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January 2020
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Write reader-friendly emails with these 10 tips

Stijn SchutyserStijn Schutyser

Write reader-friendly emails with these 10 tips


EmailWe’re all tired of getting emails that

So how can you improve your emails to engage your readers more and ultimately get more and better leads? Here’s 10 tips on how to make your emails reader-friendly.

1. First question whether email is the right way to do it

Will you be talking about rather sensitive information? Or perhaps something emotional? Maybe you’re angry about something? Then it’s probably best to put down the keyboard and pick up the phone instead. Or, if possible: get up from your chair, stretch your legs a bit and walk over to chat face-to-face.

Clearly state your email's subject

2. Clearly state your email’s subject

The subject line is the first thing your reader actually sees. Best to fill it in then and make the headline as clear as you can. Otherwise, your email might drown in the mass of other incoming emails or it might even be categorized as spam.

3. Be brief

Keep your message short.

  • Short sentences are easier to read than long ones.
  • Use bullet lists (like this one) instead of long summaries.
  • Have respect for your reader’s time.

Address readers personally in email 4. Address your reader personally

Email is a pretty personal medium. Reader will therefore rather read emails that are written just for them. With that in mind, you’ll want to be sparse when it comes to distributing lots of copies of the same email. Also, start your message with a personal salutation (like in print letters).


5. Don’t make a fussBe composed when typing your emails

Are you angry? Upset? You might want to hold off on pressing that ‘send’ button. Take a breather, come to your senses and think it over once more. The internet is not a suitable medium to get into fights. THAT’S WHY YOU DON’T WANT TO PUT YOUR EMAIL IN ALL CAPS: IT SEEMS LIKE YOU’RE SHOUTING AT YOUR READER. Don’t overdo it on the exclamation marks either!!!!!!!

6. Take your time

Email is a fast medium. You quickly type your message, hit the ‘send’ button and within a couple of seconds your email ends up in someone’s inbox, anywhere. Taking your time for writing an email is a sign of respect towards your reader. Also take your time to rid your text of typos and crooked sentences. Always reread your emails before you send them. Did you tell your reader everything you wanted to? Did you spell everything correctly? Using a spell checker makes this a lot easier.

7. Be careful when using abbrevs, symbols and 🙂Be careful with abbrevs and symbols

Abbreviations are writer-friendly, not necessarily reader-friendly. It takes less effort to type them, but more effort to process them. Some abbreviations might even be confusing. Always make sure your reader understands all your abbreviations and symbols. In professional contexts, (some) smileys or emoticons might be not done. Best to avoid them if you’re not sure.

Be careful when attaching files to email8. Watch out with attachments or links

Will your recipient be able to open the attachment? Won’t that take too long? Only email attachments that won’t bother your recipient. Additionally, don’t copy whole web pages in your email. Rather, include a link you can refer your reader to.

9. Say the most important thing first

Clearly state what your message is about in the subject line. Start the message itself by answering the who, what, why, when and how questions. Your reader doesn’t have time. Make sure they already know the most important information after the first few sentences.

Reply quickly to emails10. Reply quickly

Like I said before, email is a fast medium. Whoever sends you an email, hopes for a quick response and most of the time expects it, too. Quick means within 24 hours. Sometimes you are unable to quickly, yet completely answer the sender. In that case, send a message telling the sender that you’re on the case and when you’ll be able to respond fully.


Checklist for reader-friendly emailsChecklist for reader-friendly email

  1. Is the email necessary?
  2. Is the subject clear?
  3. Are you as brief as possible?
  4. Is the reader addressed personally?
  5. Did you write your email with a clear head?
  6. Did you reread your message and correct all typos/sentences?
  7. Are your abbreviations and other symbols clear?
  8. Have you checked whether attachments open correctly?
  9. Did you put the most important information first?
  10. Are you ready to answer within 24h?

So, have these tips worked for you or do you have tips of your own for us? Let us know in the comments down below!

Stijn is a copywriter and content marketer for ACA IT-Solutions and manages the blog website. He's interested in writing persuasive content, web content and graphic design and likes to challenge himself with new insights.