How to Make Sure People Actually Read Your Emails

Instead of Just Marking “Read”
Updated on:

Email has become the bane of the average working person’s existence. Hours a day at work are spent answering emails, and then there’s the early-morning email scan we all do during breakfast on our phones. It can be overwhelming to process all that information, especially when it’s dense or jargon-ridden. According to Message Not Received by business communication consultant Phil Simon, the average person receives 120-150 emails per day, many of which are filtered, archived, deleted, or marked as “read” without even so much as a glance.

With email replacing face-to-face communication even more, how can you make sure that your colleagues and even clients actually read your important emails?

1. Work on your subject line.

They should be short, clear, and personal. Avoid using URLs, all caps, or exclamation points. For more ideas, check out this article on optimizing email response rates through your subject line from the LACRM blog!

2. Make sure your message is easy to read.

If your email is longer than two paragraphs, use techniques like headers, bullet points, or numbers lists to get your point across quickly and clearly. If you have a question or a call to action in your email and you need a response soon, highlight it.

3. Use correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

This one is a no-brainer. If your email appears unprofessional at such a basic level, your recipient won’t bother reading or responding to your message.

4. Be persistent without being annoying.

If you need a response from a colleague and they haven’t responded in 48 hours, feel free to email them a gentle reminder to get back to you. If another 24 hours go by, feel free to pick up the phone and call them. If a client or prospect hasn’t responded after 2 emails, send them a brief message letting them know that you’ve tried to get in contact, you realize this might not be a great time, and that if they do want to get in touch in the future, they can feel free to reach out to you via email or phone.

5. Respond to your emails, too!

People respond to people who respond to them, and they ignore people who ignore them. It’s a very simple and courteous way to guarantee more responses and more opened emails.

Interested in more articles on workplace communication and emails? Check out these posts from the LACRM blog:

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