There is a ton of digital noise out there today and the e-mail messages we send as leaders run the risk of being lost in the shuffle. So what can we do to increase the chances that our memo masterpieces don’t end up at the bottom of an overflowing inbox? How can we avoid the dreaded left-swipe and delete?
Like most things in life there are no simple, universally applicable answers, but here are 5 strategies to energize your e-mail messages to make them more impactful:
- Consider the platform: Just like the couch that looks great in the store but ends up looking terrible in your living room, an e-mail message can tank if it’s not written with at least some consideration for where it will be opened and read. 53% of e-mail messages are now opened on a mobile device, according to statistics compiled by the site e-mail Monday. A single paragraph of text might be OK if opened up in Outlook but it’s going to tick off the folks reading on their iPhone as they scroll down 15 times to read the whole thing. Ultimately, you know how your team tends to attack e-mail…adjust your message construction accordingly. And a side note: a single paragraph of plain text in an e-mail is never a good idea. J
- Don’t sleep on the subject line: When someone opens up their inbox to 23 new messages, the subject lines are all that exist in view to invite the reader to open up and learn more. Yes, I know…you’re the boss so the team has to open it. But let’s try to think like marketers here and create a situation in which they WANT to open the e-mail. Boring subject lines create corporate camouflage which blends your important message into the 22 other messages in an inbox. Try to be fun, playful and think of what might intrigue someone enough to open it up. You certainly need to use your own style and abide by company rules and regulations (if applicable) but you DO control what your message looks like. Own it!
- Use more visuals: If a picture is worth 1000 words, why don’t we use them more often in our e-mail messages? Most of our friends in social media marketing would be quick to highlight how much more engagement is gained by using pictures and video in posting efforts – so we should tap into this. Add a picture, use bullet points, change the color/size/boldness of text or use a link out to external content. Your team will notice and thank you.
- Avoid jargon: This isn’t just a suggestion for e-mail but for daily communication with our teams overall. If your e-mail is filled with corporate jargon and buzz words, people are going to tune out. Please, slash the “synergy” and out with “optimization.” Just be a human being and use your own voice. You can still be professional and polished without sounding like a stuffed suit. People follow other people, so be one.
- Plan your publishing: No one likes to sit in traffic every day, especially sales people. Similarly, you don’t want your messages to get caught up in communication traffic and become the victim of inbox road rage with a quick skim, skip or delete. Pay attention to the rhythm of communication at your company. If most messages are blasting out first thing in the morning, send yours in the afternoon. Be thoughtful about when your messages reach your team. Use the Delay Delivery option in Outlook to schedule your e-mail to send at just the right time. Change up your office time for e-mail. Timing is everything.
Leave me a comment sharing some ways that you’ve energized e-mail messages for your team and maybe suggest an area that might be worth me exploring more deeply in a future post. I appreciate it!