Getting people to read emails can be a pain, especially if they go through hundreds of messages per day. Below are some helpful tips on how to make sure emails get opened and read.
Time of Day
An email sent first thing in the morning or late at night has the highest chance of being opened and read. People, especially those in high positions of power, usually start and end their days reviewing the inbox. The assumption is that people get so busy with meetings and other things throughout their day that they reserve quieter hours for email. Sending an email around the middle to end of normal working hours decreases the likelihood of a response because people are focused on completing prioritized tasks by the end of the day. If an introductory or non-urgent message hits their inbox, they’re more likely to ignore or skim past it. Another thing to consider is business hours and/or time zones. If it’s an international company or one with a non-typical schedule, timing an email is ideal to getting in contact.
Emails should be brief and clear, no matter the subject matter. Sending long-winded, convoluted messages will annoy the recipient and increase the likelihood of it being ignored. In-depth conversations should happen over the phone or in person. In additional to the email being concise, it should have a clear call to action. The person receiving the email should understand why they’re being contacted and what the sender expects or desires from them next. Keeping an email simple and straightforward will help insure that it’s both read and gets a response.
The message in itself should be of value to the recipient. Whether it’s concerning a new business deal, an ongoing project or an upcoming event, an email with intrinsic value to the person receiving it will have higher engagement. In contrast, when people open emails that are burdensome, redundant or irrelevant they are less likely to read the message in its entirety and respond to the content. Similar to unsolicited advertisements, unimportant emails won’t see a high open rate.
Subject & From Lines
Subject and from lines have a huge influence on whether or not an email is opened and read. For starters, the subject line should be unique and straightforward. If the wording is something people will skim over quickly or not take much interest in, the message might get deleted. Thinking of creative ways to format the subject line can increase the chances of reader engagement. For example, instead of announcing a morning meeting with “10am Office Meeting” try “Donuts in the Conference Room.” People will notice the email, read it and know about the meeting – just make sure there’s actually donuts! Misleading and deceptive subject lines can hurt the trust in an ongoing relationship and decrease the likelihood of future messages being taken seriously. In regards to from lines, they should be punctuated correctly and properly represent the person or company from which they come.
Before any email is sent, it should be proofread, even if it’s just a quick glance over. Simple misspelling can have a significant impact on the professionalism of a message. It also eliminates anything that might be deemed confusing to a reader. Another consideration is to remove “spam-like” content from the body. Multiple links, attachments and the excessive use of keywords such as “free,” “help,” “x% off” and “urgent” are easily caught by spam filters. Keeping emails free of grammar errors and spam triggers will ensure inbox deliverability.