March 24, 2015

Did You Read My Email? Tips To Increase Your Email Read and Response Rate

email photoDo you ever wonder if an email recipient actually reads your whole email? We’re not talking a sales email, just a business correspondence that requires an action or some type of response. It appears that the attention span of many of those in corporate rivals that of a child opening gifts on their birthday – open a gift, look at it, open another, repeat, go do something else.

This is not only frustrating for the sender, but it also strikes at the heart of two important topics in corporate – communication and teamwork. If the email is about a customer issue, then you just hit on the third big corporate issue – customer service. To aid you in having your business emails read and the information supplied capturing the attention of the recipient to elicit a response, here are a few tips:

Subject Line:
Internet marketing experts know that keywords are crucial. Keywords are short 3- 4 word descriptions of your site and not only allow search engines to index and list your site, but also are the words that appear on Google or Bing that will catch your attention and get you to click on a certain site. Those in the book and newspaper industry know that they must grab you with the title or you’ll never buy the book or read the article. Therefore, use the same strategy for your emails. Put the main keywords of your email into the header. For example: Subject: Need your answer on XYZ project today” is more effective than “XYZ Project.” Keep the subject line short. If you need immediate action use “Action Item” in front of main message, then put keywords after, such as “Action Item: Need answer on XYZ Project today.”

Keep it Short:
Winston Churchill once said, “I’m going to make a long speech, because I’ve not had the time to prepare a short one.” Every professional speaker knows that the creation of a long speech takes far less time than that of a short one, because for a short speech, every word counts. In your email – every words counts!

While condensing your information into the smallest amount of words takes time, it does improve the odds of it being read in its entirety. Write out your email and look for ways to edit as much as possible, so that the main message is clear and concise. Aim for two to three short paragraphs. Contain the most important part of your message in the first paragraph, as most people will skim over your email, if it’s too long or has too many paragraphs.

Never Ask More Than 2 Questions:
If you ask more than 2 questions, there’s a good chance that none will be answered or only one, at the most, forcing you to send another email to the receiver. If you need to explain something and then ask a question, position the question into a separate paragraph. If you have more than 2 questions, you can put them in bullet point; however, the receiver will generally only answer the easiest question, forcing another email to get a complete answer.

Call to Action:
If you need an answer or a response from the receiver, in addition to placing the words “Action Item” in your subject line, place a call to action statement at the end of your email such as, “Please respond to this email,” or ‘If you would please respond to these questions as soon as possible, it would be appreciated.” After this statement you can place your “Thank you,” “Regards,” etc.

Think advertising and marketing – there is always some call to action, because people need to be reminded that they need to act. If you are looking for an answer or a response, it helps to make sure that the receiver knows this. The receiver may still not respond, but the chances of them doing so is a bit higher.

Signature Box:
Make sure you have your complete information in your “signature box” – where your name and company info should be. Include a phone number and any other appropriate contact information. Watch any corporate logos, as they can sometimes (due to the large number of firewall providers) send an email to a spam folder – despite what your company’s tech person says. True, if you’re sending an email to a co-worker, they already know who you are; however, adding appropriate information in your signature box not only looks more professional, but it can also provide additional information that may grab the attention of the reader.

The Power of the CC:
You can follow these tips and still not receive a reply, which is extremely frustrating. Most recipients aren’t any busier than you, but many are disorganized or lack professionalism. Sometimes the recipient doesn’t have an answer, so your message is ignored. In a perfect world, he/she should still get back to you to let you know your email has at least been received.

If your email is vitally important – like a customer needs an answer – and you find yourself having to resend it, you may need to CC someone else, when you send the second or repeat email. After all, we know that nearly 50% of corporate work is reverse documentation, so why should your important emails be any different? Obviously, restraint is required for this tip. You can always pick up the phone (remember the telephone?) and call the person with whom you need to speak.

Do Unto Others:
Make sure that you get back quickly to those who email you. You can’t complain about others, if you’re guilty of the same offense.

As a funny motivational speaker and funny keynote speaker, I send a ton of emails. By following these tips, I have found that I receive a higher response rate, than when I don’t. Therefore, these tips may also increase the chances of your emails being read and replied to… even by those in the corporate world.

©2015Bob Garner. All Rights Reserved. You may use this article, but you must use the byline and author resource. Contact Bob Garner at http://www.bobgarneronline.com.

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