You’ve prepared a great email body.
You’ve clearly identified the next steps and what needs to be done. You copied the proper teams involved and placed a big “URGENT” sign on the subject knowing that you need an immediate response.
Finally, you hit send. You’re waiting for feedback for the items you need to close today.
And then…nothing. The following day, you still wait for a reply and there is barely anyone who opens your emails. You’re totally ignored.
All too familiar? You may be wondering – what went wrong? In this article, we’re going to cover why your emails are being ignored and how you can fix them.
Reason #1: Long Winded Emails
Most of us like to make our emails comprehensive. Our natural bias is to put a lot of information and share beyond what needs to be shared.
If you’re churning out more than 200 – 500 word emails to your recipients without them asking for it, it’s giving too much.
Most of the time those emails only contain 20% of what we truly need. Super long emails are bad for business. Writing too much “tasks” and content can hurt your message. It can divert the receiver’s attention from the core of your message.
Sending long winding emails does not only hamper you, it also affects your recipient’s time. Imagine spending an hour or two on a very detailed email only to arrive at a “yes and no” response. You not only waste your time, but also waste your recipient’s time which he may have dedicated to other causes or work that is highly urgent.
Keep it short, sweet and to the point. To manage everyone’s time and make your emails more hard-working, cut your email length. Most of us either skim or scan emails anyway. Highlight key points and use bullets for easier review. The easier your emails look, the more likely they’ll be read and replies to. This goes well with the 2nd reason.
Reason #2: Too Complicated To Understand
Aside from sending long emails, another thing that most people do is to make emails too complicated.
They make use of acronyms which may not be understood by the other party. Their emails are full of jargon. They have details that are not pertinent to the recipient. This can be your worst mistake.
A complicated email generates more questions and leads to unnecessary back-and-forth feedback. This is usually the case for big organizations with huge hierarchies. Similarly, the more complicated your emails are, the more people will start ignoring them because they take a lot of time and energy to address.
Keep it simple (,stupid). Avoid sending emails that require too much effort from the end recipient. Simplify words. Don’t assume the other party really understands the jargons you talk about. The best way to do this is to think that your emails will be read by someone new to the table, so simplicity is key. Lastly, a strategy is to use “if-then” statements. This will help you provide alternatives to the options you’ve set forth and make the option selection easier for the recipient.
Reason #3: Not personal and not relevant
Another reason why your emails don’t work is because they make an impression that they don’t matter to the recipient. You are either sending too many emails to many people at once without having it addressed to them, or your email is too standardized which means that you issue just generic emails. When you do that, your emails are most likely not read since they won’t be relevant to the person who received them. Similarly, when you CC too many people in an email that is not aimed at them, your email will likely be ignored in the future.
Be specific. Create tailored messages or emails to one person or a specific team. Don’t email general instructions if it’s not necessary. Similarly, your emails communicate better when they are fitted to the audience who will receive them. Ensure that all the words you type and create are relevant to the person who will receive it.
Reason #4: Win-lose emails without any compromise
When your email and communication is a win-lose situation, it will be ignored. This means that your email will only serve you and won’t help the other party in any way. The problem with this type of emails is that it is one-sided. Focusing on your own self-interest will likely be the reason why your emails are being ignored. It shows total disregard for the other side of the table and only addresses your needs. Compromise and negotiation is taken out of context and there is no wiggle room or concern for your recipient.
Focus on the other side by starting and ending with the word – “you”. The key in communication and business writing is to address your recipient or reader’s self-interest. Begin the 1st paragraph in the email by including “you” – you need, you asked, you wanted etc. The intent is to highlight the other party, what they can get out of the email, and what will happen if they take the action point. End your last paragraph with “you” as well and stress what your reader/recipient will get from what you said. Win-win situations don’t get ignored.
Reason #5: Does not demonstrate any credibility
Trust is an important thing. If you don’t earn the respect of your colleagues, they will doubt and won’t believe in what you say. This is something that plays out in email as well. Credibility is another thing that matters well in communication. You want to be able to convince the other side that you are telling a truth. One of the mistakes people make is to exclude reference that highlights your credibility. It matters since you want to show that you’re a person of value or status.
Now this is more relevant for bigger organization where everyone doesn’t know everyone. And also if we’re talking about reaching out to new people that we don’t know outside of our organization.
Find ways to highlight your credibility without overdoing it. Humbly highlight a previous success, testimonial or awards you’ve won. You can do this by linking out to a well-designed personal website via your email signature. A good email signature is necessary when you want to highlight important points such as your position, company logo, phone number and other ways that will help the recipient with information that will present you as a credible source. This fix also works well with the next reason why your emails don’t work.
Reason #6: No branding or recognition
Branding and recognition doesn’t just apply to marketing strategies. It also applies to communication and your email. Without proper branding and recognition, your emails are more likely to get ignored. Proper and consistent branding makes your email easily recognizable and makes it less prone to be ignored.
