Working in a law firm, I get hundreds of emails each week from clients, other firms and advertisers. Email is an effective tool in the business and finance industries; however, that tool is worthless if the emails are deleted before they are opened. Basic business communication skills should also be used when composing and sending emails – – along with some good, old-fashioned common sense. I have noticed five common mistakes that people make when composing business emails that cause me to delete those emails before they are even comfortable in my inbox.
1. Subject Line Mistakes – How to write compelling email subject lines is an essential business communication skill. One of the worst email mistakes is leaving the subject line blank – – this will either drop your email into the junk/spam folder or get it deleted. In order to entice your recipients to read your email, never leave the subject line blank. When composing the subject line, be clear and concise.
2. Avoid Promotional Phrases – Most “junk” email has promotional phrases in the subject line such as special offer, free, limited time or sale. These promotional phrases often cause your business email to be transferred to the spam folder to be deleted without ever being seen by the recipient. If the spam folder does not catch the email, most readers will delete the email without opening it assuming that it is just another sales ad rather than a legitimate business offer.
3. Time of Day – Email marketing firms can help companies determine what time of day readers are more likely to open emails than other times during the day. Most people like email because they can quickly zip in, check emails and move on to something else on their to-do list. However, certain times of day, such as lunch hours when people are quickly checking their emails, has an affect on whether an email is deleted without being opened. This is because most of us to not have the time in the middle of the day to read emails we did not request or want and we do not want to deal with them later so we delete them. Testing different times of day and analyzing the opening rate can help your company improve email marketing.
4. Avoid Cute or Elaborate Formatting and Backgrounds – Business emails are not the time to have fun with curly fonts, crazy colors and whimsical backgrounds (save these for your personal emails to friends and family). You would use this for your business correspondence; therefore, never do this with business emails. Your communication skills should be the same for emails as they are for your other business correspondence. By using whimsical formats, you increase the chance that your email may be deleted as trash or even unreadable to the recipient.
5. Limit Attachments – Adding multiple attachments or large attachments tend to irritate recipients because it takes too much time to open and review each attachment. Using email as a business marketing tool is great if the email is opened and actually read by the receiver. However, if your attachment bogs down the receiver’s email system or takes too long to open, it is more likely the receiver will just delete the email rather than wait for the download.