Writing Effective Trade Neomails
For Neopians who regularly engage in trading activities, I am quite sure that Neomailing would not be an alien concept to you. Neomails are frequently used to discuss potential deals for items within the Trading Post. They could also be used to conduct price haggling for items advertised on the various Trading/Auctions Neoboards in private. While it is true that most of us have a general idea of the basic Neomailing etiquette and know how to draft a Neomail to convey our message across to the other party, writing it in an effective way and making it work for you is another matter altogether.
Why the big fuss over writing effective Neomails? Well, if you are able to write Neomails effectively, there are actually several advantages to be enjoyed. Not only does it enhance your chances of making a successful trade, it also helps to increase your credibility as a professional trader because you are able to communicate your ideas to others in an efficient manner. Besides, your Neopets will be so proud of you when you are able to write well in practicality!
Since there has not been any previous Neopian Times article dedicated to the art of writing effective trade Neomails, I shall present to you some guidelines which you can adopt the next time when you are drafting a trade Neomail. I believe that these guidelines will greatly help raise the effectiveness level of your trade Neomails in general.
1. Understand the context of your Neomail
By understanding what you are actually writing the Neomail for in the first place, you can set the tone of your Neomail to go in line with your intended purposes. If you plan to ask for a lower price for an item, your tone would therefore have to be slightly persuasive in order to allow haggling to take place. Or if you are writing to reject someone’s offer for your items, the tone could be slightly firm so as to let the other party know that you are not willing to accept that offer. However it is important to note that no matter what context you may have identified, the encompassing tone should always be that of a professional one. You certainly do not want to write in a childish fashion, which may lead the other party to misunderstand that you are not serious in trading at all.
2. Include an appropriate subject for your Neomail
Having an appropriate subject is important for your Neomail to be efficient. It is always a bad idea to leave the subject field blank, as you face the possibility that your Neomail would get deleted before it is even opened by those Neopians with a busy inbox because it does not give any clue as to what the Neomail is all about. Should that happen, your deal will fall through immediately.
Then again, Neomails with titles such as “Jurples”, “The Meepits made me do it!” are certainly not helpful as well because they are irrelevant and thus provide no reference to the actual content of your Neomail at all. Therefore, one good way is to put the item or the trading lot number that you are interested in as the subject. This would allow your recipient to have a brief idea of your Neomail’s content at one glance from their inbox.
3. Item name at the beginning of the Neomail (optional)
Personally, I would also include the item name at the very top of the Neomail as well. I do that to further reinforce the subject matter (which is the item that I am interested in). In case my recipient fails to take note of the Neomail subject, he/she could acknowledge the name of the item at least. I maintain that this is purely optional, as some people feel that just by including the item name within the subject field would suffice.
While it is true that we are writing the Neomail for trading purposes and not for chatting – it is still nonetheless a good idea to be polite. Of course you do not have to exaggerate the greetings, but a simple ‘Hi’ or ‘Dear [his/her username]’ will be much appreciated. At least by being polite, you can strike a positive first impression with the recipient. Politeness may also make it easier for you to proceed with the deal when you are seen as someone who is both friendly and sensitive to the feelings of others. After all, who likes to trade with rude Neopians?
5. Keep it simple
This is extremely crucial, and I cannot further emphasise the importance of keeping your trade Neomails simple. Not everyone has the time and patience to go through an excessively wordy Neomail when all he/she needs to know is simply just your selling/buying price.
I would suggest a maximum of two short paragraphs, though I find that the most effective Neomails consist of no more than two or three sentences usually. The sentences ought to be short and kept simple too. From experience, most trade Neomails will only include the following three main elements: 1) the item to be traded, 2) your buying/selling price offer and 3) possibility of haggling further.
6. Text formatting (optional)
It would definitely be helpful to the recipient if you could provide some form of text formatting within your Neomail as well. For example, you could bold the item(s) concerned and also underline your price offer. This helps to extract out the important parts of your message, making it easier for those busy Neopians who have a habit of just skimming through Neomails. While I think that text formatting is not extremely crucial, I would highly encourage it if you have some extra time to spare.
7. Signing off
This is one aspect that I notice is lacking from a lot of trade Neomails. I think it would be a good idea if you can engage in some form of signing off upon completion of your Neomail. Examples of signing off include using your name/username as a signature, or you can put your name/username underneath the phrase ‘Regards’ or ‘Thanks’. Alternatively, you can just simply sign off with a basic smiley icon. I personally like to sign off with a smiley icon not only because it is easy to type, but it also resembles a friendly gesture at the same time too.
8. Double check
Wait a minute! Before you hurriedly send your Neomail out, you can take a moment or two to double check the contents of your Neomail for any errors. I find that this is an important step, because sometimes we may be careless and omit an all-important zero in our stated price. A difference between an offer of 590 000 pure Neopoints and 59 000 Neopoints for a Baby Paint Brush can often be enough to scupper your chances of landing it. Also by double checking, you may discover any typographic or grammatical errors which you can then rectify immediately. All traders would definitely appreciate an accurate and properly-written Neomail compared to one which is strewn full with errors.
The main aim of this article is to highlight some key pointers when writing effective trade Neomails. The above guidelines are just meant to be a generic guide. You may follow them in whole, or just incorporate those which you think best suit your own personal writing style when it comes to writing trade Neomails. Hopefully after reading this, you would be able to appreciate the importance of writing effective Neomails, which undoubtedly would help create better trading experiences because you are now able to bring your message across to others in a clear yet concise way.
Happy Neomailing – and good luck trading!
This is the first article I have written to the Neopian Times. It has been a joy sharing these tips with everyone and you are invited to Neomail me should you have any enquiries or wish to know more about this topic!