Jason Nazar, co-founder and CEO of Docstoc (http://www.docstoc.com/) discusses best business email practices. Here are some extra tips on getting your emails noticed, and getting a swift response.
- Start your message by referencing a mutual acquaintance
- Only write 1 recipient in the "To" field of your email
- Send a "Double email"
- Continue to send follow up emails until you get a response or a hard "NO"
- PRO TIP: Send a short message with "and..." in the subject line
- PRO TIP: Send the same email twice to draw attention
When it comes to business e-mails, there are a couple of other ways in which we can get people to respond to our e-mails or take an action.
The first and a very simple way that we often overlook is to reference someone that you know in common in the subject line or at the beginning of an e-mail. If I get an e-mail and someone’s e-mailing me for the first time and I don’t know him very well and they said, “Hey, your friend so and so,” or, “this person that you know very well, I know or suggested that I e-mail you,” it instantly gets for a filter when I know that I’m going to read and most likely, respond to that person. Even better yet, if you can get someone to do that warm intro for you and make the introduction, then it’s going to exponentially increase the likelihood that the person receiving e-mail for the first time is going to actually respond.
Secondly, one of the things that we need to be careful to avoid is a lot of times, when we e-mail folks or companies, we’ll e-mail multiple people on the two subject line. And what happens then is there’s really no accountability or ownership over who has to respond. So, even if you’re e-mailing multiple people, what you want to do is you typically want to put one person in the To line, and add the rest on the CC and whoever has the key that you want to have respond, name that person in the beginning of the e-mail so that they know that they’re the party that’s responsible for getting back to you. Otherwise, no one make it back to you.
The third trick that you can use is what’s called the double e-mail. And you can do this in one of two ways. The first is after you send an e-mail. You sent a very quick follow up note that makes you have a subject line, saying ‘and…’ and put in one extra brief point. The reason why you do this is so that when somebody goes to their e-mail inbox, by seeing your name twice in a row, they’re more likely to respond because it takes up more space in their e-mail inbox. And then they may think, “Okay. Maybe this is doubly important.
The other thing that you can sometimes do is actually just send the same exact e-mail twice. And most often, what will happen is the person on the receiving end will just think that it was a mix-up or that e-mail got sent doubly. But they’ll actually get more of their attention and a more likely to open and respond to that e-mail. Now of course, be careful not to do that too often or somebody’s going to catch on to you.
And finally, what if after all that, someone is still not responding to you? What’s the general e-mail etiquette of when you should follow up and how often? The basic rule of thumb is that when it comes to business e-mail, if somebody doesn’t get back to you, keep e-mailing them and tell, they respond to you with, “I’m not interested. It doesn’t work at this time.” Or what you maybe surprise is a very common response is, “Hey. I’m so sorry. It took me so long to get back to you. I’m happy to help you out here.”
And typically, what I’ll do is if somebody’s not e-mailing me back, I’ll just re e-mail them every 2 or 3 days and put in a different subject line. My e-mails will typically get shorter and shorter. So, they’re really almost just reminder notifications to the person. And most cases, after doing this 2 or 3 times, the person does respond. And as I mentioned before, they’re actually the one that feels bad for the fact that they didn’t get back to you sooner.
In business, if someone doesn’t get back to you, you keep reaching out until you get a hard no or until they respond. And if you’ll follow those rules, you’ll definitely going to have the best chances of getting people to respond, engage with you over business e-mail so that you can get the things you need done, done.