You sit down to write an email and the first thing you fill in is the subject. Write your email, hit send, and that’s the last you think about it. But it shouldn’t be. Before you hit send, think about what you hope someone will do when they receive your email and modify the subject accordingly.
What does that mean? Well, for instance, if you send your client a bill, don’t call it “Invoice for ABC Company” because that’s what it is to YOU. Instead, call it “Invoice from TPG – June 1-30, 2013” so if they file it, they can find it easily. If you send them the same thing regularly, by just changing the date they have neat and orderly information without lifting a finger. Nice.
Or, maybe you want someone to respond. If you think about your own email habits, the first thing that makes someone answer an email is who it is from. For those people who will open anything from you, you’re good to go with whatever you put in the subject. For the rest of the world, what would compel this person to open the email NOW? What would motivate them to care what you sent? If the email is project related, put the project name first and then details about that email. Again, if the person files the email they will be able to easily find the right email again. If they just see the email, they will know from the get go where you stand in the project.
If your email is a sales message, it better be compelling! Why would this business or person need your service? What pain point are you addressing? Those types of questions will help you craft email subjects that get noticed.
Finally, if a person has emailed you and you have a short response, you can add it to the subject so the other person doesn’t even have to open the email.
Email subjects are a big deal and many people don’t take the time to do them right. Be sure you don’t put your name as the subject (why do I need to read an email all about you?) or leave it blank. A blank subject means you didn’t even care enough to put one in. Not cool.