Emails are an important way of communicating with various people around the world.

However, every day we are bombarded with emails and it seems like our Inbox is a black hole. How do we fix this? By changing the way we construct emails.

Below are a few ways you can construct better emails so that you can quickly move through your inbox! Let’s start with the four D’s!

The four D’s idea came from an article I read in Inc. Magazine where each subject line in your emails should start with one of the four D’s (Do, Don’t Do, Delay, Delegate). I’ve added my personal favorite to the mix, “FYI,” for those emails that are just informative.


The four D’s & FYI formula:

  • Do
  • Don’t Do
  • Delay
  • Delegate
  • FYI


I am someone who loves to share with others what I come across so adding FYI to my subject lines help the receiver know if it’s important or not. It also makes it easier for them to discard if they don’t want to read it, hence the subject line needs to be specific. Every subject line should include specifics as they relate to the email body.

Do Not add more information to the email if it doesn’t directly apply to the subject line. This will help keep everything organized and allow easy sorting.

Format your emails the right way.


If you compose an email the right way from the start you will always have an organized inbox! Be prepared as this takes a lot of work. You want your inbox to be empty or at the very least, a holding stage for emails you’re waiting on (limbo land). Try to clear out as many emails as possible right now from your inbox…Go ahead, I will wait! As new email comes in, tackle them! Of course we can’t always be on top of it and unfortunately, there is no off or hold switch, but do the best you can.

Breaking the email process down:


Subject line: This is the most important part about an email. I can’t tell you how crucial this is to nail, especially now with all the email spam out there. The subject line is your selling point. It is the single most important line that everyone will see, even if they never open your email. In this field, you want to provide a clear summary of what is contained in the actual body of the email and what you want them to do. Words to stay away from (spammy words): Free! $$$ Save Affordable I have gotten into the habit of starting my subject lines with “Action Step” or “FYI.” Sometimes, “Backburner” for items that can apply at some point but really have no time frame.


Here is an example of a subject line I used when coordinating a conference:


Subject: “Action Step: Speaker Confirmation Letter for the Web Design Conference on June 12, 2012.” Right away the recipient knows what the email is about and more importantly what it is asking them to do.

Subject: “FYI: Your FINAL presentation is now due.” This can tell the recipient a number of things from “I need something from you” to “you should be aware of this.” Now, I could have made it even more specific, and probably should have, by adding the conference name to it. That way the recipient knows what the email is, the importance of it, and what it relates to.

From: It’s always a good idea to have an actual person name that people can recognize in the “From” field. General marketing@[company].com emails can end up being tagged as Spam. Example: “From: Web Design <[name]@webdesign.com”

Body: Before even typing Dear, Hey, Hello, or any other salutation, know that your content needs to be short and to the point as much as possible. As you type remember that the content needs to relate directly to the Subject line. If your email is detail-oriented or is asking for multiple things you will want to provide a summary at the end of your email. Content needs to relate directly to the Subject line. Example: You write a paragraph or more asking the recipient to: Send Bob in accounting an email, check in with Tina on marketing, and follow up with you on all of this. At the end of the email reinstate this as:


Action steps:

  • Send Bob in accounting an email
  • Check in with Tina on marketing
  • Follow up with me on all of this by Monday


This will allow for a clear and concise direction as well as make it easy to refer back to. Who has time to go back and read through lines of text to figure out what they are supposed to do?


Signature: Another valuable, free, piece of marketing real estate for you. Set up your signature to reflect the message you want to get out to people. Include your name, your title, company, and any social sites you want to list. Here is my personal one which is bare bones basic:

Thank you,
Ed Troxell
The Tech-Savvy Business Strategist
Website: EdTroxell.com
Contact: Email is best
Office hours: M-F 8-6, closed Wednesdays
Become the tech-savvy business owner with a Hey Ed monthly membership!


UPDATE: Writing your personal emails is practice for your email marketing campaigns.

I’ve been talking about how to write your subject lines for your emails for some time now. Finally, you have another credible source telling you this too!

The secret sauce of email marketing is writing your subject line to match your email.

That’s it! Keep it simple.

Learn more about ways you can spice up your email marketing.


Follow these best practices and start seeing your inbox go down!


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