By Alison Hardy, Digital Marketing Specialist, TP3
Not so long ago, email put me in the doghouse.
I annoyed a former colleague by unintentionally failing to act on an emailed request from her. “I did send you an email about it…” she grumbled as I quickly filtered through the long pile sitting obstinately in my inbox.
Yes, there it was. Buried in amongst a heap of other requests for my attention was her email titled work plans. Inside, at the end of a long wandering paragraph, was the important request for action I’d missed. Oops.
The trouble with email
The biggest problem with email is that we get so much of it.
Most of it’s business-related - accounting for over 108.7 billion emails that are sent and received each day. Business users send and receive an average of 121 a day and this is expected to grow by more than 15% by 2018 (source: Radicati Group - Email Statistics Report 2014-2018).
That’s a lot of chatter competing for attention in the inbox, and it’s set to get worse. To get your communication noticed you need to ensure your emails are at the top of their game.
3 ways to improve the impact of your email communications
By following a few simple guidelines, your email stands a better chance of commanding attention and getting the results you need.
1. Have a clear purpose and intended outcome
Before you fire up a blank email and start typing, know why you’re emailing and what you want the end result to be.
- Are you just circulating information or do you require action?
- Is email the even most appropriate channel? Sometimes it’s better to have the conversation in person or over the phone than playing email ping pong.
2. Write an appropriate and effective subject line
Which part of the email strikes you first and influences whether you’ll open it or not? The subject line.
- Be specific with your subject line to encourage the recipient to read what’s inside
- Don’t try to be smart or funny - you’ll just annoy busy people
- Get straight to the point - “Timesheet for approval by 5pm Friday” is better than “Please sign this”
3. Lay out the content for quick and easy reading
If you want the recipient to absorb the information in your email and take action, write clearly and concisely.
- Organise the content into logical chunks of text with descriptive headlines
- Draw attention to action items
- Keep sentences short
- Use plain and simple language
- Leave out any unnecessary words or phrases
By following these simple tips, you’ll improve the quality and responsiveness of your business emails straight away.
If you struggle with getting your message understood and want more detailed advice, we can help. Join our course Writing Effective Email and you’ll be confidently sending better business emails that get the results you want in no time!