People get a lot of email at work. When you send an email, it becomes one of many that clutter up a person’s inbox. But, naturally, you want your email to be seen and read, preferably in a timely manner. What can you do to make sure your email receives the attention it deserves? Setting it up the right way will definitely help make sure the recipient reads it and responds.
Here are a few tips on how to do that.
1. The Subject Line
For many, the subject line is a throwaway, a placeholder to fill up with the first thing that pops into your head. But it is a mistake to see it this way. This is the first thing that the recipient will see, so it needs to be carefully written.
Research has shown that one-third of those looking at email decide whether to read the message simply by what is in the subject line.
The subject line is important for several reasons. First, it tells the reader exactly what is coming, what is in the email. For example, if he or she sees “Marketing Report Outline,” he knows what will follow. Second, a good subject line can help to generate interest, especially if you are sending it to someone you have not met. And third, it can help the reader establish priorities depending on how urgent it is.
What you need to avoid are words like “urgent” and “reply needed” because these have become staples of marketers and scammers and so have lost their force. Try to be more specific, like saying, respond by Tuesday by email.
In general, keep subject lines short, make every word count, don’t capitalize every letter or use too much punctuation.
Although informal, it should not be too offhand or casual. Keep things professional. Starting off with, “Hi, Tom” is preferable to “Hey Tom what’s up bro?”
3. The Body
Keep it short. The reader probably won’t take the time to look through a long email anyway. Take the time to organize your thoughts so that your email is organized as well. Put together an outline if needed.
Get to the point quickly, with just the most important information. Skip the details and long explanations. If you want to include more detailed information, include it as an attachment.
Avoid the bells and whistles. You don’t need graphics or fancy fonts. Stick to a standard 11- or 12-point font and black text.
Write the email like a business letter, with double spacing between paragraphs and no indentation.