Are your emails read – or dead?

Did you know that the average white collar worker gets around 100 emails per day? That’s not to mention a sole trader running a knowledge-based business like mine, who gets around 200 a day? An SME entrepreneur who probably gets 200-300 or more?

Email correspondence grows exponentially every year making it harder to get yours opened & acted on. Here are the latest tips…

And did you know that 79 percent of emails don’t even get opened? Now do you see how critical it is to make your emails as open-friendly as possible?

Here’s the latest on how to stand the best chance of getting your mails opened and acted upon…

Personalise the subject line if you know the person

No matter how old a trick it is, using someone’s name and a direct approach will attract their attention for a few nano-seconds longer than the bald statement will. So a subject line that reads:

Anna: please take a quick look at these figures

…is likely to be opened more quickly by Anna than if it reads

Figures for prompt perusal 

Do not personalise the subject line or salutation if you do not know the person

Email systems offer foolproof gizmos for matching in first names. Do not believe them. Ever. Although you might get lucky with 9 out of 10 correct matches, number 10 might be someone who would have bought from you if you hadn’t spelled their name wrong.

If you don’t think it matters, just you try spamming me with a subject line or salutation that starts Susan, Suz, Mrs Stumaur or Mr St Maur.

USE ALL CAPITALS OCCASIONALLY in the subject line, but be brief

I know that’s flipping the bird to convention and online etiquette, but it damned-well works, especially to someone you know.

Because nearly all the other emails someone gets in their inbox will be in upper and lower case, one short one in all caps sticks out like a zebra in a herd of Shetland ponies – so gets noticed.

Keep it down to 6 words or less though. All caps only look clear in a short phrase or sentence – they run into a blur if there are more words.

If you want someone to phone you, put the number in the subject line

Everybody now suffers from lazy fingers and if all you want is the person to call you, they can do it right away without opening the email or scrolling down.

Forget the emojis

Given that emails need to be short, don’t clutter yours up with gurning faces or ditzy hearts. The occasional one to suggest laughter is probably better than LOL, but only one, OK?

Keep it short, short, short

I am the worst for writing emails that are too long. I imagine that I’m speaking to the person and gabble on wearing out my fingernails on stuff the recipient probably never will read.

Especially for business emails, keep everything short and to the point. No frills, no asides, and include a ‘call to action’ – i.e. what you want the recipient to do next.

And most important of all, just one topic per email

Have you ever noticed how, if you email a busy person, they will get back to you and/or act on the first topic you write about – and then appear not to have noticed your points 2 and 3?

That’s because when going through their emails people tend to get stuck on the first point and the forget to go back and check if there was anything more for them to deal with. It happens to me a lot, and I don’t think that’s just because I hang out with lots of other crazy writers and publishers.

It’s human nature – and good practice – to focus on one thing at a time. So if you have three important issues to discuss with your recipient, it’s better to send three emails – one about each issue. Try it and see!

What other tips do you have about getting your emails opened and acted upon?

Please share!