"What if Tesla and Netflix had a baby?"
Now that's a subject line that would entice you to read an email (see below for the answer).
But what if your subject line reads like this:
"Follow up to our conversation"
Eeeegads. You have blown your chance to make a great impression in your email.
What do you need to write a quality subject line? Your imagination.
Let’s face it, you are competing for someone’s attention.
- People have about 60,000 thoughts a day.
- The average ‘modern person’ is exposed to 5,000 ads per day.
- In 2019, up to 300 billion emails are sent every day.
Somehow, your email has to rise above the clutter.
By putting some of your creative brain-power into your subject lines, you will have more impact and influence. Here are 5 Must Do's for Email Subject Lines:
1. Benefits Not Features. If you send weekly emails – don’t make the first few words the feature "Weekly Report." Start with the benefit:
- For example: 3 Hazardous Words That Lose Customers (then insert the feature): Weekly Report.
- If you are sending a single email. The same rule applies. Insert benefits into the subject line.
- Instead of "At Our Next meeting," consider putting, "You're going to love our next meeting."
2. Use the Domino Effect. Your subject line is your first domino. The second domino is the first line of the email. Make that first line so compelling and clear they will want to read what the next line is. (And so on…)
3. Save Time with a Summary. If you're emailing to set up a meeting, then put the summary in the subject line.
- "Leaders meet 9.10.19 @ 1:30 pm in the Boardroom" is more efficient and effective than...
- "meeting update"
- Save everyone's time and you will consistently be a hero.
4. CHANGE Forwarded Subject Lines. (When appropriate) Be the light in the valley of email darkness. Use discretion for workflow purposes, of course. BUT, the fearless subject-line-changer is to be revered.
- Good Example = Meeting is now 9.11.19 @ 9 am Starbucks on Abrams (I’m buying).
- Bad Example = Fwd. Fwd. Fwd Leaders meet 9.10.19 @ 1:30 pm in the Boardroom (where the final Fwd is a change of meeting time.)
5. HAVE FUN With It. Ideas include:
- A play on words. eg. Bored Room Announcement
- A counter-intuitive statement. eg. If at first you don't fail...
- An exaggerated benefit eg. Even Martians like our new agenda
All too often, in the Age of Speed, we lose sight of the magic combination of “Speed, Quality and Cost.” A decade or more ago, the saying was, “Pick Two.” If you want it fast then either quality goes down or the cost goes up. If you want it at a lower cost, then speed goes down or quality goes down. Finally, if you wanted high quality, you’ll have to settle for a higher cost or slower delivery.
Today, people expect all three. Speed, Quality and Cost are not desires, they are expectations. High expectations bleed over into everything. Food, entertainment, services, products… AND emails.
The emails you send are being evaluated at an unconscious level.
Are you saving me time? (Speed)
Are you valuing my time? (Cost)
Are you valuing my perspective? (Quality)
The respect you give will be noticed in the subject lines you send.
Now, let’s get to the subject line above.
What if Tesla and Netflix had a baby?
The baby would be something that will make their lives better, not necessarily what they already have. In this case, sustainable transportation with on-demand entertainment.
In your world, what are your email recipients asking for? Better emails or emails that will make their lives better?
Poscente is the author of The Ant And The Elephant: Leadership For The Self and The Age of Speed: Learning to Thrive in a More-Faster-Now World. To order copies in bulk for your event, please visit BulkBooks.com.