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Make It Worth Their Time

How to Write Email Subject Lines

Provide a Detailed Preview
An email subject line is similar to the synopsis on the back of a book. It provides a detailed preview that lets the potential reader know what the book is all about. A good subject line should do the same. It should act as a summary of your email newsletter, offer, or update. There is no time for fluff here. The recipient needs to know whether or not your message is worth their time. You must be specific about what’s on the other side of that subject line.
Show Value from the Jump
People are dealing with hectic work schedules, trying to hold down the household, and shuffling through tons of email messages on top of it all. The point is that most of them are short on time. When they see your message in their inbox, all they really want to know is what's in it for them. In this case, they want to know how they will personally benefit from opening your message. Fail to explain and they won't. It's as simple as that.

A well written subject line let's a potential reader know what's in store, value and all. On first glance, the busy subscriber needs to know if reading your message will help them make money, save money, or uncover some valuable information before they even give you the time of day. Therefore, the number one goal of your subject line should be telling them what they will gain by opening your message. Be it tips, news, or savings, you must provide a specific reason for them to give you play.
Keep It Professional
You may find yourself tempted to write zany, over the top subject lines to get the subscriber's attention. Some email marketers take this approach believing that the recipient will be so amazed by their wit that they will instantly want to open the message and learn more about what's behind it. Unfortunately, being too punchy and creative could work against you in this regard. What appeals to some could be offensive or totally confusing to others. Keep your subject lines professional, compelling, and focused on the point you're trying to get across.
The Shorter the Better
You have the luxury of 140 characters to get your message across on Twitter. Facebook is even more generous, giving you up to 400 through the newsfeed. With an email subject line, you're lucky if you get 75 characters max, and that's pushing it in most cases. The actual character limit is dependent on the mail client and the user's defined settings, but you are left stuck with a very small window no matter how you slight it.

In the email marketing community, one of the cardinal rules of subject lines is to keep them short and sweet. Try to make them no longer than 50 characters at the most. Almost all email clients will cut off subject lines at around 67 characters and this is a gamble you do not want to take. Once the recipient sees your subject line chopped off, you are unprofessional and unreliable in their eyes. Having such a small window can actually be a good thing. It gives you an opportunity to create a subject line that gets your whole point across in as few words as possible, the point that compels the recipient to open your message and become a reader.