What type of email subject gets your attention?
This week I deleted 1226 messages from my email inbox. Viewing their subject lines, I was reminded of what typically makes me read a message: specificity–something specific in the subject.
These are specific email subjects from my inbox:
How to transition to the virtual classroom – an E-book [from a company called NetSpeed Learning Solutions]
2012 Global Ebook Awards Now Open for Submissions [from Dan Poynter, Para Publishing]
The Reader – Expanding rail in Seattle [from our mayor]
The Reader – Important update on budget priorities [another example from the mayor]
The specific subjects offer me something. If I am interested in the virtual classroom, e-book awards, expanding rail in Seattle, or the city's budget priorities, I will read the message. The subject got my attention and quick consideration.
Compare these vague subject lines:
Announcement from XYZ Company [I have disguised the company name]
Digest Number 603 [from a professional organization, listing a job opening]
Digest Number 605 [from the same association, listing a job opening]
Your Confirmation [from a hotel]
Those, I ignore. The "XYZ Company" regularly sends me its vaguely labeled announcements, and I never read them. How important can an announcement be if it doesn't even merit a specific name?
The "Digests" each list one job opening. Why couldn't the sender include the job name in the subject? That would get me to open it and perhaps forward it to others.
I did open and read "Your Confirmation" because I had reserved a hotel room and was expecting such an email. But I wonder why the hotel did not include its own name in the subject. Doing so would have instantly informed me and would have later made it easier for me to find the message by subject.
What type of subject do you prefer on the emails you receive?
I wish you a productive, rewarding 2013. I am off to a good start, deleting, deleting, deleting.