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Email Bootcamp: Update Emails

We're back with some more Email Bootcamp! Today we'll compare two separate update emails. Don't worry so much about the specific content, but focus on the language & layout, which I'll walk through in the explanations.

Version #1


This "update" email has a couple of issues. Right away, the email looks daunting, with a lot of text. This is only the beginning.

1. The first paragraph describes the process. This type of detail isn't relevant for a big group, no matter how hard you worked or how painful it was. The important piece is that you got to the answer, but that answer doesn't appear until far down in the body of the email. This whole paragraph should be deleted.

2. Assuming this is going to a broad audience, you want to remove things that your audience won't understand, such as "the l.source field." This bit of detail doesn't feel necessary, and will likely confuse a less technical audience or lead to unnecessary follow-up.

3. When sharing data via email, I recommend not putting a bunch of numbers into a sentence. It can be hard to interpret. The other issue is that this tells us what the results are, but leaves it up to the reader to interpret what this data means. Anytime you are presenting data, you don't want to just tell people what the data is, but what it means and how it can be used.

4. You've just asked for an hour of people's time. Why? What is the purpose of the meeting beyond reading this email together?

5. Never use "double click." Just don't.

Version #2


Here is a different take on a similar email. Visually, this email feels digestible. I love bullet points!

1. Here we see less data, but more insight, than the first email. The sender isn't listing out all of the data points, but is answering the implicit question, which is where leads are coming from. This is where you want to get to with data analysis!

2. A call out to someone on the team "(nice work Jay!)" is a great way to bring your personality into emails. Even though this is an update, it doesn't need to feel stiff and formal if that isn't your office culture.

3. If you do have next steps, make them clear and assign them an owner. If I was Sam reading this email, I would clearly see that I had something to do. Big win for accountability.

4. Sure, we're still having that meeting. But now that meeting has purpose. Good work!


Writing good emails is tough, so stick to these communication principles. If you enjoyed this post, don't miss our other post with email advice!

Join & comment if you have your own email advice!


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