How to Get People to Respond to Your Emails

A recent study from the Boomerang app found that questions, a positive tone and a third-grade reading level get the most responses to your emails. How can you incorporate these factors into your business email? Because, whether you love it or hate email, being more productive with sending email will probably leave you feeling more organized and productive.

How to Get People to Respond to Your Emails

I happen to be one of those strange souls who loves email. LOVES. EMAIL. (Hate spam. Who has time for that?) Here are some tips I use to get people to respond to emails.

More Tips on How to Get People to Respond to Your Emails

Simple, clear and to the point is the golden rule on getting a response to email. Writing a clear subject line, or even better, one with an action verb, will encourage your reader to open the email in the first place. “Response required: confirm meeting this Thursday” is much better than “Are you available?”

Keep it short. No one has time to read anything anymore, and everyone is in email overload. Unless you were asked for detail, use short sentences and bullet points. Try never to go beyond one page or screen of text. If your reader has to think too much about your request, chances are they will put it aside.

If you are the kind of person to take things personally, don’t overthink this. A study by Dabbish et al found that people defer to responding to 37% of messages that need a reply, and that was back in 2005. I’d be surprised if that number isn’t a lot higher these days. It’s not all about you.

End with a clear “call to action.”  Asking the person to call you Tuesday before noon, or click here to read the results, or send measurements as soon as possible is much better than a general closer like, “please get back to me with information,” or even worse, “I hope to hear from you soon.”

Above all, be a stickler for grammar. Use correct capitalization, punctuation and word choices, even in this age of texting. Especially if they don’t know you personally, your reader will probably equate poor grammar with spam emails. At best, they might not respect your request, and prioritize it at the bottom of their work pile.

Since it’s hard (or sometimes impossible) to read tone of voice in an email, be explicitly polite whenever possible. It’s tempting to lapse into texting language or take a shortcut, bu there’s no extra charge for adding a please and thank you to your email.

Have you found a method that’s particularly useful for getting people to respond to your emails?