Long emails are bad enough when they come from grandma. When they come from a stranger, they're practically unforgivable.

One of the fastest ways to annoy potential buyers and lose business is to send them lengthy emails that say too much, quote too often, and broadcast your lack of respect for the recipient's busy schedule.

Our work lives are filled with ways to do sales and marketing: messaging tools, news feeds, social networks, and on-the-go conference calls. That means even a moderately long email whose sales pitch is muddled can be a hindrance to doing business with others. No one wants to decipher your five-paragraph opus when they can find relevant benefits in a two-line message from someone else.

With that in mind, here are a few of the most common reasons long emails happen, and how to create better client relationships by avoiding them.

1. You're cramming features and benefits.

Sure, you're excited about your business and want to show off everything it offers. But your potential customers just want to know what will add value to their business and solve their problems. Anything else adds unnecessary length.

To avoid doing that, turn features into benefits and stick to one item per email. If your email is getting too long, read back through it and count up the features and benefits. Edit out anything that isn't tied to the main idea of your email.

2. You're giving it all away at once.

One of the tricks to writing good cold emails is knowing how to spark intrigue and curiosity in potential buyers. Maybe you can "double {!Company}'s presence on social media to get more people excited about the brand and build a rock-solid reputation in the process." But if you say all that in one breath, what will you put in the next seven emails of your eight-touch email campaign?

If your potential customer doesn't respond to that first email--and that's possible, no matter how good the message is--you have nothing left to entice them with.

3. You're too pleasant.

Emails from strangers that open with pleasantries are like houses with oversized foyers--the extra space adds nothing and would have been put to better use in another area, like the kitchen. Similarly, don't clog up the opening of your email when you could be using your precious word count elsewhere, like the body text or call to action. If you really don't want to waste someone's time, don't open the email by telling them as much.

Instead, lead with data that underscores a pain point or ask an unexpected question.

4. Your quotes suck.

Quotes from experts or celebrity endorsers can be powerful social proof in sales emails. Choose wisely, though. A carefully selected but powerful one-liner quote can be strong social proof. But a block quote is just a wall of text that puts off readers and makes you look lazy.

As you reread your email before sending, ask questions like: Does the quote illustrate a particular benefit? Does it offer clear social proof that could persuade the reader? If the answer is "no," cut it immediately.

Of course, if you want to avoid all of these, there's an easy fix: check your ego. Too often, long-winded emails happen because the sender is in love with their own words or refuses to believe their messages could ever need edits. But part of doing good sales is knowing when to leave yourself out of the conversation, and nowhere is that truer than in emails. Set the ego aside when you sit down to write--your response rates and potential customers will thank you.

Published on: Jun 20, 2017