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Will your email get a reply? This tool will tell you

This new addition to Boomerang for Gmail and Outlook helps you craft messages that are more likely to get a response. Some features are free; others will cost you.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read

As Steve Martin put it: "Some people have a way with words, and other people, oh... not have way."

Not sure where you fall in that spectrum? The creators of Boomerang -- a great Gmail and Outlook plug-in that works like a snooze button for email -- have added a writing asset called Respondable. Its goal: to help you write better messages; "better" in this case meaning "more likely to generate a response."


How Respondable makes your emails better

Respondable relies on machine learning (let's just call it artificial intelligence) to analyze your writing -- starting with the email subject line -- as it happens. You'll see dynamically adjusted ratings based on subject length, word count, question count (too many questions can kill response rate -- who knew?) and reading level.

Each of those four meters is color-coded based on Respondable's algorithms; your goal is to keep them "in the green" as best you can. You can click the little question-mark alongside each for a description and recommendations. For example:

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Personally, I've always strived to write above a third-grade level, but if I follow Respondable's advice, I'm better off simplifying my language in order to improve my response rate.

Respondable offers Pro-level features as well: three additional meters focused on positivity, politeness and subjectivity. To access them, you'll need a Boomerang Pro or Premium subscription, which cost $14.99 and $49.99 per month, respectively. (Unfortunately, $4.99/month Boomerang Personal doesn't include the advanced features.)

On the plus side, you can read the recommendations for each without a Pro account -- just click the question mark -- but if you want live analysis, you'll have to upgrade.

Although Respondable won't do anything about bad grammar or punctuation (Grammarly, anyone?), it's an interesting and potentially useful tool for anyone hoping to improve their communication skills -- and, just as important -- raise their response rates. Respondable (via the Boomerang plug-in) is available for all major browsers (except Edge) and Microsoft Outlook.