Writing an Irresistible Subject Line
In these days of hunkering and WFH, we’re all sending a lot more emails and eblasts than usual—particularly to clients and potential clients, but to colleagues as well. To boost your digital open rate, here are some tips for composing an email subject line that gets read and gets results!
Always write a subject line. Sending an email with no subject line begs to be ignored or deleted. Certainly no one appreciates having to open an email to figure out what it is all about.
Write the subject line first. Your subject line shouldn’t be an afterthought written just before you send your email out into the ether. Composing the subject line first can actually help you focus on the content and tone of what you will write in the email.
Keep it short. A full 50% of emails are read on mobile phones. A typical desktop inbox shows about 60 characters of an email’s subject line, while a mobile phone displays just 25 to 30 characters. Get right to the point in about six to eight words.
Avoid filler words. Don’t waste valuable space on superfluous pleasantries such as “How are you” or “Great to hear from you.” Save those for the body of your email.
Be clear and topic-specific. A to-the-point subject line lets the recipient put the email in context and prioritize its importance without the need to immediately open it. This also makes it easier to search for emails that get pushed down into the depths of a long thread.
Pick words that prompt action. If the purpose of your email is to elicit a response or prompt specific action, convey this in the subject line with simple phrases such as “Input Needed,” “Reply Requested,” “Please reply by EOD Friday,” or “Please Confirm.”
Mention names. If someone referred you to the email recipient, using their name in the subject line—”Via Carla Ridge”—is likely to grab the addressee’s attention and prompt them to open and read your email.
Convey value. When crafting a subject line, consider the recipient’s needs and interests ahead of your own. For example: “Expert Available for Commentary” instead of “Story Idea to Pitch.”
Reread before you send. Even if an email is going to multiple people, it may be necessary to tailor the subject line for one or some of them. Also, be aware that a sensitive email may be read by a recipient’s assistant or inadvertently forwarded to others. Confidential emails should be clearly marked as such and private information left out of the subject line. The takeaway: always reread your subject lines before you hit the “Send” button.