How to Write Great Emails in Apple Mail Every Time
Can you imagine what Covid lockdown would be like without the internet?
No online project management. No virtual meetings. And no – brace yourself for this thought – email. With so many of us working from home, digital communication – especially email – has never been more important. That’s because with so many of us socially isolated, email is often the first step in building business relationships. For example:
- Planning campaign kick-off meetings;
- Onboarding new clients, employees, or partners;
- Reaching out to leads and prospects.
All these things can make or break your business. Which means email is now the place where you really need to stand out, be professional, and give your recipient the best possible impression. And you know what? That’s perfectly fine – because this is where you’ll learn how to do all of that.
Below, you’ll find insight into what it takes to write a great email in Apple Mail. Apple Mail, as a part of macOS, is packed with loads of handy functionalities that help you write good emails. This blog post will not only look into some of those native features that Apple Mail offers, but we’ll also talk about plug-ins! You’ll get lots of tips, ideas and insight into how to create an effective email – from start to finish.
Apple Mail Plug-Ins make your life easier
What is an email plug-in, anyway? An email plug-in is a third-party tool that adds functionalities to your email client. And we have some good news: macOS Mail is an app that supports plug-ins like this! This means it’s super easy for you to install them on your computer and use them to write better emails than your competitors. The most popular Apple Mail plug-ins are Mailbutler, MailSuite, and Mailhub. Not only do all of those plug-ins offer different feature sets, but they also install in a lot of different ways. Most of them, however, are .mailbundle folders, that have to be installed manually. Don’t worry, it’s easy! Just follow the step-by-step guide that basically every Apple Mail plug-in provider gives you at hand. There is one step that is often forgotten, even though it’s crucial in order to make your plug-in work!
Since macOS Mojave (10.14), it’s now required to activate Apple Mail plug-ins before using them. This means that you’ll need to first enable your „.mailbundle“ manually through your Apple Mail Preferences and restart Mail.
Here are the steps:
1. Open Apple Mail.
2. Click Mail in the menu bar on the top left of your screen.
3. Go to Preferences.
4. Click on Manage Plug-ins in the General tab.
5. Activate the plugin „.mailbundle“ by checking the checkbox.
6. Click Apply and Restart Mail.
Make a strong start with the right subject line
When you’re reaching out to new clients, it’s worth considering the Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule. This says that on average, around 80% of people will read your subject line, while only around 20% will go on to read what’s inside.
Those 20% are the interested ones. So whatever you put in your subject line, make sure the rest of the email flows from the subject line. If you use a subject line that offers some industry news, and then inside the email you try to sell something, that’s a quick way to lose the 20%. For people that don’t know you when you’re reaching out for the first time, consistency is the key to building trust.
And definitely avoid starting an email with “Re:” or “FW:”. These are great for open rates – and also great for getting marked as spam.
Quality email content
When you’re writing to someone for the first time, there’s one thing your reader wants to know: “What’s in it for me?” Give them a positive answer, and you and your email will have a special spot in their inbox.
Know your audience
Of course, the big challenge is knowing what counts as a positive answer. That’s the moment when all your brain power is required. Do remember all of your previous interactions, agreements, and preferences your clients once mentioned?
Well, I don’t know about your hippocampus, but surely this would be too much to ask of mine. So, what you need is a tool to help you keep all of this important information! Big companies work with a CRM to store their data, but that’s not for everybody. People like you and me, working in smaller companies or even independently, need an alternative for their daily work in their Apple Mail inbox. Apple Mail, itself, unfortunately does not provide a good option for storing your contact’s information.
The thing is, with email being more important than ever before, you really need this insight to compete. Ideally, at the time you need it – when you’re actually composing the email.
That’s where email plug-ins come in to play. For example, Mailbutler is a powerful system for turning your email address book into a mini-CRM. Next to each contact, you can add details of previous conversations, agreed tasks, and follow-up reminders. This insight is gold when you’re building relationships over email!
Ok, let’s say you’ve now got your mini-CRM set up, and all of the important information at hand. Let the writing begin!
