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How to write better email subject lines

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A good email subject line is worth its weight in gold so here’s our tips for beginners.

Here at Minutemailer we feel that the subject line is so important that we will not let a Minutemail leave our server without it. It’s the key element to getting your mail opened and read.

With that in mind, we thought we’d go through a few easy tricks and pointers to make sure your subject line unlocks all the right doors for all the right reasons.

Some marketing experts say devote double the amount of time to your email subject line as you do to its content.

  1. If in doubt keep it simple.
    If you’ve got nothing to say, stay silent — as the saying goes. However you do actually have something important to say, that’s why you’ve made your newsletter or mailout. If you’re ever stuck for a subject line just try to summarise what your mail is about, or take one of the big pieces of news and write a quick 6 -8 word synopsis.
  2. Never Sir/Never Madame.
    If you’ve got a lot of contacts on your list, don’t even try to make the introduction personal with the ‘Dear Sir/Madame’ line. Instead, make the tone approachable and warm; nowadays people realise that they are on a mailing list. Focus on the content because that’s what will hook them in, not a generic introduction.
  3. Emergency!
    Sometimes you’ll need to write a mailout that needs your contacts to read it — like we did when we sent out our recent note about being offline for the Minutemailer upgrade. If this is the case, try to make your subject stress the importance of the content without stressing out the reader. Like; “Important mail for Minutemailer users — upgrade of server.” Let the reader know it’s a mail for them because they use your service.
    Caps are going to get attention but for all the wrong reasons. Like a spelling mistake, they make even the most well-meaning mailout seem a bit unprofessional. Try a nice bit of punctuation instead if you want to emphasise a word or two.
  5. Why not ask a question?
    If you’re in the public service business, cafe, hairdresser, pet shop… then chances are you’ll sometimes use your mails to bring feet through the door. Many nice mails begin with a subject line that asks a question — a subtle call to action. Like: ”Time for a haircut? Get 20% off all gents cuts next week.”

Bonus newsletter tip: Include the word ‘newsletter’ and where it’s from (ie. company name) in the title. And add the date/number to encourage the reader to go through your archives.

What are your tips? Feel free to pop them in the comments and we’ll share them about. Good knowledge is worth sharing.