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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Work Relationships

5 Science-Backed Ways to Get People to Respond to Your Emails

How many emails do you get a day? How many do you ignore? Those answers should help make it clear why getting people to read what you send is so tough.

You can improve the content of the emails, which can help them get attention. But still, you need someone to open the damned things.

Email tracking and analytics company Yesware analyzed 500,000 emails to find tactics that correlated with higher rates of opening and response. Here are its suggestions.

1. Weekend Email Can Be Powerful

Many people assume that Monday is the best day to send emails. It’s not. According to Yesware, open and reply rates were pretty similar no matter what weekday an email was sent. But move to the weekend and rates were “significantly higher,” probably because there is less competition. There is one tradeoff, though. People who don’t want weekend business email might resent your sending one and ignore it. But then, would they have looked anyway?

2. Early and Late Emails Can Work

People were more responsive when they received emails either early in the morning—between 6 and 7—or around 8 at night. At those times, about 40% of emails received a response.

3. Relax on the Subject Line

If you ever thought that subject lines had to be brief, you were mistaken. Yesware found that the length of the subject line didn’t seem to affect readership or reply rates. What did make a difference were the words used. Including such terms as “steps,” “campaign,” and “next” got top open and reply rates. The lowest rates were associated with a subject line that said “calendar” or “online.”

4. Don’t Put Everyone in the “To” Field

There is a school of thought that putting all of your recipients on the “To” line improves how an email is received. According to Yesware, whoever came up with that idea needs to head back to class. Reply rates were up by 10% when one of two recipients was on the “Cc” field. Yesware’s guess is that, when all names are included on the “To” line, each person assumes the other can take care of answering.

5. Send a Follow-up

Yesware found that if you’re going to get a reply at all, 90% of the time it will happen within a day. However, if 24 hours go by and you’ve gotten no response, try a follow-up. When you do, your chance of getting a response climbs by 21%.

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