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Chapter 7. Writing Subject Lines with Re... > Tips for Writing Powerful Subject Li...

Tips for Writing Powerful Subject Lines

State your message clearly, concisely, and descriptively. A subject line that reads “Quarterly Results” does not have the impact of “Third Quarter Sales Up 15%.” A descriptive subject line draws the reader to the message by providing an accurate sense of what you have to say before the message itself is opened and read.

Consider your primary audience when writing the subject line, but do not overdo it. Resist the urge to use jargon, acronyms, or technical terms, even if you are certain the reader will understand. You want to entice readers, not scare them away before they start reading.

Remember the hidden reader. When messages are forwarded from one reader to the next, the original subject line often is left intact. This gives you the opportunity to attract a broader audience of unintended readers to your message.

Do not use the subject line to oversell your message or trick the reader. A reader may fall for a misleading subject line once, but the next message you send might be ignored or deleted before it is read.

Steer clear of subject lines commonly used for spam, or junk e-mail. A legitimate e-mail, if accompanied by one of the subject lines below, is likely to be trashed by a busy reader who scans subject lines to determine which messages to open and which to delete. Avoid using these in your subject lines: “Information,” “Just for You,” “Thank You,” “Have You Seen This?,” “Great Opportunity,” “Free Gift,” “Read This Now.” Also, avoid any mention of sex, hot photos, adults only, weight loss, or moneymaking opportunities.


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