Effective Email (part two)

On Monday, I began a new seven part series on effective email with an in depth look at choosing our email address wisely.  Today I continue the series with a look at the subject line. Your Subject Line Make sure your subject line is reflective of what you are going to say in the body of your email.  If it sounds too much like spam, it will be deleted by the owner who things it IS spam.  If it is blank, it may be deleted because it looks like spam.  I get a lot of spam with nothing in the subject line.  Another issue may be that the recipient may not realize this email is from YOU.  I sometimes receive emails that have very odd abbreviated words in the subject line.  Sometimes the subject line isn’t a complete thought or doesn’t sound like anything I would be interested in.  I delete it thinking it was sent to me by accident only to find out later on that it was someone with information I was waiting for! Aside from not leaving subject lines blank, not using trigger words that spam filters are looking to weed out and making sure that your subject lines are reflective of who you are and what the body of your email is about, here are some other issues to be aware of: • The Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Part Don’t allow the subject line to get to this point or it will cut off your subject line!  LOL  After a few “Re:’s” you might want to consider trimming your subject line down a wee bit!  It will keep your message clear and succinct and allow your message a better chance of being read.  Even if your friend knows it’s from you, but she is busy with six other things as a new mom right now, she may not answer for a while because it takes far too much time for her right now to read the email to determine what it’s about.  If your subject line was shorter, it would have allowed Mary to see that you were asking her about her other daughter got your invitation to your daughter’s birthday party.x • Typos and misspellings If your subject line has too many typos or is misspelled, it has a greater chance of being deleted because it may say something completely different to your friend than you had intended.  Remember that, while most email clients have spell check in the body of the email, there usually is no spell check for subject lines • A very long email subject line which is so long that it gets cut of...                                               I sometimes receive emails with marathon subject lines that seem to go on infinitely in both directions. Lol  Either they will get cut off or they will look so long to me that I won’t bother to read them in their entirety.  I may delete the email not realizing it came from a friend or I might save it for when I have more time.  (Hint: as a homeschool mom with a business and a dd away at college, I don’t have much of this thing called time!) Your subject line is the most important part of your email because it's the one thing that will either get your recipient to click on it...or not!  An ineffective subject line can cause your entire email to be deleted without ever being read.  It can give a bad impression or a false impression and it can set a tone for future email correspondence.  Write it wisely. I’ll be back on Monday with part three of my effective email series.  Stay tuned!  In the meanwhile enjoy the rest of my blog and take a look around the Art of Eloquence website for even more communication articles!


  • jojosblog

    Karie, if you’re talking about what happens when you make a subject line too long and things get “cut of…” that was purely on purpose. That’s an illustration of what happens. It can result in some really funny lines sometimes. Thanks for the kind words. I am so happy that so many are finding this series helpful!

  • Carla

    All good points! One that is showing up constantly is a subject line with the word “Your” in it when they mean “You’re.” That, to me, is a dead giveaway and it goes in the trash. Lots of times, these are foreign emails, too. Great series!

  • Karie

    I saw this via your FaceBook link and felt compelled to comment. Your instructions are inspiring to the teacher in me as well as the wanta-be writer within.
    First of all, I want to tell you that this is an excellent series that you have began! I’m going to follow it with my teenage son as e-mail communication is a must in the modern world we live in.
    Secondly, and on a humorous note, is there a bonus if your reader(s) can find the “error” in your composition? I am joking with you, but I thought it was kinda funny, and I may not have found the “error” if we had not been reading this out loud to one another! (I’m always telling my son to re-read his writing aloud to himself so he can “hear” how it sounds, so that was a good example.) Sometimes errors may be a matter of perception, or those personal filters (paradigms) you mentioned in the first post.
    I enjoy your blog and witticism so VERY much. Keep up the excellent work & may God bless you in all that you do!

  • jojosblog

    Thanks so much for commenting. I have been hearing a great deal from folks about this series. I’m always excited when I hear that my work has helped someone’s ability to relate better to others and accomplish the work the Lord has for them more easily and effectively.

  • El LaGrew

    JoJo. Thanks for this series! As an email administrator it pains me when I see people abusing or just plain mis-using email. It can be an effective means of communication only if you understand it’s limitations. This is a series I will book mark and point people to for a long time. Great work! Thanks and Blessings!

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