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Can your cold sales email be understood in 13 seconds?

Readability is an important aspect of buyer-centric messaging and leads to better response rates.

Published 1st April 2021
Photo of Snigdha Nigam, Growth marketing consultant at Mesg.ai

Snigdha Nigam

Growth Marketing Consultant at Mesg.ai

We all know that feeling - having just sent out a bunch of well-crafted sales emails, we observe eagerly the open and engagement rates on our CRM. We hope that our prospects reply to our email, sparking a long-lasting relationship. But let’s consider what’s happening on the other side!

Your prospect receives an average of 127 emails per day. They will likely also have a busy schedule and a long to-do list. This means that they will take only a very quick look at your email. On average, a recipient spends roughly 13 seconds reading an email, according to a study by Litmus. The same study found that 38% of emails are either skimmed or given a quick glance. So, your prospects barely have time to register the value proposition.

In the spirit of customer-centricity, you want to ensure that your email is readable - simple enough to be easily understood in such a short time. More readable emails have also been shown to increase the response rate by more than 17%.

My product is complex - why should I dumb it down?

Fair point, but consider the following: the purpose of a cold email is to catch the attention of the reader. An email that is simpler to understand will engage the reader more.

All you want to do at this stage is to clearly and simply articulate the challenge a prospect may be facing and how your solution can help with it. You can explain the hows and whys of your product at a later stage.

"Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level"

Source: Readable

Can I measure readability?

Good question. Let me introduce you to the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Test. This is a modified version of the original Flesch Reading Ease Test and was designed to test the complexity of technical training manuals in the US Navy. The higher your score, the easier your text is to read.

If you’re wondering if this score is a good reflection of readable text, here’s some trivia: the Harry Potter series is at an 8th grade reading level. A good text has a standard score of 60-70, and this is what you should aim for in your cold email. There are several online F-K Score Calculators that you can use to check readability.

How can I improve readability?

The best way to write a highly readable email is to use shorter sentences and simpler words. Additionally, the structure of your email can help recipients understand your message more clearly. Consider dividing your text into logical parts and use shorter paragraphs. Using active voice is an easy way to naturally improve the effectiveness of your message.

In addition, you can use tools like Mesg.ai that would nudge you to improve your text quality in real-time, keeping in mind the context of the sales process.

Readability is only one part of the puzzle. There are other things you must keep in mind to ensure your sales emails are effective: Using an effective call to action, asking the right questions, focusing on your prospect (not your solution), and personalising emails appropriately. A tool like Mesg.ai can be quite handy when trying to manage these different aspects - it brings the power of a data scientist and a professional copywriter to write compelling emails.

Final Thoughts

  • Better readability helps you get more responses
  • Working on the readability of your email allows recipients to process information effectively and catches their attention
  • Use shorter sentences and simpler words to craft effective messages

Let us know if it worked!

Get a warm response to your cold email with Mesg.ai