You Never Get a Second Chance to Write an Impressive First Email

How many times have you heard the expression, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression? Well, in today’s business world, that first impression is often delivered in the form of an email. And even if you’ve spoken with the recipient in person or on the phone already, your email will likely be the first communication from you that they can hold onto, look back at, and really judge you on.

In short, when you send that first email (and all subsequent emails, for that matter), you’re actually marketing yourself and your company. So don’t screw it up.

Marketing is about influence, and influence is an exercise in subtlety. We’ve all been warned not to type an email in ALL CAPS. That just looks dumb. Rather than restate the obvious, I’m going to offer you a couple of tips that will help your emails stand out even if the recipient doesn’t know exactly why.

It’s All About the Font, No Trouble

The first thing to consider is font selection. I know what you’re thinking. Who gives a flying fig tree about fonts? Actually, your brain does. (Note: To continue this discussion, you should understand the difference between a serif and sans serif font. If you don’t, you can click here for more information.)

It’s been well-established that a serif font like good, old Times-Roman enhances readability on a printed page in a number of ways, all having to do with how those serifs help your eyes track from one character to the next. Open any book and you’ll find a serif font.

It’s also long been held that because computer monitors have lower resolutions than a printed page, serifs are more of a hindrance than a help on computer screens. That’s why most web pages today use Helvetica, Arial or Calibri, among others. Visit a few web pages and check it out.

That’s the popular thinking. But then just the other day, I read this article on Bloomberg. The author claims (and supports the claim) that due to the vast superiority of the monitors we use today, the above thinking on the need for sans serif fonts no longer holds water. And I have to say I agree.

The bottom line here is: Try using a font like Georgia (which you’re reading here) for your emails. Your recipients will find it easier and more enjoyable to read your words of wisdom without even realizing it.

Greetings, Earthlings

Here are three tips for constructing a standout greeting for your email:

  1. Have one. I’m surprised by how many people launch into a thought without any proper greeting at all. Include one and you’ll stand out from at least part of the pack.

  2. Use first names. Email is a less formal medium for communication, so I’m on a first-name basis with everyone to whom I send email. If the nature of your communication is such that you feel compelled to type Dear Mr. Trump instead of Dear Donald, you should probably be sending a real letter on real paper.

  3. Comma, not colon. I’m sure there’s some colonoscopy joke I could make here, but I’ll spare you. Just use a comma. ​

A Million Thanks

People who don’t say thanks are a pet peeve of mine, and this goes way beyond email. There are the diners who can’t take a nanosecond to say thanks for a water refill, the shoppers who think cashiers are privileged to be able to sell them toilet paper, and the travelers who act like it’s the TSA agent’s fault they have to show their ID, to name a few.

It’s a simple case of good manners. When someone does something for you, you say thank you.

When you send someone an email, chances are it’s because they’ve already done something for you, or it’s because you’d like them to do something for you. If the former, say thanks first thing. If it’s the latter, thank them at the end for considering your proposal. Either way, say friggin’ thanks.

And btw, thanks for reading Johnny’s Marketing Soapbox.

That is all.

#email #fonts #manners

How can I help?

If there's a topic you'd like me to cover in my blog, please by all means let me know. I want this site to be as useful to my readers as possible.


Email me at

Other Posts
Search By Tags
No tags yet.

© 2015 by John F. San Filippo

  • Facebook Basic Black
  • Twitter Basic Black
  • YouTube Basic Black