How to get people to read your email and respond

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Emails have become an integral part of our life and there are more emails in our inbox than we can handle right now. It becomes worse as grow in our career and life. In all this traffic, how does one get people to read your email and respond? How do you catch their attention when you are one among the many to send them an email?

As a popular CEO says, email habits are in need of “defluffing.”. What he means is that emails are just fluff…a phone call is pure and a better idea. The CEO goes on to say that one needs to write like a very busy person. Be concise and courteous – if we cut short our emails our words will be better understood.

Here are a few more tips which will ensure your email gets read and responded to:

The time when you email, matters

The time when you send the email matters a lot. For example the recipient may be idle in the morning and may respond immediately or if you send an email at 8.30 he/she may be in transit and take a quick browse while waiting at the traffic and forget about it. To get people to read your email and respond my recommendation will be to send them an email before 8.30 am or after 8 pm. If you can crack the email usage pattern of individuals, you are sure to get a response from them for your email.

Sending email on a weekend helps

I feel Monday is the worst time to send emails. On Monday people come into the office pumped up to accomplish a lot of things and hence your email will get a lot less time than what it would have got on other days. I strongly believe that an email sent in the weekend (to somebody who checks his (her) email on weekends) works the best because they have the whole weekend to respond.

Work hard on your email’s subject line

You may have cracked their email usage pattern but what is the point if the recipient doesn’t even open your email. This is why you need a killer subject line for your email – a line which forces the him (or her) to open the email. All recipients evaluate an email’s importance by its subject line so it is an important part of your email. Never ever just send an “Hi!”. Having said that, don’t just type in the whole email in the subject line. Keep the email’s subject brief, relevant and specific to the discussion.

Let the email be about them

This is one of the primary reasons why people don’t respond to cold emails – because 99% of all cold emails first talk about their companies (paragraphs after paragraphs) and then come to what they can do for me. By the time I reach that part of the email, I am bored and done with. For getting people to read and respond to your email make the email about them – In the first paragraph of the email itself tell them what you can do for them. How can they benefit by responding to your email. After that initial pitch, you can go ahead with what all your company does.

Use bullet points instead of paragraphs in your email

Nobody loves to read long emails. I for one, don’t read long, winding emails and hence don’t respond to them. The same holds true with busy CXOs, who have secretaries managing their email. This is the reason when you have a long email being planned it is better to use bullet points. This breaks down the problem (or the solution) for the email reader and empowers him (her) to respond.

Give the recipient time to respond to your email

I check my emails every ten minutes, but everybody doesn’t check their email that regularly. If you are sending an email, give them time to respond. Many don’t respond to their emails immediately. I don’t understand emails sent with the subject ‘Urgent” – if it was that urgent, shouldn’t you be picking up your mobile and calling them?

Always Send a follow-up if they didn’t respond to your email

95% of all the email responses happen within 24 hours of the email sent. If they didn’t respond within 24 hours, your email is as good as forgotten. This is why, you should always have a day of follow up planned just in case they didn’t respond to your email on first attempt.

eMail is a lovely tool. Use it judiciously. Happy connecting guys!

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