Top 5 Effective Email Writing Tips to Get Readers to actually read your Email
Submitted by: Kristin Lohfeld
1. SHOW SOME LOVE TO THE SUBJECT LINE
This is the most important part of your email! In a split second, the reader will decide whether or not the email is worth opening up based on what the subject line says. Of course, don’t create a fictitious subject line that has nothing to do with the body of the email just so they’ll open it, or you risk having the reader disregard future emails from you.
- Choose very brief and succinct wording that captures the essence of the email.
- Update the subject line in the reply strings to reflect changes in the email conversation.
- Feel free to use callouts in all caps followed by a colon and then the subject such as:
FYI: Updated Benefits Information
FOLLOW-UP: Customer weekly meeting feedback
INFO REQUEST: Customer briefing – team metrics
2. PUT THE BOTTOM LINE FIRST
The biggest error in writing an email (and especially a lengthy one) is waiting until the very last sentence or paragraph to call out the actionable item or request. Instead, as odd as it may seem at first, put what important information or action request you want the reader to know or do in the very first sentence.
3. USE PARAGRAPHS AND BULLET POINTS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
When conveying more than one idea/topic or giving out instructions, rather than writing one continuous, long paragraph, break up the email into topics or trains of thought. If you are listing items or instructions, use bullets or numbering.
4. RUN A SPELL CHECK AND GRAMMAR CHECK
Turn on the auto correct or auto spellcheck feature. Be sure to review your email for spelling errors BEFORE hitting “Send.” If the email is a very sensitive or critical, there is nothing wrong in asking someone else to review it for clarity and grammar. Remember, grammar check cannot correct poor choice of words or the tone of your email.
5. KEEP FONTS AND FORMATS SIMPLE
Stick with one easy-to-read font such as Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri. Using multiple fonts and too many colors muddies the “look” of the email and actually makes it more difficult to read. When separating your email into paragraphs (See #3), instead of using bold, underline, a colon, AND different colors, you should only choose one method to have your paragraph pop.
Remember that once a reader opens your email, they spend probably less than a minute scanning and reading your email. Grab their attention to get your point across or to request an action to be taken by taking the time to write an effective email.
Oh, and by the way…remember the Grandma Rule: If you wouldn’t say it or show it to Grandma, then don’t write it! Once sent, emails live on as permanent documents no different than a printed Word document and can be forwarded to unintended audiences.