How to make sure your emails are read the first time?
There’s no denying the importance emails serve in the workplace. Everyone uses email. The effectiveness and ease at which information is shared and stored is a godsend for communication all over the world. The downside? The fact that everyone uses email, we get too many messages every day!
Through the myriad of email messages people receive throughout the day, it becomes easy to gloss over an email without reading it thoroughly. Everyone does it. It’s been reported that 30 percent of employees don’t get around to reading email from their employers.
Blaise Pascal once wrote, “I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” As Pascal effectively points out, writing quality emails takes a bit of time and thoughtfulness. In today’s time-obsessed world where many people feel “there isn’t enough time in the day,” you need every advantage you can muster to ensure your emails get read.
Organize your thoughts
Imagine going to a restaurant, you pick up the menu and see that entrees are placed in the dessert section. You would be confused and ask for clarification. The same applies to email.
Before you begin to do anything, organize your thoughts to help lay out your goals clearly. What are you trying to achieve? Is there a desired action you’re looking for? Jotting down notes for mapping, listing, or outlining purposes can help organize your thoughts.
Take Advantage of Email Structure
Emails have a certain cadence to help readers follow along. You want to guide them through as efficiently as possible. Once you know what you want to write, using the email’s components to your advantage will increase your readership.
Subject lines can make or break who opens your email in an instant. Subject lines should be as direct as possible to engage the recipient’s interest and prompt them to open the email. Using too many exclamation points is not a way to portray importance.
A subject line should include the following clear and actionable words without fillers. I try to eliminate all filler words so the subject can be identified faster.
It’s also important to remember 46% of all “email opens” came from mobile in 2018. Another study found that mobile traffic is up over 200% in the past five years. This gives even more emphasis to concentrate on making that subject line direct and relevant as quickly as possible. You only get 25 to 30 characters on mobile, so make them count.
Have you ever purchased something just because you saw the “Satisfaction guaranteed” marked on the box? This is also how your opening line should feel. You’re guaranteeing someone their time won’t be wasted if they read on.
The opening sentence should follow up the subject heading and prepare the reader for what will come next. Email has a cadence that readers follow along with. It’s your job to lead them along as efficiently as possible.
The Rest of the Email
Now that you have the reader intrigued, it’s time to deliver your message. Focus on clear and precise verbiage that won’t detract from your goals. Remove filler words and sentences that will only add length to the message.
Email is meant to be to a time-saver. Don’t add extra paragraphs that could be better served in another format, such as a face to face meeting. People that open emails are expecting to get in and out in a hurry. Remember, people don’t read emails that are too long.
Proofread! Out loud if you need to.
Professionalism demonstrates what kind of worker you are. Leaving grammar and spelling mistakes will show a great deal on how much you care about the email to begin with. This doesn’t translate well to the people you sent the email to.
Besides grammar, you also need to keep an eye out for tone. Email messages can be taken literally by those that view it. If you’re asking someone to do something for you and you mix in some all caps to spell something out, this can be viewed as shouting at them. Ensure every sentence is composed with thought and care.