How you can improve lagging email scores

Though audiences seem to universally despise their inbox, they still report a preference for email messages.

Communicators Roundtable Exclusive

Your emails need to change—especially in the post-COVID era where reports suggest that no one is reading your lengthy explanations and arguments.

Jim Ylisela of Ragan Consulting Group argues that many business leaders and communicators don’t write their emails the “right way.” Here are some suggestions:

1. Brevity

“They need to be short,” Ylisela says. “They need to be punchy. They need to be snackable. A subject line should be more of a headline.” He allows that much of his advice might feel like writing 101—but argues that your average inbox will reveal many writers who flunk their fundamentals.

For 2021, it might be one of the most concrete improvements you can make: write tighter, better email.

2. Measure

One tool for improving? Politemail offers great metrics that many members report using to understand how their messages are being read—or ignored. Politemail also has plenty of great research on what will result in more clicks and opens.

3. “1-minute read”

Another suggestion is to tell readers how much time an email will require in the subject line, a la publications like Axios. If communicators put those notes in their emails, leaders who see the practice and appreciate it might be inspired to do the same for their own messages.

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