Writing a professional email that results in a clear action is truly an artform. This may sound harsh, but no one is obligated to respond to an unsolicited email.

Time is a valuable resource and surveys show that the average American employee can spend upwards of six hours a day in their inbox! If that's the average, you can imagine what it's like for senior executives. Many view Inbox zero as a unicorn-like myth.

I'm not unlike the average American--I receive and send a flood of emails. While writing, I always keep this 3-point checklist in mind. It increases the odds of a response every single time.

  1. Ensure they open your email
  2. Ensure they've read and understood your email
  3. Ensure they respond

Keep them in mind and you can reach people on every rung of the corporate ladder. If you want to take your emailing writing a step further, consider these tips:

Leverage Your Professional Network for An Attention Grabbing Email Introduction

A great way to get your email opened is by way of introduction. As someone who's grown a massive social network, I can attest to the value of social proof. An introduction from someone connected to the person you want to reach will instantly increase your credibility and thereby your odds of an email reply.

At minimum, you should be able to authentically reference the name of a project or person your contact can recognize. If your email doesn't command attention, it risks falling to the bottom of an infinite inbox.

Keep Your Email Concise, Interesting, Personalized, and Specific

It's likely that the executive you want to reach can barely keep up with internal requests. Make their job easy by getting to the point. Your email should communicate your request concisely and be specific about what it is you need within a few seconds.

Boomerang, a productivity tool for Gmail, found that email between 125 - 200 words is optimal, but data shows email drop off starts at 2000 words if you need to write a more thorough note. Tools like Grammarly can also save you time by catching mistakes in grammar and sentence structure.

The emails that go above and beyond are personalized and demonstrate interesting points early on. To give you an example, my company recently created a division that partners with the entertainment industry to co-produce Wattpad stories for other formats. It's a completely new space for us, so initially I reached out to people in my network that could introduce me to the right people in Hollywood.

In the first few sentences, I communicated what I needed, provided a clear example of who we were working with and why our service would be valuable for our mutual contact, then provided some wow-factor by including a bit about my company's growth. The emails resulted in real-world conversations with the potential for new business.

It all comes down to doing your homework. Take the time to research the person you're contacting. Do any complaints in their social feeds match a service your business provides? Have they posted an article on INC. that resonates with your core values? Does your ask actually make sense given their area of focus?

A relationship takes time to build. If you don't take the time to go the extra mile, why should the person you contact?

If Your Email is Not Actionable, No Action Will be Taken

This is the most important tip. Make sure your email is actionable! Clearly define what it is you're looking for--no one can help you if you can't communicate what you want.

Are you looking for a partnership or advice? Are you shopping a service or in need of mine?

A well crafted email is wasted if no actionable request is made. An unclear goal is impossible to achieve, so make sure that your ask is crystal clear, then make sure again.

If you've enjoyed these tips or have any of your own, you can tweet me @allenlau, comment below, or share your story with me on Wattpad.

Editor's Note: Looking for Email Marketing Services for your company? If you would like information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our partner, BuyerZone, provide you with information for free:

Editor's Note: Looking for Email Marketing Services for your company? If you would like information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our partner, BuyerZone, provide you with information for free:

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