Email Subject Line Writing Tips for Excellence
Writing a perfect email subject line is the most critical part before sending out an email. A professional may be writing dozens of emails a day but would hardly be thinking about the subject line. More often than not, writing subject lines is an afterthought that the sender adds just before hitting the send button. But it’s a glaring mistake on their part, as the subject line is the determining factor about any email being opened or ignored altogether by the recipient.
According to barilliance, 64% make a decision to open emails based on subject lines and 33% of email recipients open emails because of catchy subject lines. Another study shows that 69% of email recipients report emails as spam after reading the subject line.
Thus, depending on the subject line readers open the email. The sender needs to ensure that their subject line stands out to elicit a positive response from the recipient to boost open rate.
Let’s look at some of the finest recommendations from career, email, and marketing experts on how to write the best subject line.
First and foremost, write the subject line: Amanda Augustine, a career expert at professional job-matching service TheLadders, states that forgetting to write a subject line is one of the most common email blunders people make. An email with a blank subject line is highly likely to be ignored or lost in the inbox. Hence it’s imperative to write the subject line before the email to ensure it doesn’t happen.
Keep the subject line short: Augustine states that a conventional inbox displays just 60 characters of an email’s subject line, and a mobile phone displays merely 25 to 30 characters. Hence, it’s essential to get to the point in around 6 to 8 words.
The most important words should come first: There is a high likelihood of important facts getting omitted. Dmitri Leonov, VP at email management service SaneBox, has revealed that almost 50% of all emails are read on mobile phones. As we are unsure how much of the subject line will be visible on a smartphone, starting the subject line with the most critical information is imperative.
Filler words should be eliminated: Since space is at a premium while writing a subject line, it shouldn’t be wasted with filler words like “hello,” “good to meet you,” and “thanks.” Such fluffy comments can easily be added to the body of the email.
Make the email’s topic clear and specific: The subject line should clearly state the purpose of the email so that the receiver can prioritize its relevance without opening it. Writing a vague subject line will give the reader a hard time deciding whether to open an email or not. They would have to go through the whole mail to figure out its context. It’s recommended to state the name and position in the subject line for a job application, with the project name specified in the subject line if the recipient is a coworker.
Keep it simple and focused: Kipp Bodnar, VP at marketing software platform HubSpot, states that while sending a marketing email, the subject line should clearly state the expected action from the recipients. A provision for one takeaway should be accorded, describing how the recipient can put it to use and how you’ll deliver it.
For searching and filtering, use logical keywords: Most professionals use filters and folders to organize their email, so they’re unlikely to pay attention to your message when they first receive it. As a result, it’s necessary to add keywords about the email’s content so that the recipient can search for the separate email later.
Indicate whether you require a response: Email recipients want to know if they need to read an email immediately and respond immediately. If a response is required, the sender should specify it in the subject line using phrases such as “please reply” or “thoughts on X issue.” If not, begin the line with “Please read,” or add “no response required” or “FYI” at the end.
Set a deadline in the subject line: A deadline should be set in the subject line if there’s a great deal of information to share in the email. Including a deadline in the subject line significantly increases the likelihood of readers reacting to the email.
If someone referred you, ensure to mention their name: The email should include the referral name in the subject line to immediately capture the reader’s attention. The fact that a mutual acquaintance suggested your referral shouldn’t be present only in the email’s body. It’s preferable to start the subject line with the full name of the referring person.
Focus on the value you can provide: Provide the readers with something helpful to catch their attention. While sending a cold email to an unknown recipient, the subject line should convey the value and describe what the recipient would get. Whatever the service you are providing for the recipient, make it clear in the subject line what they’ll get out of it.
Ensure you read the subject line carefully: The reader is obliged to open the email if the sender initiates a thought or asks a question in the subject line that finishes the email. It isn’t enjoyable for the reader and is not very helpful when the purpose is clarity and respect for the recipient’s time. In such a case, the sender should consider if their query would be better served by an instant message, a phone call, or an in-person discussion.
Make sure you reread the subject line: While writing, one should be careful with copy-and-paste errors. When sending an identical email to many people, it’s common for the sender to forget to personalize it for each recipient, resulting in the subject line displaying a false name or title. The simplest method to avoid this is to recheck the subject line before sending the email.
Don’t type in ALL CAPS: Using all caps to attract the reader’s attention may work, but this is an incorrect way. Using all Caps is the digital version of shouting at the receiver. In contrast, the sender’s goal is to make the email as simple to read as possible for the recipient rather than causing them distress.
If the emails aren’t being opened in the first place, they won’t be viewed eventually. The sender could aim to develop innovative and exciting subject lines of their own for maximum advantage by employing some of the ideas mentioned above.
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