Keep your emails easy on the eyes
If you’re asking someone more than one thing in an email, it gets hard for them to keep track. So if you’ve got a few tasks, use bold or bullets. Anything to avoid your requests getting buried in text.
Lists of bullet points or numbers, especially, help make your emails more concise and well organised. A clear structure makes it easy for the recipient to scan the email for important information, improving your email’s overall readability. Bullet points are also great for emphasising your information effectively, which conveys your message more clearly.
Apple Mail makes it easy for you to add bullet points or numbers to your email.
Sometimes, you might not be sure whether to use bullet points or numbers. Here’s a tip: When describing steps that follow each other, you should definitely use numbers. If you’re just creating a list and the order is not of importance, you can select bullet points. Apple Mail even gives you the chance to create several dimensions for your list, in case you want to add sub-points.
The right font
Imagine your reader opening your email on a mobile device, walking along, on their way to somewhere important. They’ll thank you if you make your email easy to scan. You can help by using simple fonts, plus the right contrast between text and background. White text on black can look cool, but it’s also harder to read.
Also try to use lowercase as much as possible – letters at the same height are much easier for the eye. Having too many uppercase words makes it a strain when you’re reading a whole sentence, because your eye has to follow pixels up and down.
And of course, all uppercase is REALLY NOT A GOOD IDEA IF YOU DON’T WANT TO LOOK LIKE YOU’RE SHOUTING.
Apple Mail lets you adjust your font type and size for every email individually. If you don’t like changing the font and size for every email you’re writing, you should consider setting it by default.
Apple Mail lets you select your default font and size type, in a super-easy way. Here’s how to do that:
- Open Apple Mail.
- Click Mail in the menu bar on the top left of your screen.
- Go to Preferences > Fonts and Colours
- Select your preferred default font, size and even color.
Copy and Paste Fonts
Sometimes, when writing an email, it’s necessary to copy-paste text parts from another email or document into your email. Maybe you’d like to share information you received from a colleague via email, or perhaps you need to include info that’s in a PDF file (for example a company brochure). Often times the font of the copied text part doesn’t match the font of the email you’re just writing. No problem! With Apple Mail you can copy paste text styles in the blink of an eye.
Here are the steps:
- Position the cursor in the word with the formatting you would like to copy.
- Go to Format > Style > Copy Style in the menu. (Shortcut: Option+Command+C)
- The next step is to highlight the text you want to apply the formatting to.
- Now go to Format > Style > Paste Style in the menu to change the formatting of your highlighted text. Shortcut: Option+Command+V)
- The highlighted text now matches!
You can see that there are a lot of ways to optimise your emails in Apple Mail. But it’s also obvious that you can spend plenty of time formatting them correctly. That’s especially annoying if they’re emails that you send out over and over again, like asking for meetings, offering free trials, or inviting users to upgrade their membership. The email text is always the same - only the recipient is different. Wouldn’t it be great to have ready-made message templates for those emails (even with placeholders)? Some of the Apple Mail plug-ins we talked about earlier, like Mailbutler, let you pre-write templates. They are stored right in your inbox and are at hand whenever you need them. Whatever your business, email templates will save you lots of time.
Leave a good impression with the right ending
After you’ve said what you wanted to, it’s time to end the email on a positive note. Polite is always the safest option, whether that’s “yours sincerely” or “Best regards” or something similarly respectful.
For extra ooomph, throw in a PS. This often catches eyeballs, particularly if it’s the first time someone has heard from you. That’s because people often scroll to the signature first, so they can find out more about the sender.
Treat email signatures as if they’re your business cards. So add all of your contact details . Who knows, maybe your email will be forwarded within an organisation and people will want to know all about you. Also add plenty of graphics, icons with links to your social channels, plus a photo of you. Especially when you’re making initial connections, headshots are great for building trust.
Signatures in Apple Mail
Of course, you can create signatures in Apple Mail. It’s pretty easy, but also pretty limited! Let’s have a look. Again we need to…
- Open Apple Mail.
- Click Mail in the menu bar.
- Go to Preferences > Signatures.
As you can see in the screenshot above, Apple Mail allows you to create multiple signatures. You can, of course, add the text you’d like in your signature, like your name, title and address. Additionally, Apple Mail allows you to add links to your signatures, leading people to your website, for example. A photo can also be added with a simple drag-and-drop.
