Here are few simple things you can do to greatly increase the chances of getting a response to your email that are useful and on time.
1. Make sure that your email has a meaningful Subject.
Before anyone responds to your email, they have to read it… and they need to actually open your email before they can read it.
We all get too many emails these days and the email with the most important/relevant/interesting Subject gets our attention first. Everything else can wait till we have time.
If you need a response from the reader of the email, make sure that the Subject spells out the topic quickly.
A Common Mistake
One common practise that results in many many emails with the wrong Subject:
You want to write to Mr X whose email you don’t have immediately available… so you find an older email from them… and click Reply. You delete out the contents of the email and write what you want to write… but leave the old Subject.
Remember to change the Subject… or use something like Send Guard for Outlook which automatically prompts you if you try and Reply to an email that is too old (you get to decide what is too old)
2. If your email has a deadline then put the actual date/time in the Subject too.
e.g. XYZ Meeting. Please confirm if attending by 3 PM 14-Feb.
This way there is an immediate indicator to the reader if action is required quickly.
Personally I find an actual date/time in the Subject to be much more effective than putting words like URGENT. Too many spammers use those words to try and get action now.
Put in an actual date/time so it is super-obvious exactly when a response is required by.
3. Try not to ask for too many different unrelated things on one email
If it is going to take too much effort (like looking for information not immediately available) to respond to your email then the reader will probably leave it in their Inbox for later… for when they have more time.
Unless it is something that is critical for the reader (as opposed to being important to you), there’s a good chance you won’t get a response… at least not quickly.
I hope you find these tips helpful in getting better responses to your emails. If you have your own tips for getting faster and better responses, please let us know by leaving a comment on the blog.