When it comes to emailing your CEO or emailing the business owner, it makes no difference whether you work at a large or small agency. It can be a little intimidating.
Your CEO has a lot on his/her plate and when you send an email, you want it to get read, you’d like for your communication to somehow stand out, and best of all, you’d love to receive a response. Actually, the best response is if you received immediate praise and adulation in recognition of your email writing skills, but let’s be honest…thats probably not going to happen.
If you’re worried about sending an email to your CEO or to any important busy figure, you’ve come to the right place. This article will present 5 easy steps on writing an effective email to the busiest amongst us.
1. Write a short, yet descriptive subject line
If you’re in marketing or if you’ve ever spent any amount of time evaluating marketing emails as a consumer, then you’re probably familiar with the importance of crafting the perfect subject line for a client’s subscriber list. 35% of email recipients open email based on the subject line alone. Its ironic that many marketers for large businesses skip the process of subject line ideation when its one of the core principles to email marketing or blogging in general.
It’s should be no different for CEOs. If you want to catch their attention amid a mass of communications and during a busy day, your subject line is the place to do it.
- Get straight to the point
- Your subject line should act like a mini-email containing the most important info
- Does your email contain a report with vital metrics? Say so. Are you writing with a specific proposal? Mention it in the subject line.
- The more concrete, short, and to the point you can be with the subject line, the higher your chances of the CEO opening your email are.
As a general rule of thumb, avoid using spammy buzzwords and/or marking your message as high priority. Every email a CEO looks at is probably in the high priority category. The biggest thing to remember is that an email is equivalent to you popping your head into someone’s office without any concern for what they might be doing and demanding 2 minutes of their time to listen to you.
Do everything you can to minimize the amount of time it takes to understand what you need while maximizing the amount of information communicated.
2. Keep it short
Besides the fact that your CEO doesn’t have a lot of extra time for an email that reads more like a novel, it’s important to remember most CEOs read emails on the go. In other words, they read emails on mobile devices. In fact, 35% of business professionals check email on a mobile device.
Aim to get your point across in as few words as possible. If you’re having a hard time gauging how long your email is, write it out on your own mobile device. That way, you can conceptualize exactly how long your email is and how it will look on your CEOs mobile device.
Bear in mind, when emails are short, it’s easier for CEOs to read and understand, which increases your chances that you’ll get a response.
3. Check for grammar spelling mistakes
This particular suggestion has some irony to it. If you’ve ever interacted with many CEOs and business owners, you’ll probably notice that the majority of their email communications (internally) have spelling mistakes. I’ve personally seen CEOs voice dictate emails or type with blazing fast speed to produce messages that revert to middle-English.
Just like doctors that sign prescriptions sloppily, its a signifier of their business. If you are communicating with a business owner or CEO, you are not to copy this habit. Clear. Concise. Well-spoken.
The unfortunate thing about email is once you’ve pressed “send,” it’s rare you can actually recall the message (due to my own recent unfortunate experience with this I found a way to undo Gmail messages within 30 seconds of sending). That means you need to have your email proofread and polished before even thinking about pressing send.
Of course, you will want to re-read your email a few times and check it yourself. If you’re not a grammar buff, it’s okay. There are several tools on the market to help you clean up your writing. Run your email through spell check and/or use a tool like Grammarly.
When in doubt, or for good measure, ask one of your colleagues to give your email a quick read-through before pressing send.
4. Provide context for your question
If you are emailing the business owner or CEO because you have some sort of issue that needs to be resolved, then provide context to the issue. Tim Ferriss is both a CEO and serial entrepreneur. He’s given his own take on emailing busy people, which goes into this particular step in more detail.
The goal of providing context is to:
- State your problem clearly
- Mention what you’ve done to solve the problem (or attempt to solve the problem)
- Provide your recommendations for fixing the problem based on your own understanding
If you follow these three simple steps, you’ve basically enabled the CEO to just say “yes, do __, and add this.” No need for a back and forth. Honestly, this principle should be followed in all email correspondence, but CEOs should especially be receiving this style of email.
5. Include important reporting details
There are some emails that your CEO requires you to send them each week. For example, it’s common for marketing and digital advertising agencies to send a weekly executive report to the CEO.
The best news is with the right analytics and reporting tool (like TapClicks), you can set up an automated email. With direction from your CEO, you’ll learn exactly what type of information you need to include in the report. This can include a specific set of metrics, important milestones, and/or drawbacks you experienced during the week.
A tool like TapClicks will allow you to preset reporting parameters. This ensures you are pulling and sending the right data to your CEO each week.
Some CEOs will ask for a report if metrics fall below/above a certain level. With TapClicks, you can set up automatic alert notifications if this happens.
Sometimes the best way to impress your CEO in your emails is to automate them with the information they ask from you each week.
Remember, 86% of professionals prefer to use email when communicating for business purposes. It’s not out of line to send your CEO an email. Just remember when you follow the best practices listed above, you have a higher chance of eliciting a response.
Did we miss anything? Is there anything you would include in the list that helps you write effective emails to your leadership team? We would love to hear from you in the comments.