Inbox overload is a real problem. Each day, intersparced with the emails I get from Groupon, Amazon.com and Zappos about new products and flash sales, I receive long business emails from potential associates and partners. Sometimes, there’s just not enough hours in the day to go through all of it.
So, I’ve compiled a list of patterns that I’ve noticed in the Florida advertising agency world that almost always trigger a response to business emails. Because of the nature of my work, I might be dealing with a marketing executive with limited time, or with a overwhelmed assistant. Here’s what you can do to help improve your business emails response rates.
Make Your Subject Line is Straightforward: If you’re trying to confirm a meeting, it’s incredibly important to include the name, time and location in the subject line. First of all, this is much clearer to your colleague than a general subject line like “today,” plus that person can flag it to easily access it. Also try this when scheduling phone calls and providing notice of events.
Make Sure It’s Important: If you’re asking for feedback on a project that you should be able to handle yourself, then perhaps you can save your superior some time by exercising judgment. [quote] In this present landscape of agile techniques, many companies would rather their employees take risks up front, rather than have to wait months to get anything completed.[/quote] Yes, there is the risk that your superior or colleagues won’t approve, but they’ll forget all about it once you’ve earned them a goldmine. The simple realization that your coworkers’ time is valuable should be enough to help determine when you need a response, and when you don’t.
Respond on the Right Thread: You have two dialogues going on with the same two people; one is about your annual contract renewal and budget, while the other is about a small party you’re hosting. Keeping information organized by replying on the right chain will eliminate the need to have to sort through a hundred emails trying to find the name of the restaurant the client recommended for the event.
Use Proper Grammar and Spelling: Conversational style is ok, but if u r wrting emails w/typos, it can b rly annoying 4 the rdr! u c what I mean? its not hard. thx.
Keep it Brief: Have you ever spent three paragraphs writing something, then realized you could say the same thing in one sentence? Do your reader a favor and revise your message to be clear and concise. A text-heavy email WILL get buried in my inbox, regardless of how important it is.
Ask a Question: If you’re expecting a reply, make sure there’s something to reply to. It’s easy to write “Thoughts?” but if you have specific concepts you’d like your colleague to address, why not save that person time by ask him directly? Asking questions is a smart way to get your reader’s input, and also to also gauge your reader’s interest in the subject matter.
Make Attachments Easy to Open: This seems like a no-brainer, but every time someone shoots me a resume in an unrecognized file format, it’s enough to make me forget about that person during hiring time. You can’t go wrong with a PDF, which stands for “Portable Document Format.” PDFs were specifically designed to be universal, and anyone on any computer with internet access can download Adobe Reader.
Follow these tips, and I can ensure you’ll have a heightened response rate. I encourage the team at our Florida marketing agency to implement these strategies… which is why I ALWAYS reply to my team members’ emails!