January 5, 2016

Guess: Is It or Isn’t It? Will They or Won’t They?

By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief, Southern Writers Magazine

What is on the subject lines of emails you receive? What words written in that subject line cause you to open that particular email?

I get about a hundred emails every day, (yes, there are quite a few that are junk) on my personal email account–not talking about my business emails –I’m talking about my personal email. With so many emails coming in I can’t afford to leave these emails there. If I didn’t take care of that account daily, I would have hundreds stacked up.

Which emails will I open first? Okay, you got me; obviously the first ones I open are going to be the ones from people I know; family, friends, personal business people/companies. I am going to respond to these and either delete afterwards or file if needed.

What about the emails from people I don’t know, which ones will I open? This is an important question.

We send out emails every day. What will determine the opening of our email if the person doesn’t know us?

The subject line. If they don’t know you or me, the subject line is going to be what they look at and that will determine if they open that email or if they automatically delete it.
Do you remember Writers Class 101?  They drum into our heads, “Your first sentence must grab the reader’s attention.”

It’s the same for an email. If there are fifty emails sitting there, they are probably going to peruse the subject lines. Is the subject line interesting? Is there a word, and/or sentence, that grabs their attention? If it doesn’t, what are the odds they will open the email?

In today’s busy world, we are most likely going to eliminate emails based on their subject lines if it looks like junk. But, if it looks interesting, we are going to open it and begin…I said begin…to read. Whether we continue to read, depends on the contents.

It might help you to know that creating a good, attention grabbing subject line is not something we are born with; we have to learn to write those.

This brings me to my point. It takes time, effort, and creativity to write a subject line. Don’t rush through it. Give it the same care you give your first sentence when writing your novel.

Are you wondering why you would take that kind of time? Simple. You want the person to read the email. If the email is worth the time it took to write it and you want them to read it, surely then, it is worth the time to create a subject line that is going to make people want to click on the email and open it.

Think of it as a newspaper item. Write a good headline, and people will read the article.

This is your shot. That email is a one-time deal. If you grab their attention, they will open it…and begin to read it.

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