This Is The Worst Email Mistake You Can Make

by Lily Feinn

Going back to work after a fun weekend is a drag, but it doesn’t help that come Monday our office inboxes are crowded with emails — and that some of the worst email mistakes are also rife throughout all those messages. So how do you keep your correspondence from getting lost in the pileup? According to new data, if you want a speedy reply to your email, proofread it before hitting “send.” It’s estimated that in 2015, the number of emails those in business sent and received topped 122 per day. The overwhelming, crowded inbox is partly due to the fact that emails are a quick and easy way to disseminate information and ask questions, with no actual person-to-person interaction; however, data collected by the email management service Boomerang suggests that when drafting your correspondence, paying attention to the grammar of what you’re sending could make or break whether you'll get an electronic rejection later on down the line.

To understand how grammar affects email response rates, Boomerang analyzed 250,000 emails, checking for grammatical error rates and generalized attitude throughout the week. The results of their day-by-day analysis reflects what most workers already know: That emails sent on Mondays were likely to have the most grammatical errors in the subject lines, and be most negative in sentiment. Conversely, emails sent over the weekend were found to be the most positive and have the least amount of errors.

But here's the biggest takeaway: Boomerang's data found that an unprofessional typo in the subject line translated to a 5 percent drop in likelihood that the email would get a response. Emails without any errors in the subject line had a 34 percent response rate, compared to those with subject mistakes, which only received a reply 29 percent of the time. The more mistakes detected, the steeper the drop in response rate, Boomerang reports on their blog — and what's more, there doesn't have to be a large grammatical error to turn the respondent off. Something as common as misplaced capitalization could have significant consequences — for example, according to the data, emails beginning their subject line with a lowercase letter were only opened 28.4 percent of the time, compared to a response rate of 32.6 percent for those with proper capitalization. Yikes!

The company suggests that drafting emails ahead of time may help avoid these common mistakes, as well as boost your response rate. While nobody wants to work on the weekend, according to Boomerang's data, you will be able to tackle your online correspondence in a more positive frame of mind, and thus be more inclined to pay attention to the little details that make for a professional product.

While this data was not gleaned from a neutral, peer-reviewed study, but rather one conducted by a company, these data points are still useful, as Science of Us points out. The findings highlight the importance of checking for common typos — and shows that putting in that little extra effort separates your email from the rest of the electronic shuffle.