10 Reasons Why No One is Reading Your Emails

Matthew MacLachlan

26 Oct 2016

How often do you hear people complain that their inbox is overflowing? Or how many colleagues have told you that they delete most emails they receive without even opening them?

Discover why no one is reading your emails and how to get them read!

Reading Your Emails: What It Takes

reading your emails


If your subject line is vague or uninteresting you risk your email not even being opened

When writing emails we need to consider very carefully how we can ensure that our emails are among the few that do get opened, read and actioned.  Try these simple tips to help make sure your emails get read.

1. Write an Eye-Catching Subject Line

If your subject line is vague or uninteresting you risk your email not even being opened.  Your subject line should be direct and specific and include details such as time and place if appropriate. ‘John Smith recommended I contact you’ is better than ‘Your help required’.   ‘Networking Event’ is vague but ‘What are you doing on Thursday at 5 pm? might grab your reader’s attention.

2. Get your Timing Right

It’s not only about what you write but also when you send your email that can make a difference.  Opinions vary and it might depend on the type of email you are sending but avoid very busy times like Monday mornings or sending over the weekend when your email might easily get overlooked.  During the middle of the morning, mid-week is said to be one of the best times to get your email read.

3. Start with the “What’s in it for me?”

At the very start of your email you need to give your reader a strong reason to continue reading or in other words the ‘what’s in it for me?’  What are the benefits to them of reading on? What will they get or how will their life become easier?  So don’t make your email all about you but instead about them – identify potential challenges and then offer solutions.

4. Ask Questions

If you ask rather than tell you are more likely to engage with your reader and get them thinking.  Your email will read more like a two-way conversation than a directive or a pitch.

5. Make Requests Not Demands

Similarly, you will get a better response if you make suggestions rather than demands – in other words ask nicely, if you are trying to get a meeting ‘If you have some free time next week, I would love to buy you a coffee’ might work better than ‘let’s meet next Thursday and I will give you a short presentation of my product’.

6. Make the Layout Attractive

Using lots of white space, clear paragraphs, headings and bulleted lists will make your email easier on the eye and more likely to get read and digested.

7. Keep it Short And Simple

Long emails are a turn off for busy readers; keep your email short and to the point.  Use simple, reader-friendly language and avoid the temptation to provide unnecessary background information.  Always try to make sure your content doesn’t continue ‘below the fold’, i.e. make sure the recipient does not need to scroll down.

8. One Objective per Email

How many times have you sent an email combining questions about several topics and then felt frustrated when you only receive an answer to one?  The reality is that many people will only scan your email to see what it’s about so if additional questions or information are buried further down you risk them not being seen.

9. End with a Clear Call to Action

There is nothing worse than reaching the end of an email none the clearer as to what the sender actually wants from you.  Use strong verbs and impactful language to leave the reader in no doubt about what they need to do.

10. Check for typos

It goes without saying that your email should be accurately written with correct grammar, spelling and punctuation.  Before you hit the send button read, read and reread – many readers will just stop reading when they reach the first typo.

So whether you are trying to influence your manager, sending out company-wide communication, expanding your business contacts or running e-marketing campaigns, use these tips and watch how your responses improve.

Do you have any other tips you could add to this discussion?

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