Email Etiquette — Increase Open Rates and Protect Your Reputation

April 24, 2015

ID-100146134According to a recent HubSpot blog post —the content of your email can positively or negatively impact your reputation.

Consider this—if 93% of all daily communication is nonverbal according to Dr. Albert Mehrabian, author of Silent Messages, what does your email style really say about you? Meaning, when communicating face-to-face, your language only comprises 7% of the message and your nonverbal communication represents 93%. An email is a silent message; one read without the enhancements of intonation and body language—which means that the actual content is critical.

Dale Carnegie said, “Don’t be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones will tend to take care of themselves.” Here is how improving your email etiquette increases the likelihood that the recipient will read email while simultaneously protecting your reputation.

Spelling, Grammar and Font Style

The post cites a study that revealed that almost 80% of respondents found spelling and grammatical errors to be the most unacceptable offenses. Nearly 70% of every age demographic surveyed responded that just one spelling error is unacceptable. Almost 70% of respondents prefer fonts to be one size.

  • Avoid filler words and excessive punctuation.
  • Proofread the entire email before sending and correct grammatical errors.
  • Opt for common fonts such as Arial and avoid using irregular typefaces such as Comic Sans, Courier New, etc.
  • Use only one font for the entire email.

Neglecting Subject Lines Decreases Open Rates

Many professionals consider the subject line once it’s too late—after they’ve hit ‘send.’ The study states that open rates drop on average from 24% to 17% when the subject line is greater than 35 characters. This is mainly because while a typical inbox reveals 60 characters of an email’s subject line, a mobile phone only displays 25-30 characters on average. Today, 50% of emails are read on mobile phones, according to Dmitri Leonov, a VP at email management service SaneBox. Surprisingly, more than 85% of respondents prefer an all-lowercase subject line to one in all caps.

Instead of typing a verbose or weak subject line, follow these rules of thumb on your next email:

  • Remember that the subject line is an advertisement for the content of your email.
  • Write the subject line before the body of your email and edit it afterwards if necessary.
  • The key words or most important info should be placed at the very beginning, esp. if there is a deadline.
  • Write no more than 6-8 words all in lower case.

Acceptable Styles Vary Generationally

Respondents representing all education levels prefer a succinct email over a verbose message, however the opposition to long emails grows with age. The study found that, “70% more respondents between the ages of 55 and 64 find the practice unacceptable compared with those between 18 and 24.”

To improve your all of your communication skills, consider enrolling in an upcoming Dale Carnegie course.

 This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of the Emerald Coast, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in the Emerald Coast. We’d love to connect with you on Facebook and LinkedIn.


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