Sunday, January 22, 2012

read me! subject line do's and don'ts

Photo credit: dave from

How many email messages do you receive in any given day? Now, how many emails do you actually open? Which ones end up in the trash? Which ones to you open and actually read in full?

Having an email marketing strategy is a must. And part of that strategy—besides deciding who will receive your messages and how often you want to communicate with them—is writing a solid subject line.

I could write a lengthy post on this subject, but you’ve probably got a lot of email to read, so I’ll keep it brief. :) In a nutshell:


- Think of your subject line as a headline. It’s really the same kind of thing, so check out a newspaper for good ideas on how to present a subject line that grabs your readers’ attention.

- Tell recipients what they’re going to read when they open your message. If you're promoting an upcoming clinic in your store, say so. Don’t advertise the clinic in the subject line but write your message about a clearance sale. This will only confuse your readers.

- Be concise. You’ve (only) got about 50 characters at your disposal, so use them wisely.

- Personalize. Some subject lines include the recipient’s name. Others note the sender’s name. Either way, be clear about whom the message is for, and whom it’s coming from.


- Use exclamation points in your subject line. Or if you feel the need to do so, stop at one. Messages that use multiple exclamation points scream spam.


- Include words in your subject line that are spam-like. Free, call today, and act now will most likely cause your message to end up in junk mail folders.

Hope these tips helped, and good luck with your upcoming e-mail marketing campaigns!

Oh, and slightly off-topic: if any grammar purists (like myself) are wondering about the title of this post and my use of apostrophes, I looked this up. Read about the "correct" way to write dos/do's & don'ts/dont's if you wish!

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