Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Crafting subject lines

From: Writing Email

Video: Crafting subject lines

You open your email account and you have 55 new messages that arrived overnight. On the other hand, consider if the subject line is concise.

Crafting subject lines

You open your email account and you have 55 new messages that arrived overnight. Which ones do you read first? The junk emails that got past your company's filter are usually easy to spot, so you delete those immediately. Next, if you're like most people, you look at the senders and the subject lines. Consider the following points to help ensure that your message is read based on its subject line. First, include a specific, complete subject line. If there is no subject line or it's vague, such as policy or meeting or location, you may keep scanning until you find a subject line that is specific or sounds as though the information is important or relevant.

Those vague, incomplete subject lines may result in the message not getting read at all. Look at these specific subject lines. New Vacation Policy, from the VP. Sales Meeting at 9 a.m., from your manager. Or Change of Company Picnic Location, from HR. Those would get your attention because you immediately recognize that the message's content is something you need to know. Here's another example, Payroll Procedure. And you've worked at the company for five years. You probably immediately think that you know what the payroll procedure is and delete the message.

But what if the subject line said, Revised Payroll Procedure? Would you read that one? That one word, revised, sends a completely different message. It now indicates that something has changed about the procedure, a change that you need to know. Also consider that a clear, routine subject line is probably safer than trying to use creative or cutesy ones. Let's look at this example of a misleading subject line One day I noticed that all my colleagues were getting computer upgrades.

When I inquired about if I would be getting one, one of the installers asked if I'd scheduled a time slot. I had no idea what he was talking about. After investigating the situation, I learned that I should have received an email about scheduling an appointment. I eventually located the unopened email in my delete box. The problem? The subject line. Congratulations. I didn't recognize the sender, the subject line sounded like a scam, so I deleted it. If the subject line had read, Need to schedule computer upgrade, I would have had my new computer at the same time as everyone else.

On the other hand, consider if the subject line is concise. The subject line can be too lengthy. Occasionally, a sender will put the entire message in the subject line. Then when the reader opens the message, there is none. Here's an example. Your order has been shipped and will arrive Friday. Be sure someone is home to accept delivery. How much more effective if the subject line had read, Juicer will arrive Friday, needs signature. Then the message would say, your juicer was shipped yesterday by Red Motor Freight and should arrive Friday afternoon.

Someone needs to be available to sign for the shipment. The impact sounds, looks, and is more professional. That run-on subject line gives the impression that the writer just wants to hurry through notifying you. Not the impression a company should give a customer. If the entire message can fit on the subject line, and there is no reason for a message in the message box, then do end the subject line with EOM, end of message. At least the reader knows not to bother to open the email.

So crafting an effective, clear, complete, and concise subject line is important to helping ensure that your message will be considered important and will be read.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Writing Email
Writing Email

22 video lessons · 7421 viewers

Judy Steiner-Williams
Author

 

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Writing Email.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.