Email Messages That Demand Attention

Tired of all the junk mail you get in your mailbox? What about your email box? I bet the situation there is getting worse and worse. Well guess what? It is for the people you communicate with as well. The biggest challenge in sending an email today is getting it read! Here are a few reasons why:


There is so much junk mail that people are deleting stuff right from their inbox without opening it based upon the subject line or if the sender is known. You can get lost in a sea of sameness, even among friends.

Email programs allow users to put selective filters that trash incoming emails based upon the sender, the subject, etc. An example will be emails with 'XXX' or '$$$' in the subject line...anywhere. You can pretty much assume it is online spam.


Here are some ideas to proceed in the email universe with sanity:

Never assume your important emails are read unless you get a confirmation, not by a confirmation robot but by a person replying. Always follow important messages with a phone call.


Never send unsolicited junk mail yourself. You will anger people and some will be motivated enough to get your name on a watch list that allows many services to simply trash your emails, all of them, based on who you are. Only send email to those who have granted permission for you to do so, such as ezine subscribers, friends, business contacts, etc.


Unless you are a spammer, you just want your email read by those business and personal contacts you have actually made. You use the email medium to follow-up on existing relationships. If that is the case, make your subject line as specific as possible, referencing the earlier contact with the recipient. Things like "Our conversation at Sam's party" will put you immediately in context.

Spammers know this and will try to fake people out with "A friend referred me" or "You requested this information" right in the subject line. Of course, after you open it and realize it is online BS, you are highly irritated and set a filter on that user (see above).


Get to your point quickly in your message, respecting the reader's time.

Don't send large attachments (greater than 200KB) without first warning the recipient it is coming. If not, shrewd email users will set filters to trash mail based on exceeding a pre-determined size of the message, which includes attachments.


Don't bother responding to spam you receive to tell someone to take you off of their list unless they provide an electronic, automatic means to do so. All you are doing is confirming that there is a live body at the end of the communication and subject yourself to more electronic junk.


The basic truth is that we are so overwhelmed with email contacts these days, 85 per cent unsolicited nonsense, that we are not in the best frame of mind when viewing email and are looking to quickly trim the size of the incoming messages. Make yours stand out in your subject line and provide a relevant, user-friendly message that respects the time of the recipient and more will get read, allowing you to effectively leverage your communication across cyberspace.

--Karl Walinskas