Most of us receive hundreds of emails a day and so do our clients and customers. That’s the main reason why messages can get lost or ignored in the email shuffle.
Here are ten tips to keep in mind if you want to make a good impression and increase the likelihood that your emails will get a response.
1. Make your subject line specific.
Just like you read a headline before deciding to click on an article, recipients evaluate an email’s importance by its subject line. Keep the subject brief, relevant and specific. After meeting someone for the first time, I always try to include their first name in the subject line and how I know them. For example, ‘Hi Ron, we met at the charity fundraiser last Saturday,’ is more eye-catching than, ‘Following up,’ or ‘Great meeting you.’
Related: When to Call and When to Email
2. Keep it brief.
Most people are time deprived and don’t enjoy reading long and laborious emails. Stick to the topic at hand. If you have a lot of information to discuss, you’ll save time by calling the person instead. For informal communication, it’s more efficient to use the subject line only. ‘Free for lunch tomorrow?’ Then add (EOM) to the end of the subject line — short for ‘end of message’.
3. Include bullet points.
Whenever you have a list of specific questions, try using bullet points. This will make your email easier to read and easier for the recipient to respond.
4. Praise the person.
When emailing someone you don’t know well or a VIP, it’s helpful to include where you met, who referred you, or how you know that person. For example, when I get an email that reads, ‘Dear Jacqueline, I enjoyed reading your book, Poised for Success. Please send me more information about your seminars.’ I am more apt to respond quicker than if a person writes, ‘Hi, please send me more information about your seminars.’
5. Simmer down.
It’s important to be aware of how you come across in an email. As the saying goes, ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.’ In other words, think twice before sending a harsh message. If you’re angry, upset or frustrated, take time to cool down. Remember, messages may be copied, forwarded or printed so don’t send anything you might later regret.
Related: For the Love/Hate of Email
6. Double check for typos.
Before you click the ‘send’ button, proofread your email. Keep an eye out for errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation. For a more important email, read it aloud to be sure it conveys exactly what you want to say. A poorly composed email can make you appear unprofessional, careless or uneducated.
7. Guard email addresses.
If you must send an email to a large group of people, be sure to respect the privacy of the recipients. If the recipients aren’t acquainted, use the ‘BCC’ option — blind carbon copy. That way, the only email to appear will be that of the sender.
8. Don’t abuse the ‘reply all’ feature.
While the ‘reply all’ feature can be useful, it can also frustrate and anger those who don’t need to receive the reply. Reply only to those who need a response.
9. Ask permission before sending large attachments.
Many people loathe having their email bogged down with lots of photos and huge attachments. Get permission from the recipient before sending large files or use a file sharing service such as Dropbox.com.
10. Give the recipient time to respond.
Some people don’t check their email multiple times a day. If you need a quick response, pick up the phone and call or use keywords such as, ‘PLEASE READ THIS’ or ‘URGENT,’ in the subject line to help the recipient identify important messages easily.
Above all, mind your manners.
The most important things are those we learned when we were children. When you ask for something, say ‘please.’ When someone gives you something or does something special for you, say ‘thank you.’ Your online reputation is a part of your personal brand. That’s why The Golden Rule never goes out of style: treat others the way you would like to be treated.
Related: Social Media Manners