Photo by Barb. Feature cover photo by kelboa-productions
Group emails are a great way to quickly update a lot of people with what you have been doing. The only problem is that they often come off as a bit impersonal and can be very difficult to read. More often than not, you will spend an hour writing a detailed update, send it off, and get few, if any, responses.
You can keep sending the emails and hope that people appreciate the effort, even if they never read or respond to the messages.
Or, you could try these five tops to make people excited to find your group e-mails in their in-boxes.
Protect people’s privacy
This first tip is actually not a suggestion; it’s a rule. You should not place everyone’s address in the “to:” field because it will allow every recipient to see all the other addresses.
While there may be no problem with this for some, many people don’t appreciate it. Instead, place your own address in the “to:” field and everyone else’s address in the “bcc:” field. This will block out the addresses, while at the same time delivering a copy to yourself for review.
Pick one story
It is tempting to write long, detailed, updates every time you sit down in the internet cafe. This is an understandable impulse, but it tends to produce an email that is very difficult to read.
Instead, pick one story or anecdote that stands out and focus on telling it well. Keeping it short, not more than two well formed paragraphs, will make the email easier to read and help sharpen the writing.
When thinking of a story to send, try to pick something that is interesting and will encourage people to ask more about what you have been doing. Hopefully, your friends will read the email and then write back asking for more.
Everyone likes to see pictures and a group email is no exception. Pick a single, favorite, photograph that illustrates something you have done recently and attach it to the email.
When it comes to the message, try to think of the email as a postcard. A short, descriptive, message accompanied by a well chosen photograph can say significantly more than a long, overly detailed, update.
Email is about communication and, ultimately, you would like your messages to engage your reader enough that they will respond. A great way to elicit a response is to ask a question or two.
Of course, typical correspondence questions fall a bit flat and sound impersonal when read in a group email. Instead, draw some questions out of your experiences that might spark conversation.
For example, you could ask a speculative question like “I wonder if I’ve been missing an amazing ski season back home?” or something about more universal experiences like “why haven’t I been drinking wine with dinner all my life?”
Set up a blog on Matador
Perhaps the best way to keep people up to date with your travels is to give up the group emails all together. In their place, start a travel blog.
This allows you to share all of your favorite stories and photos, give thoughts and opinions, and engage a like-minded community. It givesyour friends the freedom to check in on your progress whenever they want, and the ability to comment on each entry.
A great place to create a free travel blog that you can share with existing friends and use to make new ones is Matadortravel.com. Set up a profile, start a blog, and send out your last group email providing a link to the blog and RSS feed!