Signatures from plug-ins
But let’s be honest, there are so many better ways to create a more beautiful signature that will leave a long-lasting good impression. If you’re an Apple Mail user who would like to create more sophisticated signatures, then what you need is a Mail plug-in. Mailsuite or Mailbutler offer you professionally crafted email signature templates that make it easy to convey your unique identity with each email you send. You can add images to your email signature in Apple Mail and customise it with logos, social media links and much more to stand out from the crowd and seize your reader's attention.
Would you like to attach something to your email before sending it out? Maybe a file or a photo? Good idea! Apple Mail offers several possibilities to add attachments to your email. The first one is the simplest: you can easily drag and drop the document into the email. You can then drag it around to the desired location within your email.
Another possibility is to use the “Add document” button that you see in the screenshot below.
Careful here with in-line attachments, though: they’re pretty handy if, in your email, you’re referring to something, like “the image below”. However, if your recipient doesn’t use Apple Mail, but (for example) Outlook, your attachment will not be located in the body of the email, but rather just as an attachment. This means that your recipient will neither find the attachment in the spot you’re describing, nor will they understand what you’re talking about. That’s good advice to keep in mind—when to say “see below” versus “please see attached”.
Are you the type of person who prefers to always include their attachments at the end of an email? So your recipient can finish reading the message first, and then look at the attachment? I feel you! Apple Mail offers a nice possibility to always include your attachment at the end of your email, even if you go on typing after you've attached it. That’s practical as you don’t have to drag it around several times. And here’s how you, by default, locate your attachment at the bottom of your email:
- Open Apple Mail.
- Click Edit in the menu bar on the top left of your screen.
- Go to Attachments > Insert Attachments at End
Sometimes it’s even more challenging to actually remember attaching the file rather than finding the right place for it. Have you experienced this moment of panic when realising that you forgot to attach an important document to an email? Been there, done that. But this won’t happen again, if you get an email plug-in that reminds you of attachments. With the right plug-in, you can define keywords (eg. attached, attachment etc), that, when used in your email, will remind you to include an attachment after you hit Send. No more confusion for your recipients, and no more panics for you!
Our email is now ready for sending. The subject line has been chosen, the content written and formatted and we’ve also remembered to add our attachment. It’s a good idea to only add the recipient’s email addresses when you’re done writing your email. Imagine you’re only half way through writing your email, but accidentally hit the Send button. This could be an embarrassing situation, especially if the email is going out to more than one person.
All tools to automate bulk and transactional eamils
Apple Mail and bulk emails - they don't mix well
Writing emails on a person-to-person basis, though, might not be the best use of your time. At least not when it comes to email marketing! Unfortunately, though, Apple Mail on its own is really not well suited to sending commercial bulk emails. Here's why:
Simply put, it's not designed for it! Apple Mail is missing a whole slew of features that are at least beneficial for commercial bulk emailing, if not downright essential. Styled emails, for example, with colourful templates that users can design and customize. Additionally, Apple Mail on its own offers a low level of deliverability when it comes to sending in bulk: Apple Mail is only designed for personal use, rather than business, so sent emails are likely to be marked as spam. Crucially, Apple Mail on its own leaves its users in the dark when it comes to the effectiveness of their email campaigns. Thankfully, though, plug-ins like Mailbutler can provide users with a whole array of important statistics like open and link tracking (some of the important features that we mentioned earlier), as well as reply rates, allowing users to A/B test different templates and much more.
The bottom line is that if you're going to be sending emails to large groups of people, Apple Mail on it's own just isn't going to cut it.
Sending emails to groups
Speaking of groups, it’s crucial to mention, that if you’re often writing emails to the same group of people — maybe your sales team, a group of VIP clients, or colleagues — it’s worth taking the time to create groups for those people in the macOS Contacts application. This is to help you send messages to a group instead of the individuals in it. Want to know how to create a group in Apple Mail? Sure!
