Email has become the most common form of communication in virtually all types of business to business, business to customer or customer to business interactions. Regardless of the type of professional communication, creating an email that effectively conveys your message and prompts the reader to send a response is always the goal.
While many people prefer to send emails because it saves the hassle and time of trying to get through by phone, there is also the issue of the receiving individual simply reading and ignoring the email. Or, he or she may put in a file to respond to at a later point, but that point may be days away and you need an answer quickly.
There are some simple yet very effective ways to grab the reader’s attention, convey the message or problem, and get a response. This is true for any type of business or professional email, and you can even use these effective tips for personal emails as well.
1. Create an Informative Subject
To entice anyone to open an email they have to be interested. The way to generate interest is to create an informative subject line. Ideally, try to think of a quick caption for the email that is not more than 5 words or the entire message won’t show on their subject email column from their inbox.
Avoid subjects that look or sound like spam. These subjects could include phrase like:
- I have a question
- I need to hear from you
- Please respond
- Let me help you
For example, with the last bad subject line of “let me help you” if you were marketing a program to make it easier to read and compose emails may want to choose:
- Decrease wasted email time
- Increase email efficiency
- Improve email quality with XYZ
The point is to make the reader want to open the email, even if you may have a problem or an issue you want them to resolve.
2. Limit Your Message to the Essential Information
Businesses and consumers don’t want a lot of personal or irrelevant information in the email. This means you will need to keep it simple, basic and to the point. Think of it as a brief description of the issue, the product, the service or the reason for the email.
If you are marketing using email, the key is to get the reader to return the email to then provide more information based on their response. A full page letter of introduction or a long explanation either in the email or as an attachment is more likely to go unread and not responded to than a short, clear and concise version. Keeping the email to no more than 125 words is a good goal.
3. Use Shorter Sentences and Avoid Highly Technical Terms
Long prose sentences are also a mistake in an email. You need to choose short sentences to avoid confusion and too many details. A good general idea is to think about writing an email for a grade three or four level reader.
This is not to be insulting to the reader, but it makes it very easy to understand the content and the message. Also, avoid a lot of technical terms and jargon, and don’t use abbreviations or acronyms unless you know the reader is familiar with what they mean for their specific industry.
4. Ask Questions that Encourage an Answer
One of the best ways to get a response to an email, particularly if it requires an action on the part of the reader, is to ask simple questions. You should limit the questions to three or people may simply not bother to respond. Don’t ask long involved questions, look for questions that give you the basics of what you need to know
For example, if you have received a defective product and you want to return it your questions could be:
- Can you provide me with an RMA number?
- Can I return this to your retail store?
- What is the address for the return?
5. Don’t be Neutral
If you want to get a response to your email you have to have to tone to the email. It may be a positive tone or a slightly negative tone, but by being either positive or negative, you are more likely to prompt a response.
Keep in mind that being overtly negative is the least likely way to get a response. Instead of saying “this is the worse purchase I have ever made and the product is complete garbage” use “I am very dissatisfied with my purchase and need to return the product”.
6. State your Case
Don’t be afraid to state your case or your position or your desired resolution to the issue. This gives the reader the opportunity to know what you want, which actually makes their life a lot easier.
If they can agree with you, you will usually get a confirmation email. If they can’t, you will more likely get a counteroffer or a request for more information, both which count as a successful response.