Employees spend nearly one-fourth of their workday, on average, sorting through their email inbox, a study by McKinsey found. Email is the most used form of communication in the workplace, but it's also easy for the emails you send to be quickly deleted or marked as irrelevant.

Salespeople, particularly those who rely on email as their first point of contact with prospects, need to ensure their emails are relevant, appropriate, and able to cut through the noise of a busy inbox. Needless to say, so do marketers.

Here are my top tips for crafting an email that will encourage opens, generate interest, and warrant a response.

1. Perfect the subject line

A subject line is the gateway into your email. It needs to instantly grab the receiver's attention to ensure your email doesn't end up in the dreaded junk folder.

First, keep it short: A recent analysis by MailChimp suggests fewer than 50 characters—but still descriptive. Place the most descriptive words at the beginning of your subject line to give readers a quick snapshot of what your email contains. For salespeople, in particular, putting "Proposal" or "Meeting Request" is a great way to start a subject line. These kinds of words clearly let the recipient know what you're connecting about, so they aren't confused or surprised.

A generic subject line isn't going to pique the interest of a lead or prospect. Asking a question or including a stat can give recipients a glimpse into the purpose of your email and may entice them to click open.

And don't be afraid to get creative when crafting a subject line. For example, one of my colleagues received a follow-up email with the subject line: "WANTED:" and then his name written after the colon. The email body had a WANTED poster image with his name and face on the image; needless to say, it grabbed my colleague's attention. He hadn't been responding to the senders' emails, but he immediately responded after receiving that email.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Sean Gordon

Sean Gordon is the founder and CEO of HIRENAMI, which turns employee recruiting from painful, inefficient, and time-consuming to quick and effective—for employees and employers alike.

LinkedIn: Sean Gordon

Twitter: @SeanGordon22