World’s Best Subject Line – Part 1

Learn to write email subject lines that readers can’t resist.

If you’re like me, you probably strain over what to put in the subject line of your e-blasts. You ask yourself:

  • “What will compel people to open it and not delete it?”
  • “How do I make sure my email passes safely through spam filters?”
  • “Is there anything I can do to make sure people know it’s from me and not some freak in a dingy back room in Karachi?”

Your subject line, and your attribution line—you know, the “from” of your email—are worth straining over. Because if that adage “if they don’t read your headline, they won’t read your ad” is true for print (and it is) it is 100 times truer with subject lines.

In the case of subject lines, the listless, the over-hyped, or too-familiar end up being trashed before they even have a chance to become an email—or worse yet, they spur people to opt out or tag everything from you as junk.

Let’s not let that happen. Here are some tips I’ve learned from writing emails for the likes of, CENTURY21, and the Thinking Creatively Conference.

  • Keep it to 69 characters (including spaces)
  • If you have to go over in characters (long subject lines display, but not as well) put the important stuff first.
  • Don’t be redundant; put your company name in the “from” line and don’t repeat it in the subject line.
  • Try packing a benefit to your recipient in the subject line
  • Action verbs are best, e.g., learn, see or start.
  • Rather than writing a general line about all the great stuff inside the email, highlight one exciting detail.

I could go on and on about subject lines, but I’m going to save something for next post. Stay tuned for part 2.

Subjectively yours – Conrad