10 Missing Things From Your Subject Lines
By Mike Jones
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 Less is More in Email
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