Business Writing Essentials

Last Things Last

A good Subject line entices people to open your email. A generic Subject line is an invitation to delay or delete. Do you want to be delayed? Do you want to be deleted? Didn't think so.

Here are some guidelines that can help:

Avoid looking like spam.

[x] Subject: Reminder

[+] Subject: Teleconference tomorrow morning is still on

Say something informative.

[x] Subject: wasn't sure if you knew

[+] Subject: Auditors are arriving early this afternoon

Indicate all important topics.

[x] Subject: agenda for the meeting

[+] Subject: Final agenda and change of venue

Include relevant names.

[x] Subject: Meeting on Monday

[+] Subject: Mr. Addison's planning meeting on Monday

Count the words.

Because you want to be specific, you need to use more than just a few words. Because you expect your email to be accessed on a smartphone, you need to avoid using too many words. What's the happy medium? Six. Okay, maybe five to seven. But seriously, more than two and fewer than ten. I'll stop now.

Also note: the more words you use, the more likely your Subject line will be unique, which means it will be easier to find weeks later when your recipient is scrolling and scrolling to find it.

Do the work.

Because the email Subject line is the first thing that people see, you must accept the responsibility of convincing them it's worth their time to open your email. You must put effort put into writing a good Subject line. It will never be wasted effort.

Lesson: Last Things Last
Module: Email
Course: Business Writing Essentials