Tips on How to Write More Effective Emails — Part I: Email Subject Lines

I recently attended an event with a presentation by Liz Danziger of Worktalk. She spoke about best practices when using email for business communications.

Liz provided some terrific guidelines on how to use email more effectively that I’d like to share with you in a series of blogs.

I’ll start today by focusing on how to create compelling subject lines:

Tip 1: No Blanks – The subject line is where you make your first impression. Use the space wisely and never leave it blank!

Tip 2: What’s Your Point – Think about the point of your email. Convey that clearly in the subject line.

Tip 3: Get it Read – Keep your subject line brief, but imply importance. Compel your recipient to open the email and read further.

Tip 4: Indicate Action Required – If action is required and/or a deadline is involved, say so in the subject line.

Tip 5: It’s OK to Change – If you are responding to a long email thread with a bland subject line or one that no longer conveys the topic of your email within – it’s okay for you to change it up. You can leave the original subject line and add on to it or you can change the subject line entirely.

Tip 6: Use a “Hot Button” – Where applicable, include a word or brief phrase in your subject line that is known to spur action.

Example: Let’s say your photocopier has a sharp piece of broken plastic that could cause an injury. You decide to email HR. You could use the uninspiring subject line “Equipment Needs Repair”, but it might take days for a response because the title doesn’t evoke urgency. However, if you instead use “Safety Concern – Dept. 18!” you may find that HR responds right away because this sounds more urgent and ‘safety’ is a known action-inducing hot button.

Apply these subject line tips every time you compose an email. They will help you create compelling titles that get your recipients to open and read your messages.

Next time, we’ll review some guidelines on how to write better email content.

No Comments Yet.

Leave a comment