EMAIL: Empty Messages Averting Me from Your Invitations of Love

12 Feb

It’s Monday morning, and after tapping the snooze button one too many times on my iPhone, I finally arise, grab my phone and check my mail. “Thirty new messages!” I’m already expecting to delete at least half of them. The sad part is that I don’t even bother opening up most of what I delete, and for all I know one of them declared that I won $1,000,000. So why is this a part of my daily routine? And how can I justify continuing this bad habit?

The truth is that as a college student who has two separate email addresses – one for school and one personal – it’s absurd for anyone to expect that I read every word of every email that appears in my inbox. And I know that the reason I scan emails isn’t solely because I’m a lazy college student (even if that’s true…). Everyone is guilty; lawyers, businessmen, even grandparents can’t handle reading all that is presented to them!

The Wall Street Journal recently released an article discussing whether or not disclaimers were necessary in emails. The article concluded that “no one reads these things” and that the disclaimers are totally “pointless, especially ones at the end of emails ordering unintended recipients not to read the text that came before.”

All of this forces me to question, what makes an email worthy of my time and attention? Or better yet, how can I make sure that the emails I send are being read in full?

Tips on Writing an Email That People Will Actually Read:

1) State the purpose of the email in the subject line. This advice seems obvious, but think of how many times you’ve received an email with an obscure subject or none at all. Clearly summing up what the email will be about allows people to understand what’s to come in the message, and for those who don’t need to read it, it makes it a lot easier to discard to the trash.

2) Make sure it doesn’t read like an essay. No one is going to sit down and read your dissertation just to take away that you actually decided to cancel that meeting after all. Besides, didn’t you promise on graduation day that you would never write another essay ever again? Don’t make your twenty-something self hate you.

3) Get out the most important information within the first few lines. You’re lucky that someone actually decided that your subject line made your email significant enough to open. Don’t lose your audience’s attention so quickly by boring them with irrelevant gibberish. If you state what’s crucial early on, your readers will be more likely to last through the rest of the email (since you’ll have tricked them into thinking that the rest of it is just as important!)

Now, I’m no expert, but as someone who is bombarded by pointless emails on a daily basis, I can assure you that just starting with these tips will increase your readership threefold. And if nothing else, at least I helped you figure out a better system of weeding out the spam emails from your inbox. But no, I don’t understand how they keep coming back no matter how many times you try to get off the mailing list!

by Julia Millot

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204409004577157213839856718.html?mod=WSJ_Ahed_AutomatedTypes

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One Response to “EMAIL: Empty Messages Averting Me from Your Invitations of Love”

  1. Jacob Trunsky February 13, 2012 at 1:23 am #

    Julia,

    Thanks for sharing. People are very busy, and following these tips will definitely give your email a greater chance at being opened. I think that email marketing campaigns have the biggest challenge of getting consumers to read their emails. Apple (it seems like we discuss them a lot in this class!) does a great job at making its email appealing and catchy. I found this diagram on what makes emails from Apple so great, and I think that you will find it interesting (http://www.flowtown.com/blog/anatomy-ofan-apple-email?display=wide). Let me know what you think!

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