According to a recent Radicati study, the average person sends around 40 emails a day. Of course, that’s only the average; and if you’re anything like me or many of my clients, you probably send considerably more.
But regardless of how many emails you’re sending, you and I both know you aren’t writing them for the practice. Most of the time, you’re probably writing an email because you expect a response.
The problem is, that same study found that the average person receives 141 emails a day. Let’s put that in perspective: The average person receives 141 emails a day, but only sends 40. That means only about 1/4th of emails get a response, while 3/4th sit unanswered.
And if you’ve ever spent 10, 15, or even 30+ minutes writing an email that never got a response, you know how frustrating that can be. If that’s something you can relate to, this article’s for you.
In it, I’ll share three proven strategies to write emails that dramatically increase the likelihood of getting a response (and introduce you to a powerful new resource to learn many more tactics).
But before we get there, it’s important to understand the underlying factors that determine the likelihood of someone replying to your emails in the first place.
The Three Factors that Drive Email Response Rates
When your email arrives in your recipient’s inbox, there are three factors that determine the likelihood of them opening and responding to you:
- The quality of your relationship with the recipient: The better the relationship you two share, the more likely you are to get a response. For example: A close friend is much more likely to reply than a complete stranger.
- The demand on your recipient’s attention: Someone with nothing better to do all day than compulsively check their inbox is pretty likely to respond to your emails. A busy CEO, on the other hand, is less likely to make the time to respond.
- The relevancy of your email: The wrong message to the right person, even at the right time, isn’t likely to get a reply. In other words, if you’re (metaphorically) trying to sell ice to someone living in the Arctic Circle, you probably aren’t going to get a response. Your email must make the other person genuinely want to respond.
So the better your relationship, the lower the demand on your recipients time, and the more relevant your message, the more likely you are to get a response.
However: If you want to send an email today, you have virtually no control over the first two factors. After all, the quality of the relationship simply is what it is right now, and the demand on your recipient’s attention is determined by outside circumstances.
But although you have little-to-no short-term control over the first two factors, you have almost complete control over the third: The relevancy of your email.
With the right mindset and tactics, it’s entirely possible to write an email so relevant and high-quality that you dramatically influence the likelihood of getting a response. And that’s what the tactics I’m going to share will allow you to do.
Note: The tips below are an accompaniment to our premium online program, The Email Response and Opportunity Generation Course. To get the most out of this article, I highly recommend enrolling. Click here to learn more and sign up for just $7!
Email Response Tip #1: First, Send an Email that Doesn’t Require a Response
This might seem a little counter-intuitive, but it’s one of the most effective ways to get a response. If you know you want to send someone an email asking for a favor, don’t. At least, not yet.
Instead, send an email that doesn’t have an “ask” and doesn’t require a response. This email should be entirely focused on providing value to the other person. For example, you could …
- Congratulate them for a recent accomplishment or milestone (such as a promotion, anniversary, or new venture),
- Offer a relevant item of value (like a blog post, podcast, or book recommendation), or
- Thank them for a favor they did for you in the past (no matter how small, even something as simple as advice they offered).
Then, at the end of the email, specifically state that you’re not expecting a response. At this point, one of two things will likely happen:
- They’ll either appreciate the email enough to reply anyway, opening the door for you to start a conversation and creating an opportunity for you to make your ask, or
- They’ll appreciate the email, but choose not to respond. However, you’ll still be top-of-mind, and when your next email arrives a day or two later—the one where you make your ask—they’ll be much more likely to respond positively.
Let me wrap up this tip with a quick example:
Although this tactic might prolong the email exchange, I’ve found it’s often worth the wait because you stack the odds in your favor and influence the likelihood that the recipient will respond to your future emails.
Email Response Tip #2: Don’t Be Afraid to Dredge Up the Past
Unless you’re reaching out to a completely cold contact, you probably have some sort of relationship with the recipient (even if that “history” is only a single conversation at a networking event).
Hopefully, somewhere in your shared history, you made it a point to uncover something interesting about the other person. For example: Personal interests, passions, professional challenges, or background information about their family or education.
Tip: Want to learn how to deepen relationships with ease? Check out Five 5-Minute Habits to Quickly Deepen Your Personal and Professional Relationships.
Regardless of what you uncovered, use this information to ask questions that make your email uniquely personalized to the recipient. When it’s clear you aren’t sending a mass email and took the time to write something personal, your recipient is much more likely to respond.
Let me illustrate this concept with an example:
In the example above, it’s clear Charles (the sender) knows that Micah’s (the recipient) daughter has asthma. Knowing this, Charles is able to ask a question that not only reminds Micah of their history, it shows that Charles truly cares about their relationship and his family.
In my experience, an email like the one above is almost guaranteed to get a response. After all, wouldn’t you respond to a question related to something you care deeply about?
Has it been too long and you feel like you can’t remember your shared history? Eliminate this problem in the future by reading If You Forget Everything Else About Your Contacts, Remember This One Thing.
Email Response Tip #3: Own the Interaction and Be Confident in Your Value
The harsh reality of relationship marketing is this: There are no guarantees, and even if you do everything right, you still may not get a response.
When that happens, don’t take it personally. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything was wrong with your email, nor does it mean the other person is intentionally ignoring you.
Most people make the mistake of giving up after one email, assuming the other person isn’t interested. In my experience, that’s rarely the case. Here’s a more likely scenario:
Your recipient saw your email but was too busy to reply. They probably made a mental note to respond later but, as often happens, something came up and they simply forgot.
That’s why it’s so important to follow up 2-3 times over a four- to six-week span before you close the door on the exchange. In most cases, one follow-up email is all it’ll take to get the response you’re looking for.
In The Email Response and Opportunity Generation Course, I go into detail about how to create a two-week follow-up plan; but let me at least give you the first email I recommend sending 3 days after your original message:
The key to this first follow-up email is to keep it low-pressure and guilt-free. All you’re doing here is bringing your name back to the top of their inbox. It’s also a good idea to include your original message underneath your signature so the recipient doesn’t have to dig through their inbox to find it.
Quick Tip: Get Out of Your Own Head
At first, many people are uncomfortable with the idea of following up because they think they’re “pestering” the other person.
But keep in mind: If you’re truly confident in the value you provide—and the relevancy of your ask to the recipient—following up should be a no-brainer.
In fact, you’d be doing the other person a disservice in not bringing your offer back up to the top of their inbox.
It’s going to feel a little unnatural and uncomfortable at first. But when you push through that, you’ll find many people actually appreciate the reminder.
Want More Email Strategies? We’ve Got You Covered
If you’re anything like myself and many of my clients, email is a foundational part of doing business (and, despite all doomsday prophesies to the contrary, it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon). And if that’s the case, you probably can’t afford to waste time sending emails that sit unanswered.
If that resonates with you—and if the tips above have been valuable—I’d like to invite you to enroll in our newest online program, The Email Response and Opportunity Generation Course.
In it, I dive deeper into the three tips above, and introduce you to a wealth of other valuable information. You’ll learn …
- The 3 factors that determine the likelihood of getting an email reply, and how to influence them to achieve higher response rates.
- The importance of aligning your “ask” to your recipient, and how to identify your “Ultimate Ask” to achieve breakthrough response rates.
- How to almost guarantee email replies with an actionable, templatized follow-up game plan.
On top of that, you’ll have access to over 20 real-world email examples to help you write the perfect email and generate the opportunities you need to succeed.
And we’re offering all of this for the discounted launch rate of only $7! Keep in mind: This is a $29.99 course and, post-launch, will return to that price.
If that sounds like something that’d be valuable to you, I urge you to either click here to learn more, or click the image below to enroll now.