E-mail subject lines that say it all: Write to the Top guidelines
By guest blogger Diane Bailey-Boulet
Business writing course graduates from an intact team contacted us recently to help set team standards for effective e-mail subject lines. Below are their questions.
1. If “EOM” (or “END”) is used in the subject line, should there be wording in the e-mail body when opened/viewed?
When you include “EOM” (end of message) in your subject line, there should not be any additional message in the e-mail body. If there is, your subject line sends a confusing message to your readers—you are telling your reader not to open the email.
Be careful when forwarding or replying to an e-mail with “EOM” in the subject line; you must remove “EOM” from the subject line if you have added a message in the body!
2. How long should an e-mail subject line be that ends with “EOM”?
We recommend that you keep your subject line e-mail ending in “EOM” as short and simple as possible. Any subject line e-mail more than 20 words long would work better as the body of a brief e-mail because it might make it difficult for your readers to view the message depending on
- how their inbox is set up
- if they are reading your e-mail from a PDA.
Closing advice for all subject lines
You want every word in your subject line to count—like a good newspaper headline. Here’s a quick tip from page 63 of our best selling book Write to the Top: Writing for Corporate Success: “In e-mail, put your bottom line in the subject line and include an action verb.”
Take the time to write a specific and streamlined statement that focuses on the action you want from your reader. An example:
Instead of Problem with line 20 solved
Write Your OK needed to repair line 20
See the difference? It may seem subtle, but the reader knows there is an action required. Try this on every e-mail and see if you get faster responses!
We invite you to send in your business writing questions, too! Contact us at email@example.com.Better Communications empowers companies to make written communications a competitive asset–clear writing for a complex world! Check out our monthly online and in-person Open Seminars.