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What NOT to Do When Creating Email Subject Lines

How to Create a Successful, Catchy Email Subject Line

It seems that a subject line would be the easiest component of an email—just a few, simple words. However simple it may seem, subject lines are crucial. Whether it is pitching the press, reaching out to potential investors, exchanging messages with clients, or sending out a holiday newsletter, the subject line of an email is usually what sticks in your recipient’s mind the best. Thus, it is vital to create one that is both succinct and catchy.

To start off, never write your subject lines as if it is an advertisement. That will chase readers away. Stay on the informative side, not persuasive, and clearly state what is inside. In avoiding the salesman persona, words that may be confused for spam are those that include discount words like “percent off,” “sale,” “cash,” and “save.” Unless you are emailing a close friend or family member, the word “help” should also be avoided completely.

On an average day at work, businessmen and women receive nearly 100 emails. What will make yours standout? Depending on who the recipient is and what the purpose of writing the email is, you may want to include different key words. If it is an event that you are inviting clients to, write something fun and simple, like “we’re throwing a party!” It is highly recommended to include the name of your company as well.

Try hard to simply describe what is inside your email. If it is a newsletter, write the name of your newsletter on the subject line. If it is a special promotion, inform recipients of what waits inside.

While staying away from that sales tone, using the word “free,” writing in all caps, and the use of exclamation points is a bit trickier. The more serious the email, the less recommended it is to use them. The use of questions, however, is permissible and much preferred.

In terms of length, try to keep it short and sweet by avoiding going past 50 characters. The most successful ones are those closer to 30.

Another key to creating successful subject lines is keeping up with the idea of personalization, so do your research! Humans are naturally selfish. Using the recipient’s first or last name will probably catch their attention. Even using words local for him or her, like a city name, may be another form of attraction.

With so many tips, concluding this is not so simple. If there were one idea you should leave with, it would be to tell it, not sell it!


AUTHOR: Liz Mossessian

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Have you used a successful subject line? What was it?