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Writing Great Email Subject Lines

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Writing Great Email Subject Lines

Writing Great Email Subject Lines

Writing Great Email Subject Lines

Save for the fixed, yet nondescript “Spark Productivity” email subject lines sadly greeting my blog subscribers, I carefully craft my email subject lines for business email using context-rich keywords to empower my recipients (& me!). I am gratefully granted the same courtesy by many a sender.

When I reflected on my own business email best practices for this post, I found I apply the following rules—some fellow email experts agree with and others not so much.

Start with Contextual Clarifying Keyword

I work from a small set of keywords and start most of my messages with a capitalized clarifying word or two. I attempt to communicate priority, to embed searchable terms for fast retrieval, and to indicate if I’m seeking a response.

  • REQUEST: Time to Chat Productivity Training
  • INFO: Taming Tasks (our newest class)
  • QUESTION: Did the caterer confirm?
  • IMPORTANT: May 20 Agenda
  • HEADS UP: Materials to Arrive 4.13.15

End with Qualifying Acronym

I end some of my email subject lines and/or messages with the acronyms EOM (for End Of Message, as the entire message is contained in the subject line) or NRN (for No Reply Needed, to signal no response—which also prevents unnecessary emails from landing in my inbox). When I suspect I’m using an acronym new to the recipient, I include a definition.

  • CONFIRMED: Consult Wed 5.20 10-11C (NRN)
  • URGENT: Registrations @ 23 (EOM)

Make Them Short & Mobile Friendly

If you’re someone who checks email from your phone, you might have noticed my email subject lines are windy. (I am Chicago based, you know?!) To make your mobile-device audience happier, keep things short—30 characters or less on most phones to have your full subject line viewable without scrolling.

Be Consistent

Knowing many people sort by subject line to find things, I try to be consistent so my emails will like up like dutiful soldiers. These are examples from exchanges regarding email management and time management seminars as well as notes with my productivity coaching clients:

  • Session Notes (1.16.15)
  • Session Notes (2.13.15)
  • Session Notes (3.13.15)
  • EE 4.8.15 (proposal)
  • EE 4.8.15 (survey & food order)
  • EE 4.8.15 (room setup)
  • EE 4.8.15 (survey summary)
  • EE 4.8.15 (eval. summary)

What would you include in your how to write a business email book?

Want to know more of my business email best practices? Watch minutes 3-19 of the following webinar on Attaining Business Productivity Through Search. A quick, painless registration will unlock the webinar and the PowerPoint slides that powered it.

Search Spark Productivity

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Sue Becker Spark Productivity trainer, Sue Becker, works with people and organizations that want to do and achieve more — and feel more fulfilled in the process.
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