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Act-On Software

Information to Include in the Subject Line of an Email Message


Your email message or event invitation is like an advertisement for your organization, and the subject line is the big bold heading that makes people want to read the rest of the ad. In about ten words—preferably fewer—it's your chance to stand out among all the messages your recipients have to weed through, so you want to get their attention and entice them into opening and reading your carefully-crafted message.

Remember, though: there's good attention and bad attention.

Some bad ideas

There are lots of things that can cause your email message to be seen as spam. Below are some things to avoid:

  • All uppercase letters (SHOUTING)
  • Exclamation marks (Big Sale!!!)
  • Dollar signs ($ave $ave $ave)
  • Asterisks (*** Move me to the top of the inbox ***)

Most people won't even open these messages, and any future messages from you might be ignored or even blocked.

A better way

Make the subject line clear and easy to scan. Try to get the most important information into the first two or three words. Use descriptive and appealing words, rather than punctuation, to get the reader's attention.

You can also try out different subject lines on small subsets of your mailing list. Use response reports to see which one generates the most opens and the most responses. 

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