Click Tricks: How to Write Effective Email Subject Lines

Arguably the most persuasive element of any email is the subject line. You must treat the subject line the same way you would an initial handshake; it may be your only chance to make a first impression.

And just as a handshake can linger a tad too long, keep the subject line brief, indicating why your message is worth the reader’s time.

There are multiple ways to do this. In his book To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, New York Times-bestselling author Daniel Pink reports on research that determined people open emails based on three factors: utility (opened because the recipient has something to gain or lose), curiosity (opened because the recipient is, well, curious) and specificity (opened because the recipient knows exactly what he or she is getting once the message is opened).

To that end, craft your subject headers to fall into one of the following five categories:

  1. Descriptive: Free Estimates, Free Installation — Throughout 2016!
  2. Fast Fact: More Than 95% of All Adults Don’t Exercise Every Day
  3. Provocative: New Airless Tire Can Take a Bullet
  4. Rhetorical: Are You Tired of Being Left Outside?
  5. Nearly Naughty: Let Us Show You How Much We Love You

Also keep in mind to whom you’re sending the email. The above examples won’t work if you’re crafting internal emails for your colleagues. So try something like this:

Needed: Content Marketing Ideas for Wednesday’s Meeting

Right away, you’re establishing a need that you would like staff members to fill.

Regardless of your intended email recipient, a compelling subject header communicates the bottom line of your message before it’s even opened.

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