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Dont Ignore Email Subject Line

Email is a great communication tool…

Despite the advent of social media and whatsapp, email is still holding its ground as an important tool for personal and business communication. This is because of the various advantages in using email.

Irrespective of how far or near the recipient is located, email is one of the fastest means of sending a message. Unlike a telephone call, email is a visible record which can be printed, if needed. Documents and images can be sent as attachments. Emails are stored by service providers like Gmail and can be retrieved at any time. There is no need to print the emails and file them in physical files. Finally, email is free irrespective of the number of messages sent.

An email’s subject line is crucial…

Probably an email’s subject line is more important than the message itself. If the subject line is missing or it does not throw some light on the matter, the email may be deleted or ignored, particularly in view of the avalanche of emails that one receives.

Points pertaining to email subject line are covered in the Resources section below.

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A) Mention the subject on the subject line

The subject line gives an idea of the email's content to the recipient. An email with a blank subject line may be deleted or not opened at all, in case the sender is not well-known to the recipient.

B) Write a short and to-the-point subject line

Write a short, crisp subject line of 6 to 8 words with the important words at the start. Lot of emails are read on mobile phones and a longer subject line will not be seen entirely on a mobile's screen.

C) Avoid filler words

Subject line is a premium space and hence do not waste the space with words like 'hi', 'how are you', 'thanks' etc. These can be a part of the email.

D) Do not use all capitals and avoid special characters

All capitals are against online etiquette. Also, avoid special characters like question mark or exclamation mark.

E) Spell the name and title correctly

The biggest blunder is to spell the recipient's name wrongly or to use wrong title (e.g. Mr instead of Mrs). This is common when a message is created by 'copy and paste'.

G) If the mail is on a urgent matter, indicate 'urgent' in the subject line

If the message is for information or if a response is required, indicate 'FYI' or 'please respond' respectively in the subject line.

H) Mention the person who referred you

If you have been referred to by someone known to the recipient, mention 'referred by .......' in the subject line. Otherwise the email may not be opened or due attention may not be given.

I) Prevent the email from going to recipient's spam or junk folder

Avoid words like 'free', 'test', 'click here', 'lifetime opportunity', multiple exclamation marks (!!!!!) etc. This is applicable for subject line as well as to content in the email's body.

J) Read carefully before hitting 'send'

After the email is ready, take a few seconds to go through the subject line and message's content to check for errors.

K) Do not abuse "Reply All" feature

The original topic may have been of interest to all recipients, but subsequent responses may not have relevance to everyone.

L) Simplify the content

Do not use industry jargon if one or more recipients are non-industry persons. Ensure that everyone understands.

M) Avoid very lengthy emails

Respect the reader's time by restricting the email to 2 paragraphs. If more details are to be conveyed, include an attachment.

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