How to Write Motivational Emails

Depositphotos 126090906 s 2015

We tend to think of motivational communication as something we do verbally, but motivation can be fostered through written means as well. When you think about all of the emails we write, most of us have many more opportunities to motivate people with our written words than our spoken words. With practice, anyone can write motivational emails.


Have you ever struggled with writing an email because you wanted it to motivate or move the receiver to take a specific action? Perhaps you were communicating a change, a new process, an important piece of information to be remembered, or an action you wanted people to take.


I want to share with you my process for creating motivational email communications. In fact, I just did this a couple of weeks ago with my blog subscribers. Here’s what happened.


I am currently collecting data for a new research project. I wanted as many of my blog followers to participate in the survey. If you’ve done any type of online surveying before, you know how difficult it is to get people to spend their time taking a survey. I dread surveys even though my conscience reminds me that I need to do it for others if I ask them to do it for me.


When researchers use an online survey they are thrilled with a participation rate of 20%, 30% is great, and 40% is outstanding. So I was hoping for outstanding.


I’m happy to announce that I used my FRAMEwork motivation model to create the email communication and produced a response rate of 62%! That’s well over half the people who received the email and I promise that’s not just my family.


I have to be honest and tell you this is much higher than I expected. One reason I got this high rate of participation is because my readers are good people and want to help others when they can. Thank you to all who participated.


To get a 62% response rate, it takes intentional communication to get people to act immediately.


Anyone who is in sales will tell you, if you can’t get someone to commit to the act of buying immediately, your odds of getting them to act later is very low. In essence, you have to focus on activating the person’s motivation during the communication. I’ve found the same phenomenon exists in every communication for which we want people to take action.


Using the FRAMEwork formula, you can ask yourself if you are addressing each motivational trigger.


Here’s the message I sent out.


Hi {firstname}
I am honored that you take the time to follow my blog. It’s a lot of fun to write about the latest research and application of motivation. It’s just as fun to conduct the research and discover why we do what we do as people.


I am working on a new project and you can help me advance the science of motivation in just a couple of minutes. Not only can you help the field of motivation science, this will also be a BIG favor to me.


Please click on the link below and take the survey. The survey takes most people only 2-3 minutes and it is completely anonymous. Oh, and you will feel great about doing a random act of kindness for someone today!!
Survey: http://kwiksurveys…
Thank you so much for participating!!
Kind Regards,
Jason Jones


So let’s break it down to see how I used the FRAMEwork formula.


1. Freedom: Notice I give the person a sense of freedom and autonomy. No coercion and I call this a “favor” to me.
2. Relationship: One of the first things I want to do is recognize the relationship and thank the reader for their followership. I did this in the first sentence. It’s important to be genuine when doing this or people see through it very quickly.
3. Ability: The next thing I want to do is help the reader see that he/she can be a part of the research and successfully help. People like to be a part of accomplishing something. Additionally, notice in the third paragraph, I tell the reader that the survey only takes people 2-3 minutes. In this statement I’ve helped people know they can achieve this action in a short amount of time.
4. Meaning: One of the most important drivers of motivation is how people can connect the action to meaning in their lives. We all want to know if the action is worthwhile, significant, and meaningful. I’ve tried to set this up in two ways. First, the reader is able to help discover new findings in motivation science. Second and usually most important to people, I ask the reader to help me with my task. Asking someone for help is a very powerful motivator.
5. Energy: Finally, I worked hard to not only make the email message short (to not bore the reader), I also wanted to bring a bit of energy to the final statement, “Oh, and you will feel great about doing a random act of kindness for someone today!!” Yes, I know there is risk in sounding coercive with a statement like this. The key is you must really be asking someone to do something nice not just for you, but for something that has impact beyond you. In this case, I believe people can see their investment of 2-3 minutes can result in help many people.


There is no one right way to write a motivating email. Even after writing and sending this one, I thought of other ideas that I could have implemented. The key is to think about how you can use the science of motivation to spur people to action. This is just a simple example of the response you can get when you activate people using the proven human triggers we know exist.





Image above by Kittikun Atsawintarangkul via