- Go to your macOS Contacts application (little address book)
- Click the + to create new group and give a name
- Them simply drag and drop the contacts you would like to add to the group
Now, when sending an email, you don’t need to type all the email addresses into the To: field, but you simply select the group by clicking the tiny blue + at the top right of your compose window. Working with groups not only saves you plenty of time, it also makes sure that no one important is forgotten.
Optimise your send time
No matter what business you work in, most of our emails go out to just one recipient. And sometimes, getting the right result from an email is simply all about the timing.
So when you’re reaching out across borders, check the time zone difference. It may be better to schedule your emails to go at a particular time.
Of course, this is a one-size-fits-all approach, and not really personalised to the sender’s preferences. You might have people who work early mornings or late nights, others work weekends, some are only online during the week. If only you knew when your reader is most likely to be opening emails…
...that’s when, once again, an email plug-in with CRM insight makes all the difference. Mailbutler’s handy Contacts feature, for example, gives you this data. The option to ‘optimise delivery’, means delivering your email when the recipient is most likely to reply to you, based on previous interactions.
You’re emailing at a time that’s convenient for the sender – great for your reply rate and definitely great for customer experience
Blind copies are your best friend
Something that comes in handy as much as optimising your delivery time is the possibility to add a Bcc to your email. But what is a Bcc? Bcc stands for Blind Carbon Copy. It’s called blind because the recipient won’t be able to see that someone else has been sent a copy of the email. That’s pretty useful if you’re, for example, a CEO who has an assistant to help you with your emails. Bccing your assistant on every email you write, keeps them up-to-date and well-informed, and avoids emails being sent redundantly.
Or maybe you often times send emails to several recipients at a time. If you put their email address into the To: or Cc: field, every recipient will be able to see all email addresses the message was sent to. To protect your recipients’ privacy, it makes sense to put all the email addresses into the Bcc: field.
But how do you add Bcc Recipients in Apple Mail? Let me show you:
- After composing your email, check if the Bcc: field already shows.
- If it doesn’t, select View > Bcc Address Field from the menu bar.
- Now you can type the Bcc recipients' email addresses in the Bcc field.
- Send your message as usual.
Another useful idea of how to make the most out of the Bcc, is to synchronise your emails with your CRM system. More precisely, to have a blind copy of all your outbound messages sent to an CRM tool such as Salesforce or Hubspot. This way, you will always be sure that all corporate communication is properly recorded and available on request. You could, of course, manually add a blind copy to your CRM’s email address for every email you send. But let’s be honest: when things get busy and time is money, adding a blind copy is the first thing that will be forgotten. In the end, this will lead to incomplete data in your CRM. Data you should actually be able to rely on will end disorganized or missing entirely.
But there’s a way out! With a proper Apple Mail plug-in, you only create a Bcc to your CRM rule once, when starting to use it. After the set-up, a copy of all your outgoing emails will automatically be sent to your favourite CRM tool (or to any other email address). Pretty handy, huh? I definitely think so.
Your email is now finally ready for take-off. Let’s press the Send button and hope for quick and positive responses!
Persistency is the key
You know that phrase, “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again” ?
Well, that’s a sentiment most successful email campaigns are built on. The volume of emails continues to grow year-on-year, so no reply can often mean someone simply hasn’t seen your email. Be persistent – you’re trying to grow your business after all.
That’s why there’s no problem with sending follow-up emails – you’re trying to help, offer value, and make people’s lives better.
Sure, there will always be a few people who mark you as spam or tell you to go away. But the majority will be fine if your emails are polite, easy to read, and come at a convenient time. If you’ve been lucky enough to get back a positive response, maybe asking for a telephone call to learn more, great! Apple Mail offers an easy way to quickly create a calendar event from an email.
Let’s do that:
1. Open the email with the calendar event.
2. Hover over the event date with your mouse
3. A little arrow will appear
4. When clicking the little arrow, a window helping you to plan your calendar event will pop up.
5. Last step would be to just confirm by clicking “Add to calendar”
Now it’s up to you!
I hope these tips will be useful for you Apple Mail users! At most, you’ve discovered some functionalities that you didn’t know about before. I keep my fingers crossed for you that all the native Apple Mail features as well as the plug-in features help you grow your business. Thank you for reading, and I wish you the best of luck!