Hey, Here’s One Word That Results in 64% Email Response Rate
Aside from my age, certain behaviors and beliefs lead me to feel creaky occasionally, including my penchant for beginning a majority of my email correspondences with “Dear.” Well, it turns out I could be accelerating my journey to becoming a fossil, as a study by Boomerang showed that the formal introduction trailed four other salutations in fetching responses from email recipients, with communication opening with a “Hey” generating a 64 percent response rate.
No matter the introductory element, many electronic attempts at outreach will go unanswered, as many messages simply fail to compel readers to respond based on the inquiries’ lack of relevance or importance, the designated parties’ time constraints and many other factors. However, nobody can deny that adding some sort of reverent icebreaker reveals that the sender does not appear to be negligent, lazy or pressed. Looking at more than 300,000 emails, Boomerang ended up crowning “Hey” as the response rate champion, declaring, “Perhaps we should move past the era of formal salutations, as messages that struck a more informal, conversational tone from the start got more responses,” a comment that caused me to shake my head in disagreement. To each his or her own with beginning any form of communication, but we cannot bail on “Dear”—it’s a classic! (OK, maybe I'm being a curmudgeon?)
My pining aside, Boomerang offers a solid analysis of the exchange starters, giving homage to the “h” triumvirate of “Hey,” “Hello” and “Hi” as primary choices that earned answers 64, 63.6 and 62.7 percent of the time. “Hey” is certainly a popular originator (though it often loses out to “Yo” in South Philly where this graying specimen lives) and has served as a how-do-you-do in many song titles, but Boomerang points out that context often compels email composers to vary their choices, which I do frequently by shunning all of these and using “Good morning” and “Good afternoon.”
Because many email messages function as means for business partners and potential commercial contemporaries to fraternize, one could say the appetizer (the greeting) can matter as much as the main course (the body of the outreach). That same person could look at each of the top five openers and find pros and cons to calling on them, with Jeff Haden giving me a laugh when he said that “‘dear’ sounds like the sender is about to ask for a favor or to apologize for a mistake” when it makes its way into messages.
As a Target Marketing piece points out, “Hey” owes its success to there being “an accepted informal situation” between the sender and the recipient, but what if formality must rear its formidable head for the correspondence? It is, after all, not as if “Hey” pummeled “Hello.” It could even be, as I would presume, that “Hello” might begin many messages and “Hey” could come to replace it as the parties develop rapport. All I know is that I am equal opportunity for all of the chief openings, but context reigns supreme, with each option certainly topping greeting-free messages, which, no matter how old I become in body and spirit, will always compel me to feel as if a rebuke is coming my way.
What do you, as promotional products industry presences who often rely on email (and who have likely engaged in correspondence with me) use when calling on your keyboard to make or strengthen connections? Please let us know. Hey, curiosity can’t kill every cat.