Mamado Inside

27 March 2007

email subject tips

Filed under: email, web, writing — mhussein @ 10:37 am

I found a nice blog about writing tips through my favourite lifehacker, The author has some nice tips about how to craft your email subject line so that it gets read.

  • Write it after you’ve composed the body of your message.
  • Summarize the thrust of the message. Example: Cocktails resched to Friday 7 p.m.
  • Focus on what’s in it for the reader: Example: Here’s the data on Iowa you wanted
  • Keep it short.
  • Be specific – Not “Newsletter #4” but “Newsletter #4: Tips for spring cleaning”
  • Avoid words that “sell” like “free,” “buy,” and “call now” – they’re like flares to spam filters.
  • Have someone else write it – You’ll be surprised at how effective this can be.
  • Avoid dates in case it gets cut off – March 26 could appear as March 2 depending on the recipient’s setup.
  • Avoid: “Hi” and “FYI”
  • Don’t let your subject line be your message – It’s confusing to recipients because they think something’s missing (it’s like when someone says something is attached and there’s nothing there, you’re, like, huh?)
  • Change the subject line if the topic of the e-mail itself has changed, though include the original subject line in brackets if you can. Example: “Here’s your mtg info [Re: We won the account!]

Some of the commenters disagree with some of the tips, and I think that I agree with some of the disagreements 🙂

I like “subject only emails” they are more efficient, but as some of the commenters mentioned you need to indicate that in the subject. (I prefer <oem/> to (oem), it is geekier, though it has one extra character 🙂 )

I also use FYI, but I usualy use it in the body and not the subject.

I prefer to use prefixes that ease filtering, for example, I use [OT] for any “Off Topic” mail I send to colleagues, I also use [Fun] sometimes for Jokes.

I think if the email has a relevant date information, then it should be in the subject, the suggestion of using 26March is excellent.

ofcourse never send an email without a subject

Please tell us your tips in the comments.

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