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How to Respond to Your Readers When You’re Not Sure How to Respond to Your Readers

Last week, we talked about how to train your readers to be more responsive and I walked you through five steps to getting more reader feedback. Today we’re going to talk about what to do with the feedback once you get it.

First, let’s get one thing straight. You have to respond. That’s just a fact. If readers send you emails and you don’t reply, they’re unlikely to write you again.

But, sometimes, even when we’re really appreciative of an email, it can be hard to write a response. Perhaps you’re not sure what to say, or maybe the reader didn’t really give you much to respond to, or maybe you’re just tired and not feeling very creative.

When you struggle to write a response, refocus on the basics. All to often, when we’re stuck, it’s because we want to write something really meaningful back to our readers. And, that desire can backfire–keeping us from writing anything at all because nothing’s quite good enough.

So, these tips are basic, and that’s the point. As long as you cover these in your email, you’ll have written a decent response.

  1. Start with the reader’s name. I usually address readers by their first names to avoid mis-guessing their gender. Address readers however you’re comfortable; something simple like “Dear Kim,” or “Hi Kelly” will work well.
  2. Thank the reader. Writing “Thanks for your email,” or “Thanks for the feedback” both work in many situations.
  3. Start a new paragraph and respond to them honestly. Perhaps they pointed out a typo. You might say, “I was so embarrassed to see that “its/it’s” mistake got through!”
  4. Ask a question. You might ask the reader how they’re doing with the focus of your newsletter, or how they’re doing in general. This helps them continue the conversation.
  5. Close the email and sign your name. I’m always searching for new ways to sign an email–what you choose is a completely personal choice, but here are a few to get you started: be well, sincerely, cheers, cheerio, ciao, truly yours, take care, all my best, thanks.

Remember, when you’re responding to your readers, you don’t have to write a masterpiece. Just by following these
simple steps, you’ll create an email that will continue the conversation, and make the reader feel heard.

Your challenge:
Post a comment and let me know what closing you typically use in your emails. I’ll compile a list and share it in the next issue.

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