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5 Quick Tips For More Effective Emails

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Don’t want your emails to go into the “trash?” Want your recipients to open and read your emails? Here are five quick tips for you:

  1. Focus on one topic. Many of us want to share so much information that our email is simply overwhelming to our recipients. Take a step back, choose one important point that you want to get across, and focus on this in your email.
  2. Make sure your email is readable. Remember, you’re not writing a story or term paper. Nor do you want to send a vague, short memo. You must find a happy medium between the two to relay your message. Also, make sure it’s aesthetically pleasing to the eye to draw your reader to the content.
  3. Your subject line should contain only 3 to 6 words and include a quick summary of your topic. It shouldn’t be clickbait either. (This is a sensational headline to raise the curiosity of readers.)
  4. Remember to give your recipient an action item. Something that you want them to do, such as answer a question like, “Where do you think we should hold our next meeting?” Or, “Please contact me with any questions at: [phone] or [email].”
  5. Always check your spelling and grammar. Every email you send represents you. We’re all busy and in a hurry, but don’t go pounding away at the keyboard and hitting “send” to get a message out quickly. Read your emails before sending them. Reading each word out loud will help you find any errors.

Need more help? In addition to these 5 tips, consider the following:

Take a look at your closing message. It can affect your response rate. What Mom always preached works for emails as well: “Say, Thank You.” Boomerang email management software studied 350,000 email threads and found that the most-used closings were:

  • Thanks
  • Regards
  • Cheers
  • Best regards
  • Thanks in advance
  • Best
  • Kind regards

So, of these, which were the most effective?

  • Thanks in advance
  • Thanks
  • Thank you

According to Boomerang:

“Emails where we detected a thankful closing saw a response rate of 62%. This compared to a response rate of 46% for emails without a thankful closing. Closing with an expression of gratitude correlated with a whopping 36% relative increase in average response rate compared to signing off another way.”

A simple, “thanks” makes all the difference when it comes to response rates. Everyone likes to be appreciated and to know that you value their time.

Length matters. If you want a higher response rate for your emails, keep them short and direct. This is especially so for sales emails. Did you know that prospects open fewer than 24% of the sales emails written? When writing emails, do your best to keep them to 50 to 125 words. Emails are written at this length get the best response rates (over 50%). However, extremely short emails (10 words or less) reduce response rates to 36%. First, you can’t get your message across with this length, and second, you may appear lazy to your email recipient.

“Express yourself.” Emails that express a moderately positive or negative emotion get higher response rates than neutral emails. It helps your readers connect with you. Remember to practice empathy. Try to see things from their perspective to understand their thoughts and point of view. You’ll get a better response if you do.

Write in a conversational tone. Write like you’re talking to a friend. Remember, you’re not writing a term paper here. Using a conversational tone in your emails is one of the best ways to engage with your readers. Although, recognize that there will be times where an email needs to be more formal and polished. Be cognizant of this and distinguish between when to be informal or formal. Don’t forget–your messages are a reflection of who you are and your professionalism.

Ask some questions. Emails that contain one to three questions get better response rates. However, if you ask multiple questions that you want your readers to answer, make sure that they are clearly written and ask for a precise response. Consider putting one of your questions in the subject line. For example, “Any questions about our meeting agenda?” Then ask two more specific questions in the content of your email such as, “Do you have anything you’d like to add to the agenda?” Or, “Should we discuss our concerns about staffing?” Write with clarity and invite explicit answers.

Check the grade level of your message. We all want our writing to appear polished and professional. And this goes for our emails as well. But, did you know that you’ll get a better response to your messages if you write them at a 3rd-grade level? (However, maybe not if you’re writing your professor about your Ph.D. thesis!) For most emails, KISS (“Keep It Simple, Stupid!”) is the way to go. According to Boomerang’s study, this resulted in a 36% increase in response rate over emails written at a college reading level and a 17% higher response rate than emails written at a high school reading level. Doing this is much more difficult than it seems. To check your reading level follow Microsoft’s directions below.

Outlook

  1. Click File, and then click Options.
  2. Click Mail, and then, under Compose Messages, click Spelling and AutoCorrect.
  3. Click Proofing.
  4. Under When correcting spelling in Outlook, make sure the Check grammar with spelling check box is selected.
  5. Select the Show readability statistics check box.

Word

  1. Click the File tab, and then click Options.
  2. Click Proofing.
  3. When correcting spelling and grammar in Word, make sure the Check grammar with the spelling check box is selected.
  4. Select Show readability statistics.

Reading grade level scores track the number of syllables in each of your words along with the number of words in your sentences. So, use simple words and shorter sentences than you’re used to writing.

Plus, don’t forget to check your spelling: After you enable these features, open a file that you want to check, and check the spelling. When Outlook or Word finishes checking the spelling and grammar, it displays information about the reading level of the document.

We hope this helps. And, we thank you for taking the time to read our blog!

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