Add your company logo or business logo. Now, this really depends who you approach and how. In a corporate world it’s usually suggested to a logo in your signature. Customize your email colors with the ones you use for your business. Be consistent in terms of fonts. Don’t hesitate to use visuals to say what you mean. Branding and recognition is important because it adds to your credibility and builds your reputation through visual identity.
Reason #7: No value and doesn’t add up
Nothing is more ignored than an email that doesn’t add or give anything of value. Email inboxes of your recipients get filled up and flooded with incoming messages every day. You want something that demonstrates or is an actual resource so that they feel like reading and responding to it. An email should be worth a person’s time. I mentioned this repeatedly in the article as it’s important that you cater to the interest of the other party. It has to add up.
Your email should encourage social participation. They should be focused on getting a reply. So thinking about asking questions (don’t over-do it however) and avoid vague sentences that doesn’t really add anything to the core message. The email should fit the subject and be intended to achieve its objectives. Do you want to get approval? Get feedback on certain aspects? The email should get it done and this is where value is created.
Reason #8: Improper timing
As they say, timing is everything.
The moment you send your email is a crucial to whether you will be ignored or you will have a response. Let’s say it’s Friday and you know that your manager will be going on a long weekend and won’t be able to answer until next week. You have an urgent email that needs addressing but you’re only able to send it now. It’s 6:57 pm. Very likely, the email won’t be answered.
Solve improper timing by identifying the right time to send your emails based on your recipient’s behavior. You need to understand what time they usually view their emails or when they usually check them. If this is for someone within your team, you can do a simple observation of when they would usually reply. If it’s someone outside your team, a general rule is to open emails after 12 pm. Then, send another one if you didn’t garner a response after 24 hours or a few days depends how urgent is the matter. After 24 hours, an email’s chance of being opened drops below 1%. Follow-ups will bump your email forward in the inbox and these are more likely to get replied.
Reason #9: Sending too many emails
If you’re sending way too many e-mails and aren’t able to put your full thoughts into one email, you’re likely to be ignored and after a time placed in a different folder. Sending too many emails is as bad as sending too long ones. It shows that you are unconcise and indecisive. It can overwhelm the recipient when they get dinged all the time. At the same time, another reason is when senders resend new email on existing long content that includes past conversations. Imagine the sludge of emails that you’re sending through the pipeline.
As much as possible, only send emails that you deem important or valuable. This is also in line with the importance of adding and providing value. When you don’t over-bombard the recipients of your email, they certainly take notice and treat your emails with respect.
Don’t hesitate to create new email threads – especially when the other party doesn’t need to be aware of past/previous conversations. The key here is to just keep tabs on previous agreements on a folder in your inbox. That way when you need to reference past discussions, you’ll just attach them and your email won’t be filled with unnecessary clutter.
Reason #10: Your emails are not mobile friendly
Mobile matters now more than ever. According to Litmus, as much as 43% of emails were opened on a mobile device and it I believe this to grow even more in the future. As more and more people use mobile devices in answering their emails, what you send should be optimized for this platform. Although regular text based emails tend to be mobile-friendly out of the box most of the times these days. However, not seeing emails properly can still happen from time to time.
If you’re lucky, you’ll get complaints from people such as “I don’t see the image on this e-mail”, “I don’t see the attachment” or simply some of the text is missing. If you’re not lucky these emails will just be ignored.
Test your emails on a different smartphones and understand how your e-mail client renders inline images, font sizes etc. See how it looks or if its readable. This also gives good references when making your email shorter, given the limited screen time offered by smartphones.
Reason #11: Your subject lines don’t work
Your subject line is one of the biggest factors in affecting your email open rates. According to Convince&Convert, 35% of email recipients base their decisions in opening an email solely on the subject line. If your subject lines suck, they won’t work. An inefficient subject line doesn’t tell the recipient what the email is all about, it doesn’t address the recipient and it can’t convey urgency and curiosity.
Make the subject line the summary of what you are trying to say. Imagine the subject as the first message that your recipient receives. One strategy is to highlight the action point the respondent will need to take in a parenthesis and put the important highlight after it – for example:
Subject: “(For Feedback) Contact Information Needed from you” – in this subject line, it’s simple enough to understand that you need feedback on some vital contact information.
Also when reaching C-level managers putting their name into the subject line might work. These people have usually big egos and they want to read about themselves. This is more experimental approach, but if the polite way doesn’t give results, then try this.
So there you have it!
You now have an idea on why your emails don’t work and what effort you need to address them. Remember, the key is to make your emails simpler, easier to read and have more weight.
Emails must be credible and indicates your reputation. they have to provide good value to respect people’s time. Focus on the impact of your words to make your email more hard-working. As much as possible, avoid long emails. If there are things that will merit a long discussion, don’t do it via email. Use another platform, schedule a video call instead.
If you need consensus for a group decision, don’t hope to get everyone’s commitment via email. Secure it through a group chat and then formalize the agreements via email. Lucky for you Fleep can do all that for you and your business. It can help you communicate easily across multiple teams and it integrates with email so everything is in one place and you can communicate effortlessly.
Want to communicate with your team easily? Sign up for Fleep now!
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