It’s the first thing we check up on the morning and the last thing we look at before bed. Yes, we’re talking about email, not our significant others. Whether you’re writing coworkers, family, or a crush, there’s an art to getting someone to respond. Boomerang, an email scheduling service, analyzed more than 5.3 million messages to figure out what makes people reply. Here were the biggest takeaways:
1. Write like a third grader.
Just because you can use extemporaneous and pompous in a sentence doesn’t mean you should. Short words and short sentences garner get the most responses.
2. Butter up, but don’t overdo it.
Flattery can go a long way. Just make sure your message doesn’t get to be over-the-top cheery (Great! Awesome! Wonderful! Amazing!) We get it. You’re a fan. This is incredible. But one exclamation point gets that message across. Same goes for angry emails. If you get too negative, people start to tune out. So writing “I had an awful experience at your store today. The clerk was very rude. Please do something to make it right.” is more likely to get a reply than “Your clerk is a douchebag. Piss off, and I hope you die in agony.”
3. Keep it short.
Emails between 50 and 125 words fall in the sweet spot. Data showed more than half of recipients responded to them. The same rule applies to subject lines. Three or four words is ideal. More than that and people stop paying attention.
4. Ask away.
Emails with questions get nearly 50 percent more replies than those without. It makes sense: You’re making the other person feel obligated to respond with an answer. Just keep it to three questions. Any more can start to feel overwhelming, lessening the likelihood you’ll get a reply.