the purpose of the email should be, and its style.

Could I produce something better without any machine help? Probably. But would I?

Because would I make the effort to plan the email properly?

I can’t guarantee that I would.

My instruction to ChatGPT

Write an email to a customer asking if we can have an online meeting to demonstrate our new blue widget. We have not spoken to the customer before, so the tone should be respectful and should not be overly familiar. Use an attention-grabbing opening sentence which mentions that the blue widget has saved customers over 40% on their running costs. Avoid using long sentences.

ChatGPT’s Response

Subject: Request for Online Meeting to Demo Our New Blue Widget and Save You Money

  • Dear [Customer Name],
    Are you looking for ways to save money on your business’s running costs? Our new blue widget has helped customers save over 40% on their expenses, and we believe it could do the same for you.
    My name is [Your Name], and I am writing to request an online meeting with you to demonstrate the features and benefits of our blue widget. As we have not had the opportunity to speak before, let me take a moment to introduce our company. We are a leading provider of innovative solutions that help businesses save money and streamline their operations.
    We are excited to share with you the benefits of our blue widget and answer any questions you may have. Please let us know if you are available for an online meeting at your convenience, and we will arrange a time that works for you.
    Thank you for your time and consideration. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
    Best regards,
    [Your Name]