Communications of the IIMA


Although literally trillions of emails are sent annually, little empirical research exists about how formatting of emails impacts email effectiveness. Abundant research exists about the use of subject lines, yet little research addresses the formatting of email content. Many experts from the business communication field have offered advice on effective formatting. We conducted an experiment that controlled for formatting of email messages. The first email message was a job announcement. The second email message contained identical content yet employed what are considered best practices for formatting. We found that university students who viewed the formatted message were significantly more likely to perceive the advertised job as attractive. Furthermore, they were significantly more likely to correctly recall facts about the job. This lends credibility to existing advice from the business communication field about effective formatting. It also serves as a foundation for additional and more nuanced research about an issue that nearly all professionals face on a daily basis.