Getting Your Subject Line Right

The Subject Line is one of the most important parts of an e-mail. Yet many people create really
bad ones.

Think of the subject line as the title of your novel. Get it wrong, and they'll never read the contents.

The subject line has three main purposes:

Summarises the content of the e-mail
Allows the receiver to determine how important and urgent the message is
Allows the user to find the e-mail later on, without having to open it

The subject line is not for:

Trying to the trick the receiver to open it
Writing "hi", or leaving it blank
Showing off your sense of humour

If you can, try and fit in all the critical details of your message into the subject line. If you are arranging a meeting, put the date and time. If you have made a decision, put it in the subject line.

Examples of Good Subject Lines:

Subject: Hi
Subject: Team Meeting
Subject: George

Examples of Bad Subject Lines:

Subject: Weekly Meeting moved to 2pm this Friday
Subject: Purchase of new printer now approved
Subject: Ideas for Joanna's birthday present