I read many articles from mass email service providers about how to write more productive emails. Now I'm getting a fresh perspective from the GMail app called Boomerang. The application reminds its users if an email has not yet received a response, among other features, and is now available for Outlook as well.
Boomerang decided to analyze the 40 million emails that used their application last year, and recommend...
- Keep the writing complexity down to 3rd grade level (use the Flesch Kincaid analyzer to measure)
- Include a couple of questions
- Write with gentle emotion (see below)
- 75 to 100 word-long emails do best
- Keep subject lines to 3 to 4 words (surprising, and counter to most ESP recommendations)
- Make your position clear because people are more likely to respond to opinions than information
Boomerang Blog: 7 Tips for Getting More Responses, 2016
Another significant factor in determining response rates is how positive (words like great, wonderful, delighted, pleased) or negative (words like bad, hate, furious, terrible) the words in the message are. Emails that were slightly to moderately positive OR slightly to moderately negative elicited 10-15% more responses than emails that were completely neutral.
Flattery works, but excessive flattery doesn’t. Response rates for positive emails peaked about 15% higher than neutral for emails with a slightly warm tone. After that, response rates declined as the amount of positive language exceeded what would look “normal” in an email.
Sentiment analyzers output a “sentiment score” that ranges from -1 (for piss and vinegar) to 1 (for saccharine), with 0 representing a completely neutral email. To give you some context, here’s what some positive emails look like:
- Hey, I was thinking about you earlier. Do you want to get pizza? 0.0, true neutral. A little positivity would boost the response rate.
- Hey, I’d definitely like to get together next week. Do you want to get pizza? 0.35 positive sentiment. Perfect! It’s easy to add positive sentiment to an email – this is all it takes.
- Hey, it would be really great to see you and catch up. Do you want to get pizza? Positive 0.55 sentiment. This will also work better than a neutral email, even if not quite as well as the version above.
- Hey! It would be absolutely wonderful to see you! Do you want to get pizza? I’m so excited! Over 0.9 positive sentiment. This email would be about as effective as a neutral email – not bad, really, but not optimal.