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Write Email Messages at Third-grade Level for Success

You want your email message read, and usually you want a response. That’s especially true in marketing messages. How do you increase your read and respond rate?

One way to ensure email responses is to write at the third-grade level, say the people who created the Boomerang mail plug-in. The reason isn’t necessarily related to literacy, but to simplicity.

It’s just too tempting to launch into long, convoluted sentences when composing email messages. After all, it’s important to get all of your points across and avoid mistakes or inaccuracies. But writing at third-grade level involves using simple sentences. In fact, shorter sentences seem to equate to better retention and response.

Of course, we’ve talked before about making sure your recipients open your messages with short, but to-the-point subject lines. If you’ve mastered this skill, start working on a more effective message body. When reviewing your message, look for long sentences. Often, you can break those sentences in two – or three!

Whether you’re the CEO or a salesperson, it’s unimportant to prove how much you know or show off your extensive vocabulary. What matters is the email’s effectiveness and whether it gets results. Adding technical jargon, strings of descriptive words and any word the reader has to look up make for a muddy message. Getting muddy might be OK for kids in third grade, but not for your business communications.

Need help with email writing? Taking our Email Writing That Counts! course can help business writers keep email messages clear, concise and simple. The course includes real-time feedback for learners.

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