Earlier this week I got two emails from two different companies asking me to take a survey for them. One email made roll my eyes and delete the request. The other email made me click the survey link immediately. Here are the two emails:
Pretty big difference, huh? Clearly two different writing styles from two different companies.
The first email from Yahoo made me feel indifferent and was archived immediately. The second email from Slack had me so excited that I not only clicked the link, but I spent several minutes completing the full survey.
Let’s break down what was so bad about #1 and so good about #2:
|Email #1 (Yahoo)||Email #2 (Slack)|
|Boring, generic subject line||Interesting subject line focused on the user|
|Stiff, formal greeting||Conversational, personal greeting|
|Mass email feeling||Feeling of exclusivity. (I have been selected from a small group)|
|Focus on the company (“We look forward to hearing from you”)||Make the user feel valued (“Your feedback is valuable … Thank you for your help.”)|
|Large ask (15 minutes of user’s day)||Sensitive about user’s time (“Short survey … Only take a few minutes of time”)|
|Multiple CTA’s and unclear link text (where does “this link” go?)||Single, clear CTA making the next step dead simple (“Take the survey”)|
Looking at any of these small writing differences as one-offs might make you think, “whatever, that’s not a big deal.” And I would generally agree with you. But when you combine all these small variations into a whole email, it becomes very apparent how different the full message is.
There are many reasons Yahoo and Slack are companies heading in very different directions. Writing style alone won’t make or break a company, but it might make or break your ability to get users to take a survey.