How To Get Email Responses Like A Pro

Here’s the deal – people’s time is valuable, especially yours. You don’t have time to go back and forth, or worse, risk losing track of whom you are coordinating with and when.

There are times when you just want to chat – but there are times when you need a response because of a deadline.

Whether you’re trying to book a meeting, an introduction call or an interview - Here are three rules that we at Catalyst LIVE by to get results we need over email.

Please note:  these aren’t specific media outreach notes- which take a bit more finesse and experience – for details on media outreach - keep posted.

1)      Treat your Subject Lines like News headlines

An email subject line has to be as interesting as a news headline without being misleading – or too pushy. It should include a VERB (booking, waiting, approving, interviewing).

*Avoid words like following up and checking in – these don’t elicit action and might get brushed aside in an overcrowded inbox.

If there was some previous interaction or request, state that in the subject line:

  • Sending info you requested about ____(product/company)
  • Awaiting your approval for_____
  • Booking our discussion on _____
  • Requesting interview with ______


2)      Respect people’s Inbox Dyslexia

Let’s just assume people’s inboxes are a mess. When we run our agency at Catalyst communications – email subject lines are sometimes the glue that can link or secure an opportunity. We use them for pitching, quick reference, agendas and all sorts of things – we also need clients to be able to quickly reference and look up emails over the phone, if needed.

  • Always include the MAIN subject matter on the subject line. This will help you AND them when reviewing for future.
  • If someone starts a new conversation under an old or irrelevant subject line - simply reply all and EDIT the subject line in your reply to get everyone back on track. Yup, it’s O.C.D. – but it’s helpful for all in the long run.
  • If sending a follow up email – always FORWARD to original email so they can make reference to where they were when they dropped off the planet or were abducted by aliens on the day it was sent.
  • Re-post any attachments so they don’t have to go hunting. (*this one is a toss up – as there is a fine line between babysitting and just a friendly follow up*)


3)      Include a Call to action

Your email subject line may make them open – but you don’t want them to have read it and not take action.  If this is you, your typical responses sound something like:

·         Sure, sounds good.

·         I am available.

·         Contact me later.

These are fine – but now you have to craft a whole other email letting them HOW and WHAT you wanted them to do in the first place!

TIP: Include Follow up action – or OPTIONS for them to choose. They can pick A or B, but you get to set the terms.


4)      I (heart) Bullet points

I’ll say it again, I’m a huge fan of the bullet point!! People’s eyes will always travel to the bullet pointsin an email.

So feel free to still include your witty introductions or your friendly sign offs – but bullets can help people out and just get down to the nitty gritty of what you need.

Otherwise, you risk receiving half-answers, omitting important details or not getting the meat of what you are really after.


It was great chatting this morning and learning more about your valuable role in the process.  As per our discussion you will be providing the following to us by ________:
·         Business social pages
·         Contact for sales person
·         The 2015-2016 stats presentation
Once received, we will _____.
Hope you enjoy your sunny weekend. Thanks again!


5)      Please Personalize

This goes for requests sent to multiple people. Sorry, there is no other way around it. If you are trying to get someone’s attention – they want to know you are actually speaking to them.

Personalizing your email to mention their company, name, product or latest blog title is how people will know that you have taken the time to research or learn about them specifically.

This can be a quick mention both at beginning or end –but it goes a long way to getting someone to feel the personal need to respond.


Hi Ron,
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog on ________. I thought we could connect and share some ideas for a content piece we are working on for ____.
Our deadline is January 15, so if you have 10 minutes to chat either ?
·         tomorrow morning
·         or Wednesday afternoon 
Please supply the best number to reach you.
Thank you, we look forward to connecting.


Applying these 5 reminders takes time and a bit of instinct. But for now- hope this helps move things along for you and your business team :)