Subject. Body. Send. The fundamentals of email are easy enough, so why do we find ourselves having an anxiety attack each time we meet a blank document with a recipient box and a blinking cursor?
Whether you’re sending out a resume, making a pitch to a potential client, or struggling to overcome a sudden bout of writer’s block, we’ve put together a handy guide to take the heart attacks out of emailing.
Does My Message Matter?
Before you even open Outlook, Google, or Yahoo, ask yourself one simple question: does my message warrant an email? Moreover, if you’re sending out a newsletter, promo, or press release, make sure you’re providing truly valuable information to your recipients.
According to the Radicati Group, by 2019 more than 246 billion emails will be sent and received daily. With that being said, do you want yours to land with the stack that end up in the trash?
Have a Professional Email Address
If you still have your AOL account, that’s awesome. Maybe someday they’ll even become popular again like vinyl, but as for your professional email address, you should lay your screen name to rest.
If you’re sending out emails from your personal email address, think about including your name and middle initial. It’s professional, non-offensive, and still gives the receiver an idea of who you are before opening the email.
Be sure to eliminate extraneous numbers, initials, or symbols. Lastly, ditch nicknames, political references, religious verbiage, and offensive language.
What Makes a Good Subject Line
A high-quality subject line can mean the difference between a thorough read and an immediate trip to the trash. For that reason, be sure to keep it clear and concise.
Your subject line should not only inspire the reader to open your email, but also to reply. Let the receiver know that you will be addressing their concerns or inquiring about a specific question, topic, etc. Research by Madhu Gulati suggests that emails with shorter subject lines—about six to 10 words—boost opening rate by as much as 5%.
Voice, Tone, and Vernacular of an Email
Emails are known for being quick and convenient, but this should not take away from your professionalism. To ensure you make a good impression on your reader, it is imperative that you proofread your email for proper spelling, punctuation, grammar, excessive word mirrors, and redundant writing ticks.
If the email is of a make-it-or-break-it nature, find someone to help you edit. All too often we read what we thought we wrote, not what actually made it onto the page. Remember, emails are easily forwarded, duplicated, and printed, which means any careless mistakes can easily come back to haunt you.
Avoid speaking poorly about any colleagues, organizations, or even competitors. Additionally, while it doesn’t necessarily stop the inappropriate duplication or forwarding of emails, consider including a clause in the footer of your email. This should state that the disclosure, copying, or distribution of the contents within your electronic communication is strictly prohibited can help.
How Long Should an Email Be?
Recipients should not feel like they are encompassed in the manuscript of your debut novel while reading your email. Research by BoomerangApp found that 50-125 words in an email is the sweet spot for yielding a response.
People, especially those in the tech industry, do not have the time (or the patience) to read through long, monotonous emails. If you’re aiming for those recipients to hit reply or take action, make sure your message is direct and to the point. Moreover, be sure to include the purpose of the email within the first two sentences of the introduction.
How Long Should I Wait to Respond to an Email?
Do your best to respond to emails as soon as you can. Anything after 48 hours begins to irritate the sender. Remember, you’re writing an email, not a message to be delivered by carrier pigeon a fortnight later.
What Time is Best to Elicit a Response?
According to a study by software provider Yesware, emails sent in the early morning hours and in the evening are more likely to be opened by 45%. Moreover, Tuesday is the best day to send an email, according to a study by marketing platform GetResponse, yielding the highest open and click-through rates.
Still have chest-pounding heart palpitations when confronting your inbox? According to author Jocelyn Glei, this could be because email’s nonverbal nature lacks the social feedback (think movements, facial cues, and tone) of face-to-face interactions.
The inherent black and white features of email takes some of the positivity out of communication and instead fills that void with anxiety. Glei says, “If the sender felt positive about an email, then the receiver usually just felt neutral. And if the sender felt neutral about the message, then the receiver typically felt negative about it.”
To avoid this blasé communiqué, experiment with the use of colorful diction in your email that is sure to evoke emotion. A study by Boomerang showed that positive and negative feeling words such as fantastic, awful, enthusiastic, and furious can increase an email’s response rate by 10% to 15%.
Still having email writing woes? Click the button below to contact Ethos Copywriting for editing, writing, and email marketing services.