We’re all inundated with a plethora of emails every day. According to Radicati, 128.8 billion business emails are sent and received daily.

However, only a fraction of them are actually read; even fewer are answered. The most common reason for this is that very few senders actually know how to write a professional email correctly. More often than not, emails give the completely wrong impression of the person who sent it.

Even in a time when social media and texting platforms are becoming more popular communication tools, email still reigns supreme in terms of professional online interactions. Being able to communicate effectively through email is a must-have skill in today’s workplace.

Do you feel your emails are ignored? Why don't you get as many responses as you want, even need, to? If you’re wondering what's wrong with your emails, this article is for you.

Our guide will help you to write effective, professional emails and make your recipients click on that “reply” button. It covers every step you should take to create perfect emails to and drive your response rate up.

  1. Consider your audience
  2. Identify the purpose of your email
  3. Keep your email concise and simple
  4. Ask 1 question
  5. Proofread your email

Let’s dive into each of these five steps. Each of the following suggestions is based on real results seen by the NetHunt sales team.

1. Consider your audience

From the beginning of a message, right through to the sign-off needs to show consistency in terms of respect shown to the recipient. A deeper knowledge of who your prospects are drives better sales results; make sure your tone matches your audience’s relationship to you.

For example, if you’re emailing a business executive, keep the email polished and free of any jokes or informalities. If you’re emailing a colleague with whom you have a close relationship, you can use a less formal, more friendly approach.

Before composing an email, research the person you’re reaching out to. Check how much you know about your audience by answering the following questions:

  • What are they engaged in? Look through their company’s website and social media pages. It will tell you more about your recipient’s engagement, experience, career history, and company news.
  • What are their needs, pains, and wants? Knowing these facts increases a recipient’s confidence in your understanding of the situation. Furthermore, it builds trust in your ability to cooperate and give proper advice or solutions.
  • Is the email address right? If you’re not sure, here are 9 little-known tricks to getting their email address in under 30 seconds.

Keep in mind that as the recipients’ pain points, wants, and needs are all different, your approach ought to be different as well.

2. Identify the purpose of your email

Before you embark on writing a professional email, you should know why you are sending it first. Without having a clear goal, a message simply doesn’t make sense.

Once you’ve determined the purpose of an email, clarify the action that a recipient needs to take after reading it. Having a clear intention focuses your writing and prevents waffle.

Are you going to send a cold email? Find effective cold email templates and  formulas to create your own cold emails.

Are you writing a follow-up email? Give these sales strategies a try and benefit from these follow-up templates.

Being specific about your purposes and aims saves time and confusion.

3. Keep your email concise and simple

Professional emails shouldn’t be epic in length. Emails aren’t business meetings. With business meetings, the more agenda items you work through, the more productive a meeting is. The opposite is true with emails. The less you include in your emails, the better it will be received.

Business emails need to be clear, brief, and should respect a recipient’s time. Keep your sentences short and to the point. The body of an email should be direct and informative, and it should only contain pertinent information.

It's also a good idea to follow the "one thing" rule. This is where you only include one topic in each email you send. If you need to communicate about another project, write another email.

How to get a prospect’s attention in a cold email
Find the tips on how to get a prospect’s attention in a cold email, get it opened and replied. Personalise smartly!

4. Add one question

Everyone is overworked and overbusy. We exist in a state of continuous partial-attention as we shift nimbly back and forth between email, text messages, social media, and the web.

Emails that contain a question tend to receive higher reply rates. But, it’s also proven that asking multiple questions overwhelms a recipient. Therefore, you should limit a question to one line. At the same time, feel free to outline a problem or issue in detail.

It’s likely that your recipient is only going to answer one question, regardless of how many you ask. Save yourself the time and stick to one question per message. Your question needs to move the conversation forward.

5. Proofread your email

We cannot stress this point enough. Before you click on that send button, take a moment to read your email carefully. Check if there are any typos, grammatical errors, or inappropriate word usage. Ensure that each email is broken up into paragraphs rather than written like an essay. Also, make sure you’ve included the attachments you may have referenced in your message.

Ask yourself:

  • Is my request clear?
  • Could there be any misunderstandings?
  • How would I interpret this as a recipient?

If your email has any ambiguities or phrases that might confuse a recipient, delete or replace them. You don’t want anybody to feel silly.

Email checklist: The essentials every email needs

Here are the key elements to consider when formatting an email. Ensure that you don’t miss any opportunities to catch the recipient’s attention and to get a 100% reply rate. Benefit from this checklist to drive results and not to waste anybody's time.

Save this checklist and benefit from it to not reinvent the wheel every time.

Sit back and wait for a response.

You’ve done everything you can. You’ve sent a professional, interesting email and now it’s down to your recipient to be similarly professional and interesting.

Remember these simple steps to make your emails more effective in terms of conversations and sales. By using these effective tactics, you give your recipient no option but to reply.

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