How Scientific Theory Can Help You Get Responses

No matter what business you are in, writing and receiving emails are a large part of running your business. In many frustrating instances your emails can go unanswered. Based on psychology principles and examples from Yesware’s sales team, here are seven tips you can use to get more email responses.  

  1. Keep it Short and Simple – We all know that in today’s world many people are busy and being flooded with numerous emails, and you don’t want to waste anyone’s time. Research shows that shorter emails result in quick response time, leading to higher overall productivity. Compose your email so that it is easy to digest, using bulleted list, spacing, numbers, etc.
  2. Provide A Reason (Because I Said So) – According to psychologist Ellen Langer, people are more likely to fulfill a request when you use the word “because.” Therefore, when making a request, or asking a favor, provide a reason why.
  3. Use Their Name More Than Once – Research shows that messages in which our name appear allow us to be more trusting and engaged. Catch the reader’s eye by using their name in the subject line or the closing note of the email.
  4. Social Proof – Simple peer pressure will increase the chances of getting an email response. Emails have higher open and response rates when they are sent to multiple people. Also, when mentioning the interest of important stakeholders your recipient will be more responsive to your email.
  5. Be Specific – People are more likely to respond to questions that are easy to answer, and when given clear direction on how to contribute. End your emails with a clear call to action.
  6. Choose Your Numbers Wisely – Using numbers in different areas of your email can increase the chances of getting your email both opened and replied to. It is better to write out numbers as numerals to catch the reader’s eye and get noticed in an overcrowded inbox. When necessary, use statistics and data to add credibility to your argument. Lastly, studies show that our brains like to be presented with three choices. Therefore, describe your product or service using three adjectives, break your email into three short paragraphs, or offer three meeting times.
  7. Throw In The Frog – There may come a time in a email conversation when the conversation just stops. No more email or phone call replies. At this point, you “throw in the frog.” Researchers O’quinn and Aronoff conducted an experiment with designated “buyers” and “sellers” negotiating a contract. A percentage of the sellers were instructed to use the line “my final offer is $$$…and I’ll throw in a pet frog.” With this use of humor, buyers were more relaxed, compliant and agreed to pay significantly more than when the joke was not used. Using light humor can relax an otherwise tense situation. Humor is also a great way to break the ice and win over an otherwise unreceptive audience.