If you want people to read your emails, respect the limited time they have to process the information. Get to the point, keep it short and make it easy to understand.
In my last post, I shared three tips to save you time (and embarrassment) as you write. This post focuses on three email writing tips to get readers to open your email.
- One Topic per Email: Limit yourself to cover only one topic per email. People understand and respond to a single message quicker. And if the email is forwarded the topic remains focused on that one message, avoiding the confusion of a chain of messages that may not be relevant to other readers.
- Make it Easy to Read: Strive for clarity and brevity. Readers tend to skim long emails, so include only the most essential information. Double space between paragraphs. Use headings, subheadings and bulleted or numbered lists to make your message easier to read and comprehend.
- Purposeful Subject Lines: Compel the reader to open your email with a subject line that includes the two most important pieces of information: desired response and specific topic of your message.
- Consider using a subject line starter phrase that offers quick clarity on the desired response, such as: “Input Needed,” “Action Requested,” “Feedback Needed,” “Info Request,” or “FYI Only.”
- Follow the phrase with a colon and a few words that summarize the specific topic of your email message, for example: “Input Needed: Willis Project Options.”
- And keep your subject line to eight words or fewer.
In other words, focus on the needs of your reader. You’re not writing work emails to entertain – you’re writing emails to be read and to prompt a response.