Thursday, June 17, 2004

Subject lines -- Why we need 'em

This is a pet peeve of mine. I've found that most people who use email tend to use short subject lines like, Hi, Hey, or Hello or have subject lines that span a few pages -- Project Management for the Doofus Project in Nigeria, Africa. Not to say anything about the Fwd: Fwd: Fwd: tags that people fail to delete.

Subject lines are so useful especially if you want immediate responses. A well-written subject line is a teaser to open the email that it points to. You can even prefix subject lines with tags like Article, Link, News, Action, Disc (Discussion), etc. If I receive the email I can easily find out if the email is something I need to read right away or whether it can wait.

I find that subject lines are most abused in mailing lists. (Here's someone who shares my pain) Someone will get the daily digest and reply to the digest with the subject line intact, which makes the subject line something like -- Re: Digest 405.

My other favourite is Help!!!, Please Help!!!, Plz Help!! and all possible variations.

Here's a link to writing subject lines for marketing.

Make the world a better place to email in.


At 11:20 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I do feel your pain.

(It is really, me. Check the page you linked to again ;-) down at the bottom.)


At 3:17 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Percy, thanks for writing about this in TWIN. Well, you always do mention this in TWIN :-).

Nice blog. Thanks for the great links. Hopefully people would read the articles and start writing good subject lines:-). Sumathy

At 3:27 pm, Blogger Percy said...

Thanks Sumathy. Appreciate your comments. As I said on TWIN, I am trying to fight the good fight :-).


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