7 tricks for writing a killer plain text email


Christina Farley

These days, very few emails actually come from a human. Companies of all sizes employ plain text emails in their automations to make personal connections with their customers and encourage conversations.

You might be thinking: Will my customers recognize the email is automated? 

Maybe. It depends on how good your email is. The good news is the vast majority of customers appreciate the effort and understand that if they reply, a human will be on the other side. For more tips on how to receive effective feedback, see our post here.

So, what’s the secret sauce?

7 tips for writing a plain text email that will make customers stop, read and respond.

1. Pay attention to your sender name. This is valuable real estate! Try “Amy from Wine Time” or “Amy Johnston” as opposed to “Wine Time.”

2. Stick with short subject lines. Think about the last time you wrote a personal email. It was quick, concise and free of marketing fluff.

3. Drop the preview text. When you send a personal email, use a subject line and allow the email body to populate automatically as the preview text. 

Which email  jumps out to you?

4. Don’t forget your manners. Greet the person and establish rapport before making your ask. Be short, sweet and to the point, but don’t forget to be polite. 

Example openers

Hi there, Chanel! I hope your day is going well so far. I know you’re busy, so I’ll make this quick. I was wondering if…

Dave – hope all is well! I wanted to send you a quick email to see if you had any questions so far in your free trial…

Hi Jeanine, Happy Monday! Hope you had a nice weekend. Did you have a chance to log into…

5. Prove you did your homework. Make it clear to the recipient you know who you’re speaking to. Did they buy a specific product? Mention that product. Are they a cold customer you’re trying to reactivate? Ask them why they left.

6. Be specific. Specific sells – and it also gets more responses. If you’re emailing your customers to ask for feedback, share exactly what you’ll do with the feedback. If you’re inviting customers to test a new product, tell them exactly why you picked them and what they’ll get out of it. 

Check out the difference between these emails:

Hi Santiago, 

Hope your week is going well so far, just a few more days until the long weekend! 

I noticed you’re a few weeks into your trial of AwesomeSoftware but still haven’t logged in. Do you have any questions about getting set up or how to complete the integration? 

Here’s a link to log in: *link* 

(A friendly reminder - your username is: santiago2020)

Let me know if you need any backup or have any questions about getting started. Happy to help!

Ishmael R. 
Customer success superhero

7. Write as if you’re writing to 1 customer, even if you’re writing to 10,000. Resist the urge to use big, formal words. If people can’t understand what you’re saying, they’ll likely tune you out. Write how you talk, be sympathetic and let your humanity show.

Don’t stress about getting it perfect!

The most important thing is to get started. Don’t spend weeks fretting about finding the perfect copy. Put something together that you’re reasonably confident in, launch it and see what happens. 

Maybe 200 people will respond, maybe 2 will. You’ll never know unless you get something out there. There’s always time to refine and test down the line. Nothing is set in stone!

And if you need a sounding board for your ideas or aren’t sure how to set this up within your current system, get in touch. We’d love to help. 

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