Subject lines are arguably the most important part of your email. Most users are aware of this, so they tend to overthink the whole process of writing it. They might end up with subjects that sound too complicated, or give up out of frustration. Writing a proper subject line doesn’t have to be a hassle, if you just follow a few simple guidelines every time you send out an e-mail:
1) A subject
Sometimes, you may put off writing the subject, thinking that you’re going to come back it to, after you’ve written the body of your email. It makes sense if you’re not really sure what the main point of your email is going to be. Consider your subject line before you start writing, to help you structure the message. Sending an email without a subject line is a sure way to make the receiver ignore it.
2) A human voice
Some users write their subjects as if they’re writing a telegram. Fortunately, emails are not taxed per word. Even though the message may be clear, after a thorough reading, there’s no point in not adding things like prepositions to your subject, if you need them. Removing them doesn’t make your email sound more urgent, or more efficient. It just makes you sound like a robot. People need to know they are talking to a human being, if they’re going to bother to read your message.
- Avoid using a subject like: Question Change Schedule.
- Try using something like: I Have a Question Regarding the Schedule Change
3) Something to avoid confusion
If you’re sending several emails to the same person, remember to change the subject line for each new conversation. Even though the theme of the conversation is the same, it’s best if you mark out the fact that this is a different discussion, so the recipient doesn’t get confused the next time they’re checking their inbox. They may not notice your email, or not open it, simply because they don’t know it’s new.
- Avoid using a subject like: Appointment Next Week more than once.
- Try using something like: Further Questions Regarding Next Week’s Appointment, or More Details Regarding Next Week’s Appointment
4) A message
It might seem like a good tactic to write your subject line as an enigma, just waiting to be cracked. But if the ending of the sentence is lost somewhere in the body of the email, your reader is more likely going to be annoyed, rather than intrigued. Subject lines are supposed to grab your readers’ attention, before they decide to open the email, and a question, or a sentence that makes no sense is just going to be frustrating. Worst, they might catch on to the fact that you’re trying to trick them into opening the email, and that’s just going to make them avoid your messages altogether.
- Avoid using a subject like: I Was Thinking…
- Try using something like: I Have Proposition I Want to Discuss, or I Have an Idea for [mention the topic you were discussing]
5) An indication that it’s urgent
If you want the reader to reply quickly, mention this in the subject line. Otherwise, they might think it’s just another email, and put off reading it. Add some indication as to when you would like to receive a reply, so they know they should look at it as soon as possible.
- Avoid a subject like: I Have a Question Regarding [topic]
- Try something like: I Have a Question Regarding [topic]. Please Reply Soon/ By [date]
6) A normal conversational tone
Whether you’re writing a formal, or an informal email, bear in mind that there are etiquette rules governing each type, and it’s best if you stick to them. But always remind yourself that, no matter the context, you are talking to a person. Avoiding writing all-caps words. It’s the visual equivalent of screaming at your audience. Using a lot of punctuation marks has a similar effect. But don’t go in the other direction either, writing an email that feels like it’s not addressed to a person at all. If you’re unsure about the tone you should be using, stick to something neutral, and avoid an overly casual style.
- Avoid a subject like: You HAVE TO read This EMAIL I Got!!!!
- Try using something like: I’ve Forwarded an Email I Want You to Read
7) Relevant details
Subject lines have to be like quick, one sentence summaries of the whole email. They have to capture the essence of what it is you’re trying to tell your reader. Generic sounding phrases are of no use when you’re trying to get your message across. Your reader has to know why it’s worth their time to open your email. They need to know from that one sentence what the email is about, so they can decide if it’s relevant to them or not.
- Avoid a subject like: I Need Help
- Try using something like: I Need Help With [mention your problem in a couple of words]
8) The actual subject
Misleading subjects might seem like a good trick to make your readers open the email you sent them. You might be doing this on purpose, to increase your open rate, but does that help your bottom line? Lying is not an uncommon practice, and we all have our reasons for doing it. Whether we think we’re just exaggerating a little bit, or downright lying, deceiving our readers is never a good idea. Your email subject line might trick them, but once they get to the actual content, they won’t forget about the subject that brought them there in the first place. They might feel insulted, or just baffled by your email. Either way, your message might not get carried across, if your readers had other expectations when they started looking at it. Avoid bombastic phrases, or attention-grabbing words. Most email users are going to spot the deception immediately.
- Avoid a subject like: Wow! You Are Never Going to Believe This!
- Try using something like: I Found An Interesting Article
You might think that including as much information in the subject line as possible is a good way to tell your readers what your email is about. But an ideal subject line should have no more than 50 characters. Any longer than that will be cut off. The words that are going to run off screen might as well not be there, and your email recipients aren’t going to be able to see them while skimming through their inbox. Stick to the relevant information, avoid complicated phrasing, or adding information that’s going to appear in body as well.
- Avoid a subject like: I Am Writing This Email to Request More Details About the Offer You Advertised
- Try using something like: Requesting More Details About Your Offer
Always check your email subject line for spelling errors. If you’ve spent a lot of time crafting the perfect phrase to go with your email, you might just want to send it immediately, so you don’t have to think about it anymore. Just looking it over one more time takes a few seconds. There’s nothing worse than sending an email with a glaring typo in the very first sentence. This is going to make a bad impression, and might affect the way in which your audience looks through the email. Or it might discourage them from opening it at all.
- Avoid a subject like: Please Cnsider My Ofer
- Try using something like: Please Consider My Offer
These are just a few of the most common mistakes. The list can probably go on. Emails are all about effective communication, so feel free to share your own experiences, and email mishaps, so we can all learn how to communicate better.