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7 Tips to Get Your Prospect to Read Your Emails

by Bill Cates

If you want your prospects to actually read your emails, there are two main tasks at hand.

First – Write a relevant and interesting email that will get their attention. Awhile back, I wrote a blog post called The Perfect Formula for Prospect Emails. If you missed that blog, you’ll find it here.

Second – Send a visually appealing email that is “friendly to the eye.” Not only will a poorly formatted email not invite the reader in, it sends the message that doing business with you is complicated.

Neuroscientists call this Cognitive Fluency. If how you explain things appears complicated to the reader, they will unconsciously assume that doing business with you will be complicated.

7 Rules of Thumb (plus 2 bonus tips) for email messages to prospects.

Some may sound familiar, just make sure you’re doing them.

  1. Less “I”, More “You”
    Do your best to minimize how many times you say “I”, “We” and “Our.” Use more “You” and “Your.”  Your clients are the heroes (Luke Skywalker). You are the guide (Yoda). Make this about them. You can’t eliminate all the “I’s” or “We’s” but be mindful.

  2. Keep Emails Short
    55% of your prospects will see your email for the first time on their phone. And on their phone, even a short email looks like a book. Think in terms of 60-125 words.  This is often hard – as I know personally.
    Consider sending the email to yourself first to see how it will appear to your prospects.

  3. Simple Language
    This is not to insult your prospects and clients, but the simpler your wording the more likely people will read your message.  Some marketers advocate a 3rd grade reading level. I advocate for about 10th grade.  This means avoiding anything remotely close to industry jargon.

  4. Make It Friendly to the Eye
    Use short sentences and short paragraphs (1-3 sentences).  Skip a space between paragraphs and incorporate bullets.  If your email is dense in text, you will be lucky if they read it. Many will skim your message first. More white space helps them with that.

  5. Use Numerals
    Numerical digits stop and fixate eyes when people scan text. Instead of writing out numbers, use numerals (e.g., fifty-five percent becomes 55%). Yes, this violates what you learned in English class.  But your English teacher wasn’t prospecting for new clients.

  6. Always Have a Call to Action
    Never assume your recipient will know what to do next. Ask them or tell them. This is called a “Call to Action” or CTA.  If possible, one CTA per email.
  1. Proofread Your Emails!
    As I’m saying this to you, I’m saying this to myself. I’m a fast and accurate typist. (Thank you high school typing class!)  With that said, I make mistakes.  Almost 100% of the time I proofread my emails, I find a typo. Typos happen, but keep them to a minimum.


Set your email application with a 1-minute delay. I cannot tell you how many emails I have crafted and sent, only to wish I had said something differently or added an attachment. Try this 1-minute delay idea. You’ll come to love it. Learn how to turn it off and on quickly, incase you have a message that needs to go out immediately.


Keep your use of CAPS and italics to a minimum.  Both caps and italics slow down the reader. They are not “reader friendly.” Limit them to headlines, as well as certain words or phrases you want to highlight.

Forward this article to a friend or colleague.

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