Email has been around for well over a decade and is a valuable tool that most of us use daily. Because so much of our business communications are done via email, it’s incredibly important to hone effective communication and email skills. Although it’s a great tool, it can be difficult to convey emotion or to build rapport – especially with people you have never met in person or whom you communicate with primarily via email.
The emails we send are seen as a reflection of us and affect our reputation with those we communicate with. Be aware of the tone and image you are conveying and use the tips below to keep your email communications in top shape.
A quality subject line is crucial and often determines whether an email will get opened or not. Try to keep it short and to the point – if you need a quick response or want something done, make sure to identify that in the subject line. Using introductory phrases like “Action Required:” or “Decision requested by X date:” will help busy executives prioritize your email to answer.
People often receive hundreds of emails each day. Take an extra minute to write up a subject line that catches the reader’s attention and won’t get overlooked.
Short and sweet is the way to go
By keeping emails short and concise you make them easier to read and respond to. Be clear about what you’ll say before you begin to write and state the purpose of your email in the first sentence or two.
We’ve all opened an email only to see multiple dense paragraphs and felt instantly overwhelmed. Make sure you aren’t including excess information or asking too many questions at once. If a long email can’t be helped, include a short summary at the beginning that outlines the content and restate any action items at the end.
It’s often helpful to bold the specific request you have in a long email so it stands out clearly.
Improper grammar and spelling aren’t easily overlooked
This is true especially for your subject line – according to Boomerang – an email productivity software provider – just one typo in the subject line can decrease response rates by 15%!
Errors can have detrimental results although they are often very easy to fix. If you’re sending out an important email, proofread at least twice to avoid careless mistakes. Save your email as a draft and come back to it later for a final review before sending it. It’s so easy (and common) to shoot off an email only to realize that something was misspelled or that a promised link or attachment is missing.
A case of the Mondays
The folks at Boomerang have found that Mondays are the worst day of the week to send out emails. Not only do emails sent on Mondays contain the most grammatical errors, they also have the most negative message tone of any day of the week. You might want to hold off on emailing for a day or two – it looks like there’s a steady increase in positive tone over the course of the week (with weekend emails being the happiest).
The lesson? Pace yourself, especially on Mondays, and take the extra few minutes to proofread and check the tone of your message.
Do email closings really matter that much?
Yes! The closing of an email is the last point of contact the reader has with you and it can have a powerful effect on response rates. According to Boomerang’s analysis, there are certain endings that deliver even higher response rates than many other popular closings.
Turns out that emails which closed with a variation of “thank you” had a significantly higher response rate:
Don’t forget your signature
Always include an email signature. If you don’t already have one, it’s easy to set up and gives the recipient your pertinent contact information. It also gives you a chance to include a picture or logo and social media and website information. Always include your phone number so it’s easy for people to call or text you!
Take one last look at everything and make sure to proof the email address of the recipient before hitting send. Even better? Make a habit of adding the email address at the very end to also ensure that you don’t accidentally send the email prematurely.
Do you have any great tips on writing effective emails? Share them with us in the comment section below, we’d love to hear from you!
Until next time,
About the Author
Olivia Dippon is the marketing coordinator for ThinkResults where she is responsible for the social media, website and speaker program. She also assists with client projects, such as the new positioning for an entertainment tech company.