This article was written by Barry McKinley, SCORE Orange County Business Mentor
The average number of business emails received a day is 121 with estimates that will go to 140 by 2018.Emails continue to be an effective way to communicate with business associates, and potential clients. But because of poor design few get opened, read or acted upon. Developing and sending successful emails is no different than creating an impressive sale pitch. It takes time and some knowledge.
First of all you need to get the reader’s attention (always have a subject), a few attention grabbing examples;
“I’ll be honest with you”
“Let me start with an apology”
“I’ve completed my research for you”
“You’ll think I’m crazy”
“The rumor is true”
The email needs to be short and sweet. More details can be given in a link or after the entire eye-catching facts have been given. Research has shown that long emails don’t get read.
Don’t’ waste space and the readers time on small talk, i.e.“How is your summer going? You’re certainly having great weather”, etc. 65% of all emails are first opened on a smartphone. So for the mobile viewers, keep your paragraphs short and snappy with lots of white space. Using bullet points or a numbered list is very effective.
Be sure in sending your email you use only the receivers name. Group emails instantly sends the message that they are not important and this is going to everybody. The most effective times and days to send emails are 2-5 P.M., Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Mornings, Mondays and Fridays are normally hectic times so the reader has far less time to look at or read your email.
The most effective emails also ask for a response with a deadline, “Let me know by 5:00 tonight”. In sales this is known as the “Call to Action”. Without a deadline it is easy for the reader not to respond, put aside or delete.
Humor can be effective in a business email; the attached example normally gets a response rate of higher than 45%
Subject: Quick Question
I haven’t heard back from you and that tells me one of 3 things;
1) You already chose a different company for this, and if that is the case
please let me know so I can stop bothering you
2) You’re still interested but haven’t had the time to get back
to me yet
3) You have fallen and can’t get up – in that case let me know and
I will call 911
Please let me know which one it is because I am starting to worry . . . Thanks in advance
To summarize how to write effective attention getting emails, follow these simple guidelines;
1. Always use attention getting Subject Headings
2. Send on the days and times that are most effective
3. Don’t list multi receivers
4. Keep it short but interesting
5. Be clear what you are asking for
6. Ask for a response
7. Give the reader a deadline to act
8. Write fewer emails