Why Email Subject Lines Are So Important

By Dave Ingalls
Digital Marketing Consultant
November 17, 2010

Everyone reading this post probably knows this by now, but I think it’s always good to be reminded by someone (me) who just saw why again!

I was just cleaning out my overfull email in box and the way I did it gave me a BGO – a Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious!

To “weed thru” those emails, I only looked at the subject line and the author of each email and then made a split second decision – read it immediately and respond, if necessary (rare), save it to a folder (a few) or delete it (most)!

Why is my email in box overflowing? Because I subscribe to too many newsletters! So to keep my in box manageable, I could simply unsubscribe to a bunch of them. But I don’t want to because every now and then even the ones I don’t open/read frequently come up with a gem and I don’t want to miss them.

I also had a backup in my in box of emails I HAD to do something about and thought if I filed them away in a folder, I’d never get to it. Again, probably true!

So now that my in box is almost empty, how am I going to try to keep it that way? I’m going back to Business Correspondence 101.

Whenever I look at my email in box, I’m only going to allow myself “one touch” of each email, and that one touch is going to result in one of the following actions: open, read it and respond if necessary (then probably save it if I’ve already invested that much time!), delete it or save it to a folder for future reference/response.

And what criteria am I going to use to decide which action to take? You guessed it – subject line and author!

So back to my original point: if you’re not Mark Twain (or Matt Cutts, Danny Sullivan – you get the idea) or someone I know, then you better have a GREAT email subject line to make the cut!