Not Everyone Reads Your Emails The Same Way

Chris CrumBusiness

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We talk a lot about how to improve email campaigns, whether it be writing better subject lines, increasing signups or open rates, or adjusting frequency. What isn't brought up quite so much is how you're talking to email recipients in one-on-one communications.

For example, have you ever considered that you may be hurting your own reputation just by not using the right language in an email or by being too formal? You may want to consider who you're writing to when approaching how you're writing any given email.

Do you craft your emails differently based on demographic? Let us know in the comments.

BuzzStream and Fractyl partnered on a survey of 1,200 people between the ages of 18 and 64 to find out how they use email and how things like gender, age, and education influence preferences. The idea was to find how different demographics respond to different types of emails, so people who use email for business can get a better idea of how they should be approaching email based on recipient.

"Every email you send adds to or detracts from your reputation, so professional success relies on your ability to write clearly and intelligently," the report says. "Knowing when to keep your language simple, when to be more formal and even when it’s appropriate to add a bit of humor will help you develop and nurture valuable relationships."

One finding is that regardless of the recipient's education level, people tend to be put off by emails that use overly complex vocabulary. You're better off just speaking in clear terms that anyone can understand, even if you think you're impressing someone with your language skills.

In fact, you may want to actually try to be funny, as both males and females tend to appreciate humor in email correspondence.

Interestingly, almost nobody seems to be ok with slang. The youngest people are somehow the most opposed to it.

Males and females do appear to have very different stances on the formality of emails. Whereas males, according to the survey, find formal emails more persuasive, females find informal emails more authentic.

"Nearly 50 percent more males find formal language more persuasive than their female counterparts," the report says. "Men also find the sender to be more authentic – 17 percent of males compared with only 10 percent of females."

"Compared with men, 45 percent more women believe that an informal email is more authentic than one that is more structured," it says. "They also believe the sender is younger and more reliable than their male counterparts."

You can find the full report here (via Inc.)

Not everyone agrees with its findings, however. For example, while you'd think humor is almost a must based on the report, career coach Barbara Pachter, advises against it, saying, "In a professional exchange, it's better to leave humor out of emails unless you know the recipient well. Also, something that you think is funny might not be funny to someone else."

In the end, it's going to be best to consider your audience before writing any email. If your job requires sending out a lot of emails to different people, it can be tempting to use a template to speed up the process, but you're better off crafting each message specifically for the person you're talking to. As someone whose inbox is constantly flooded by people and companies vying for my attention, I can definitely tell you that the ones that feel like templates are often ignored. Sometimes, they even forget to change the name, making it look like the message was intended for someone else.

The important thing to remember is that not everyone will react the same way to the same message, so don't write the same type of message to everyone.

What do you think of the findings. Any of them surprise you? Discuss.

Images via BuzzStream/Fractyl

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.