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How to Write a Good Email Subject

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How to Write a Good Email Subject

Do You Make These Mistakes in Your Emails?

A subject like the headline above can irresistibly pull readers into opening your message and reading its every hypnotic word. Often, it will not — and what if you don't have anything to sell?

Your email's subject line is, next to your name, the first thing the recipient sees. It is important.

In your email subject, do not:

  • Arouse interest and curiosity.
  • Say "Hi".
  • Be wordy.
  • Respond without giving context.
  • Be vague or general.

Write a Good Email Subject

To compose the perfect email subject:

  • Give the message's bottom line.
    • If your email comprises multiple topics, consider breaking it into multiple messages.
  • Summarize the message — why you are writing and what you want to be different after the recipient has read your email — instead of describing it.
    • If you invite somebody to a conference, use "Invitation: Email Efficiency Conference, Bangalore Aug 14-16" instead of a plain "Email Efficiency Conference".
  • Be precise.
    • Include detail that allows the recipient to identify what you are talking about quickly and unambiguously.
  • If your message requires the recipient's action, say so; preferably with the first word.
  • Leave out unnecessary words.
  • If the action associated with your message includes a date or deadline, do include it in the email subject.
    • Email subjects need to be concise. Skip articles, adjectives and adverbs.

(Updated January 2012)

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