Many of us spend a lot of time focused on how the wording in important emails affects the way they are received. From email marketing messages to business inquiries it’s important to ensure the emails we spend time writing are actually read. In order to have the best chance of getting customers to open and read an email, you’ll need to develop and use these five strategies to get your email seen.
1. Check Your Display Name
Your email display name is the most recognizable thing about your email, and catches the eye immediately when the recipient receives the email. In order to stick out from the message crowd in your crowded inbox, you must ensure your display name is set up correctly.
- Always use your full name – including your surname.
- Avoid using generic mailboxes, email addresses or unhelpful ‘From’ names in the sender name field.
- Include a clear signature so that your recipient can easily check which company you’re emailing from if they don’t recognize your name.
2. Word the Subject Line Wisely
Along with the first paragraph of the email, your subject line is crucial in getting your recipient to act. A properly worded subject line has three purposes:
- It grabs the reader’s attention within a split second.
- It describes the action you want the reader to take.
- It makes the message easier to refer back to, or search for.
When writing your subject line, try to accurately summarize your request and convey the importance of the email’s contents within as few characters as possible. A good way to do this is to ask a question in the subject, or start the email subject line with the action you want the reader to take (for example, ‘Reply needed:…’). You may also wish to refer to the recipient by name to give your email an extra personalized touch.
Many email clients also display the first sentence of the email as a preview. Use that sentence in conjunction with your subject line for maximum impact. Also, avoid using any phrases that could potentially look like spam, or trigger an overzealous spam filter. The more specific your language, the better.
3. Use Smart Scheduling
Researchers have studied the best time to send emails, and have tracked response rates on each day of the week. GetResponse studied 21 million messages and found that engagement was higher between 8-10 AM and 3-4 PM. Messages sent during those periods enjoyed a slightly higher open rate.
However, you don’t need to be an expert to understand the psychology behind this technique: simply focus on sending emails when you’re most likely to get the recipient’s undivided attention.
- Look for patterns in your recipient’s emailing habits. If they tend to deal with all of their mail in the afternoon, that’s your best bet for a quick reply.
- Don’t send emails when people are likely to have run out of steam. For example, some experts advise not sending emails on Thursday or Friday afternoon when most people have already started to ‘switch off’ before the weekend. Figures from MarketingGum back this up; they found that messages sent on a Thursday had the lowest open rate, and very few emails were opened on Friday afternoon.
- There is an exception to the Thursday/ Friday rule. According to the same MarketingGum research, you may get a good response on a Thursday or Friday if the contents of your email relate to a weekend task.
- You’ll need to take into account any timezone differences in order to get maximum engagement at the right time of day.
4. Don’t Send Any Further Emails… Yet
The key is to make the task of opening, reading and responding to a message as quick and easy as possible. Sometimes you may feel that you missed an important piece of information and need to send a second email to update the recipient. If you can avoid this, it is better to wait until the recipient has replied to your first email. Too many ‘urgent’ emails can dilute the attention given to the conversation. If you insist that every email is urgent, it can confuse the recipient and make it difficult for them to decide which message is most important.
5. Keep Up the Conversation
Once your recipient has responded, return the favor. If their email requires a response, send it as soon as you’re able to. Not only will this reinforce your reputation as a good communicator, it will inspire confidence in your recipient. They’ll know that you’re reliable and quick to respond to their questions – so, in return, they’ll be more likely to respond to yours right away.