By Ellie Carignan, Account Coordinator, Fall 2019
It’s no secret- writing professional emails can be daunting. They become even more complicated when they are specifically addressed to a real, paying client. For many account managers, emails are the main method of communication between clients and an agency. Sure there is the occasional phone call or in-person meeting, but the majority of collaboration and creation will take place within an email chain. This also means that emails are the prime opportunity to engage and connect with your client. They are a simple way to impress the client and show them your level of commitment.
As an Account Coordinator, I have personally struggled to create emails I am confident to send. Oftentimes, I will create several drafts before I feel my message and requests are comprehensible. Through this process, I have refined a lot of the do’s and don’ts for writing emails to clients. I have learned that emails need to effectively convey information, while also serving as a strong backbone for your client relationships. Any time I am struggling with an email, these are the tips and tricks I stick to.
1. Be Clear and Concise
Emails are not the time to pull out complex vocabulary or industry jargon. Here, simplicity is best. To fully communicate ideas and requests to your client, being short and sweet is the most efficient. Long sentences with dependent clauses and hundreds of commas will only confuse your client and lead them away from the topic at hand. Crafting a truly great email is writing one that clients can easily understand and take action on; after reading your email, they should not walk away confused as to what their next step should be. If you have a list of questions or to-do’s for your client, put them as a bulleted list at the end of the email. This will prevent your requests from getting caught up in the body of the email, thus giving your client the space to quickly provide you with the answers you need.
2. Be Confident, Be Direct
It can be hard to ask clients for something, especially in an email. I fall into this often- I feel like since I am working for them, I shouldn’t bother my client with requests or to-do lists. However, response and client engagement is crucial to the success of deliverables. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or materials over email, and don’t be afraid to do it directly. In emails, it's easy to talk around a point or overly sugarcoat any request you may have. You may overload the text with “I’m sorry to bother you” or “I apologize, but my team needs…”. This is unnecessary and implies a lack of confidence which may only serve to make the client question your credibility. You need to take charge- politely but bluntly ask for what you need to help your client reach their project goals.
3. Leave them Wanting More
When writing emails to clients, it's easy to get caught up in the professionalism of it all. While this is a job and you are completing paid work, it’s important to remember that most of your communication is taking place in email format. With you and your client’s busy schedules, you rarely have time to talk on the phone or meet up for coffee. Thus, most of your relationship-building really does take place in the body of an email. By adding personal touches, such as referencing major events in your client’s life, you demonstrate both personal commitment and attention to detail. This is an impactful way to make your client feel appreciated and valued. You want your client to walk away feeling confident they chose the right agency to work with. Show them your ability to go above-and-beyond in even the most mundane details, such as an email. Leave your client so impressed that they’d be inclined to extend a contract to your agency in the future.
These are the three tips I live by when writing emails. I constantly remind myself to create an effective email, but to also further client relations in the process. Because your interactions with the client are only a small percentage of their daily routine, it is important to make every point of communication stand out. Even with the smallest interactions, you want to strike your client as being informed, detailed, efficient and committed. Strong client emails can be a small, yet integral piece in building lasting client connections.