Writing Email Subject Lines

A successful email marketing campaign begins with a basic skill – writing effective subject lines.

The same can be said when you write an email to a colleague. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t complain about email overload so why not help your colleagues by writing clear, concise subject lines?

When you do this, you are ensuring that your email won’t be ignored or deleted.

Here are some things you can do to get your emails read:

Identify the content. If I require the person to take an action, I label my email with “ACTION” followed by what I am expecting the person to do. This provides an immediate framework for the receiver. Sometimes, I am sharing information that I think might be useful, but, it’s clearly not urgent. In that instance, I include, “FYI” and the topic in the subject line. This allows the receivers to filter the email to suit them.

Be concise. Nowadays, people are reading emails on smartphones and tablets. If the subject line is too long, they might move on to the next email with a subject line they can read in the entirety. Think of the subject line as if it were a headline. If you can say it in three words, don’t write it in five.

Act now. If the email I am sending requires a deadline, my subject line is simple, “DEADLINE: Tomorrow.” That way the receiver knows there is a deadline looming and when. If it is a tight deadline, the recipient is immediately made aware. If it’s a few days out, he or she can file it and respond at the appropriate time.

A good marketing email must have value. The same should hold true of emails sent to colleagues.

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