According to the Radicati Group, the average number of emails sent and received per user per day is 115. That breaks down to 78 emails received and 37 emails sent. Of the emails received, 13 of them are spam.
Even though the use of texting and social media is increasing, email is still the number one way we communicate in the office.
Three Questions to Ask Before Sending Any Email
As you begin to write an email, ask yourself, “Would I write this e-mail if I knew the person I am writing about would see it?” As I tell my audiences, if the email is especially juicy, you just know that someone will forward it on to them.
Secondly, ask yourself, “Would I write this e-mail if I knew it would be seen five years from now?” Would you want this same email to be seen once you’ve had a chance to cool down? If you have anything emotional to say, do it the old-fashioned way and talk to that person. (Can you believe that one major electronics retailer actually used email to conduct a company-wide layoff?)
Third, ask yourself, “Would I write this email if I knew it would end up on the cover of tomorrow’s edition of USA TODAY?” I read an article in that national publication which contained excerpts of emails going back and forth between an employee and his boss. She was a director of marketing at a major national discount retailer who was allegedly having a romantic tryst with her male subordinate. These email excerpts were provided to the newspaper . . . by the man’s ex-wife. Remember, like diamonds, the contents of your emails are forever.
The Most Important Part of an Email is . . .
The subject line.
No matter how well written the body of your email, the recipient of your email must perceive an immediate benefit if we expect them to even open it. According to Mark Oestreicher, Director of Sales at Farotech, “Most people decide if an email is interesting by previewing it, without opening it, based on the sender’s email address and email subject line.” About 69% of recipients make the decision to click on the “report spam” or “junk” button based on the subject line, according to the Email Sender and Provider Coalition.
In fact, with your subject line, challenge yourself. Like with the writing of a text or a tweet, see if you can convey your entire message in the subject line, then add the acronym EOM (for End Of Message) , and leave the body of the email blank. Your overwhelmed email recipients will love you for it!
Use Font Bolding and Colors
Moving to the body of your email, do not write in paragraphs but use lots of white space. All of us have more limited attention spans. Kevin Gao, CEO and Founder of Com100, states, “Most users aren’t going to read the full text of your email. They’re going to scan it for key points that they may be interested in. Keep your text short (small paragraphs or bullets) and use font bolding and additional colors to highlight words or phrases that you know will be important to your users and clients.”
Remember WII-FM (“What’s In It for Me?”)
If you use emails for marketing, here is another tip from Mark Oestreicher: “Did you know that 80% of email marketers send the same content to all of their subscribers? Our tip: use segmented lists and divide content based on user preferences.”
Here’s a key: An email perceived by the sender to be intended for “everybody” is likely to be opened by almost “nobody.”
Finally, before you hit the “send” button for any email, count up the number of pronouns. The more you’s you have versus the number of I’s, the more “what’s in it for you if you do it my way,” the more often you will find your emails will get opened and read.