Leaving email marketing and newsletters for another time, let’s focus on getting your professional email correspondence read. First and foremost, if you want your professional emails to be read, stop sending Caturday pictures and chain letters from your business email! Most often when you send a business email it is a quick question, arranging a meeting, replying to help resolve an issue, or sending a necessary document. Outside of these uses, email is generally not the best way to communicate effectively.
We’re going to outline seven quick tips that will get your business emails read and answered.
First, do your homework and know who you are emailing. You will take a different tone and provide different information depending on whether you are communicating with a peer, salesperson, intermediary, or executive. The details of your relationship with the individual matter. If you previously talked with the person, for example making initial contact at a trade show, it is a good idea to add a brief reminder of the context of your previous meeting.
The second aspect of sending a successful email is to project professionalism. You should always be mindful of your tone when writing in general, but in a brief business email it is even more essential to be professional and polite without being overly solicitous. Unlike social media, texting, or instant messaging, Internet slang and emoticons are never acceptable in emailed business correspondence. You can certainly take a conversational tone, but remember your relationship with the recipient and that emails create a permanent record that may not always remain private.
Although we all generally trust that emails will be kept between the recipient and ourselves, it is a good idea to be aware that emails may be filtered through secretaries, forwarded to different departments for specific information, or even accidentally sent to someone other than the intended recipient. As a part of keeping your professional tone, treat your writing as if it will be read aloud to everyone you know – from your mother to your lawyer. When you write your email with this in mind, you will always be able to judge whether what you are writing is appropriate to send or not.
Another writing habit that will help get your emails read and answered is to get right to the point. You are communicating with other busy people and should declare any requests for actions up front. If you need a document sent to you or to arrange a conference call or meeting time, this is information the recipient should know immediately. This way, even if all he or she does is scan the first line of your email at first, the recipient will see the request for action and know that the remainder of the email should be read and that a response should be made. Any requests should be made up front and explicit. This is a highly effective way to get better interaction with your business emails.
According to an infographic by boomeranggmail.com (http://www.pr-online.com/the-truth-about-email-infographic/), the average email user receives 147 messages and spends more than 2 1/2 hours on email per day. Since your recipient is a busy person and is undoubtedly receiving a massive amount of email, it is a great courtesy to limit the length of your emails to no more than five sentences. Your efforts in keeping emails brief and providing straightforward context and details will be appreciated by everyone. People you communicate with often may even prioritize your emails, because they know they can expect a quick, efficient read.
The final two tips for getting your email read and answered are perhaps the most important. The number one way to get your email read is to write a no-frills subject line. Your subject line is your introduction to the reader and should be concrete and descriptive. The subject line “Problems with your invoice” is much more likely to get quick attention than “I received your invoice,” as one demands action and the other seems like a lower priority. Most of all, your subject line should be honest. If your recipient believes he or she was deceived by the subject line, your future emails will receive lower priority or even be sent straight to the spam folder.
Finally, the best thing you can do to ensure your email is read and answered is to carefully read it twice before you send it. Reading your emails multiple times before sending is a great way to proofread and ensure your grammar, spelling, and punctuation are appropriate. It will also give you a chance to slow down and avoid making a poorly-considered statement. You will also be more likely to remember details like attaching files you promised, rather than having to send a follow-up email a few seconds later with the attachments you meant to include the first time.
These seven tips will assist you as you learn to write effective, professional emails that will get the results you need. By carefully considering your language and who the recipient is can help you avoid mistakes and embarrassments. When you write concise, informative emails with good subject lines, you move up the priority list and you are more likely to get your emails read and answered.