Do you ever receive an email and after you’ve read it, you still don’t know what the sender wanted from you or what they were trying to say?
Claire Young (star of The Apprentice) recently tweeted about how many emails she gets every day and how amazed she is at how unclear, over-long and pointless they are.
I know she is not on her own!
Just check out your own e-mail inbox (or trash file!) and count how many of them make you feel like Claire Young – it’s frustrating isn’t it?
Chances are you probably decide not to read them properly (you might stick them in a file and kid yourself you will read them later!) and if you do read them, you certainly don’t action them.
So, whoever has taken their time to construct a communication and send it to you has probably wasted their time – as well as yours?
Now, try looking at your sent box and re-read the emails you have sent to your customers recently –
Did you have a clear benefit-rich title? Did they include an action-based request? Were they concise and straight to the point? Put bluntly, were you making the same mistakes as the emails that are sent to you?
If you were, then the chances are you are not maximising your chances of getting the responses from your communications that you want.
So, why don’t you try making your communications CAC?!
This is how CAC works…
For the sake of this exercise, let’s assume your communication is an email. The first thing you need to do with your reader is to make sure they want to read your email in the first place! This is the first C in CAC – Clear, benefit-rich title!
Whether we realise it or not, most of us decide to read our emails based on (i) the name of the sender (your boss or biggest customer for example) or (ii) if we find the subject line (title) interesting.
You can’t alter who you are (sender) but you can alter the subject line – so that is what you need to do to give your email the best chance of being read.
The quickest, easiest way to do this is to think about the person you are sending your communication to and ask yourself the question – If I was them, what benefit would I need to see to make me want to read this communication?
This is where you start thinking about how you can make your reader’s world a better place as a result of your service/product.
For example, if you were sending an email to a company that attracts all its new orders via their website, then the chances are they would be interested in hearing from someone who could help improve/increase the results of their website enquiries.
So, a clear, benefit-rich title could be – How we can help you increase your website enquiries…
If you do this effectively, you now should have the person interested enough in your title to want to read what is contained within your email – your first step to success is complete!
Now you have to make sure your reader knows exactly what it is you want them to do as a result of reading your email.
The rule with this is simple – if you don’t know what you want them to do; then they certainly won’t and will end up doing nothing! (Or at best doing it wrong!)
Far better for you to ensure your reader is crystal-clear on what action you want them to take. This is the A in CAC – Action-based request!
The key word here is action – this is what you want your reader to actually do – not think, or ponder or consider. But DO!
Here’s a good example of an action-based request…
To find out more about how we can help you, simply click here!
Without doubt, this is a crystal-clear, action-based request that they can’t possibly get wrong.
Now we have the first C and the A in CAC – let’s look at the final C – Concise!
Few people in business have either the time or the inclination to read reams of information in an attempt to get to the point of what they are reading – so don’t expect them to!
Keep your emails courteous but to the point.
Make them easy to read – keep your sentences short and avoid starting new sentences on the same line. Also, make sure any paragraphs are no longer than 3 or 4 lines deep.
A good rule of thumb is to imagine your email is going to be read on the 2-inch screen of a smart-phone, so don’t make it too wordy and don’t expect them to open an attachment – if you can’t hook them with the email, they’ll never take the time to open and read an attachment!
So there you have it – the quickest, easiest way to make your communications CAC –
C – Clear, benefit-rich title
A – Action-based request
C – Concise message