How To Write An Email That Gets Opened And Read
Do you write emails? Do you read them? Does the other person read what you write? Yes, yes and a big fat maybe. There are 2 reasons for this. One, you're not good at writing emails. And two, the massive volume of emails people get...
"In 2016, the number of business and consumer emails sent and received per day will total over 215.3 billion. And that's expected to grow at an average annual rate of 4.6% over the next four years, reaching over 257.7 billion by the end of 2020."
The email you send is junk by most standards. There's no thought behind it. There's no purpose. No formatting. Just a giant block of text. It's ugly and hard to read.
How to write an email that gets opened and read
Let's first continue down this path of why your emails never get read. Then we'll run through a few strategies to make them better.
You send emails without a purpose. Sure you have something to say. Or something to forward. But you don't think about what you're sending the other person...or how it'll take up space in their inbox.
Your subject lines are hideous. They're vague. You give no thought to it.
Here's some bad examples:
- Meeting Minutes
- Check this out
- FW: [Random forward without explanation]
- Need your help!
- [Your product name]
No formatting. You send your email as a block of text. Do you know how difficult that is to read? I delete emails like this 95% of the time.
No Call To Action (CTA). What was the point of the email? You just sign-off? What do you need the other person to do? Was it just an FYI?
5 quick tips to write better emails that get read
You first need to understand the acronym, WIIFM (that almost sounds like a sneeze when you read it fast). It stands for "Whats In It For Me." I'm sure you've heard it before. But seriously, when you send an email, WIIFM? What's in it for the person you're sending the email to?
Be sure you understand this before you click send. This applies to any email. Whether you're in sales, purchasing, whatever. If you know what's in it for them, then you have an advantage of getting a reply. Yay!
Email Subject Lines
If I knocked on your door and didn't introduce myself, would you open it? I'd hope not. The same is true for email. The subject line is what the recipient sees first. Make it clear, concise and short.
Here's some good title example:
- Leadership Meeting Minutes from April, 26.
- Client Discussion - It'll Take 5 Min. 3pm?
- What's the status on x?
- Contract decision meeting - read these resources prior
- Prep. work for Q3 planning session
The title doesn't have to be complicated. Just clear and concise. Don't make people guess what you want. Sure, you've probably read email marketing articles on the best subject lines with the highest open rates, but don't overthink it.
Just do what I say. Be clear and concise.
Email Body Copy
The body is your chance to explain in better detail what your title couldn't.
Just like the title, your body needs to be clear and concise. Less than 5 - 6 sentences and two paragraphs. Yes, this may take some extra thinking on your part but the goal is to get a reply, right?
A huge mistake most people make is throwing up text in the email composer. Formatting plays a very important role. Use bullets or numbers, bold important points, and underline headers.
Use formatting to make your email easier to read.
Call To Action
What's your call to action?
Does the recipient need to reply? Do they need to do something? Is your email just an FYI. Regardless of your answers to these questions, every email needs a call to action.
Here are some examples you'll use right above your signature:
- I need to make my decision by tomorrow. Please reply with your thoughts sometime today.
- Please send me the client file by 3pm on Tuesday.
- Which day can you discuss these 3 ideas, either Tuesday or Friday, at 6pm?
- No reply needed. I wanted to send this your way so you're on the same page for our meeting.
The follow-up for an email is one of the most neglected aspects of an email. Why? Because no one does it.
If you send an email and need a reply, but don't get one, what do you do? You follow-up!
Part of the problem with following up is remembering.
Use a simple technology to help you remember to follow-up, there's plenty of tools. Tweet me if you'd like a recommendation. Or, just write it down on a piece of paper and title the page, FOLLOW-UPS.
Email isn't going anywhere but the mess in peoples inbox is going to get worse. Be the one who they want to open an email from.
And so you don't have to go crazy, print the below quick tip sheet and put it on your desk. Do that now.
And until next time...