Sometimes, it pays to go back to basics, and in email marketing we’re fortunate enough to have a tried-and-tested set of rules from which to work, no matter how experienced we may be or what tools we have to hand.

Think of them as email marketing 101 or a trip back to school, but however you term the following six pieces of advice, remember that they do one very important thing.

They work.

We’re going to apply a slightly different tact with today’s blog post, in that we’re going to look at email construction in general. For as vital a marketing tactic as email is, the way in which such messages are written stems directly from the emails we send to our friends and colleagues.

Email marketing must therefore borrow heavily from the best practices to which we should all be adhering when sending out quotes, event invites or simple best wishes to loved ones.

With that in mind, here are six incredibly simple ways to ensure people respond to your emails. Print them out, add the list as a sticky note to your desktop and ensure you read at least one of them every single day!

1. “Hello?”

We’ve all at some stage received an email that completely forgets to say “hi”. And, let’s be honest, there’s nothing more off-putting than receiving a message from someone who couldn’t even be bothered to greet you properly.

Emails that skip the greeting – no matter the intended purpose – lose a great deal of respect, for they could just as easily be mistaken as spam. Always say “hello” and “goodbye”, appropriately.

2. Use the subject line to ask for a response

The first impression a recipient gets of your email is the subject line, and as it turns out, that innocuous line of text is the perfect place to elicit a response.

Take your time to craft a subject line that is centred on the benefit you’re about to offer the reader and why they should feel compelled to reply.

3. Get emotional

Nope, there’s no need to reach for the tissues – this tip simply requires you to use emotive language in your emails.

Studies have found that using words like ‘wonderful’, ‘delighted’ and even ‘furious’ is a great way to tempt people to respond to emails. We’re an emotive bunch, us humans, and words are powerful tools when it comes to encouraging replies.

4. Make the most of rich text

There was a time when emails could only be sent in plain text. And plain text is rather dull.

Now, email clients on both desktop and mobile devices will happily accept rich text and media, so make use of it. By adding formatting such as bold text, italics and bullet points, you’ll increase the readability of your message and the chances that it’ll receive a response.

5. Get the length just right

If there’s one takeaway from this list, it’s the one you’re reading now. The length of your email is absolutely key when it comes to ensuring it receives a response.

Too short, and it’ll probably be dismissed or overlooked; too big, and no one will bother to read it.

Many experts suggest you should keep your email word count to a maximum of 125, but it’s sometimes easier to gauge it by the number of paragraphs. Two or three paragraphs should be your target, but make them short, snappy and full of good punctation. Like the one you’ve just read.

6. Pick your time

Few people treat their inbox as a repository for messages that will be dealt with at some stage, which is why email is still regarded by most people as something that must be checked regularly.

This is generally – and quite rightly – considered bad practice when it comes to productivity, but it’s a fact of life and one which means the time at which emails are sent is crucial. If you’re after a relatively quick response, pick your time wisely and base it on when you think the recipient is most likely to be switched on and engaged.

Wrap up

The great thing about the tips above is that they are universal; you can apply them both to emails sent individually and those that are part of mass promotional campaigns.

People can be tempted to reply to your emails, and if you adhere to just one of the tips in the post, there’s a strong chance you’ll never again curse the disappearance of a lovingly-crafted email.