Follow up email is a standard practice in all sales strategies. As simple as it sounds, it can be quite a daunting task for salespeople.
Many people assume that they spend most their time at work attending meetings or answering phone calls, but that's not always the case. Today, email has become one of the primary communication methods for businesses, with the average worker spending over four hours per week answering messages.
Because of this, it’s necessary to craft engaging, straightforward emails that don’t waste the recipient’s time and encourage a quick email response. In this article, we’ll share some useful business email tips that will help your messages stand out in a crowded inbox.
1. Write Descriptive Subject Lines
The subject line should reveal why the email is being sent, encouraging the recipient to open the message and send an email response. Subject lines should be concise – if the subject line is clearly written, it’s likely that the email body will be straightforward, too. Avoid full sentences when writing a subject line.
There also are a few phrases to avoid when crafting an email subject line. Simply using “Following up” is too vague and won’t necessarily elicit a response. A better example of a subject line would be “Following up regarding the 6/1 meeting.”
2. Get to the Point
When writing the opening lines of an email, you may be tempted to elaborate on your company’s credentials or achievements. However, the first few lines of an email should convey only what is being asked of the recipient.
An effective message typically includes:
- An opening greeting
- The reason for emailing
- Important details
- A call-to-action
- A closing greeting
Using this simple format is considerate toward the recipient which encourages a prompt email reply.
3. Use Simple Language
Incorporating complicated language or industry jargon may cause the recipient to close the message before creating an email response. If your sentences use more than one comma, consider breaking them down into multiple sentences. Emails that are easy-to-understand are much more likely to receive a reply.
4. Utilize Numbers
Using numbers and statistics in your message can be a great way to attract the recipient’s attention and elicit an email response. Typically, numbers written as numerals allow the reader to quickly scan the information (i.e., writing “21” instead of “twenty-one”). Numbers also lend credibility to your message, compelling the recipient to open it and send a reply.
5. Keep It Short & Sweet
A five-year analysis of company emails revealed that short emails result in faster reply times. Sending shorter emails can benefit you and the recipient, allowing you both to spend less time viewing and sending emails. The ideal email message length will vary depending on your industry, but most messages should be less than 200 words. Keeping your emails below that target is a good place to start.
6. Try Using Bullet Points
Bullet points and numbered lists are excellent tools for organizing your email’s structure. Here are a few reasons why:
- Bullet points do not require full sentences, so you can convey a message using fewer words.
- Bullet points break up your email’s formatting, which helps maintain the recipient’s attention.
- Lists help outline steps in a process which is helpful when writing emails about meetings or objectives.
7. Answer Your Recipient’s Questions
While the subject of your email may be important to you, that doesn’t always mean that the recipient finds it relevant. It’s essential to answer the question “So what?” when writing a business email. When you provide the reason for asking someone to help you or do something, it’s more likely that the recipient will say “yes.”
To do this, we recommend using the word “because.” Psychological studies have shown that using “because” allows readers to understand the impact that their response will have. This makes them more likely to comply with your request.
8. Create a Clear Ask
Clearly stating what you need from your recipient makes it easier for him or her to write an email answer. In addition to incorporating the email structure listed in Step 2, we recommend writing a memorable final line. Whether you’re asking the recipient to attend a meeting, edit a document, or send you a file, the final line should clearly outline what’s being requested.
9. Know When Email Isn’t Appropriate
Email isn’t always the best method of communication. Complex topics and time-sensitive matters may warrant a conference call, virtual chat, or an in-person meeting. If you require multiple paragraphs to complete your message, it’s probably time to take the communication offline.
Send a meeting invitation to all parties involved and include any questions you have in the event description. This allows recipients to prepare their responses ahead of time, ensuring a productive meeting.
Sending email truly is an art. While colleagues and other contacts whom you contact frequently may forgive the occasional typo, proofreading is key when creating emails. Remember – all communication reflects your brand, so you want to make a great impression with each message.