Posted by: Jack Henry | February 10, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Email Subject Lines

Your subject line is the first impression you make on potential readers. A good subject line can get people to open something that they might normally skip. As a business, we would like our clients to read what we send them. In the case of SLAs and other alerts, it is sometimes crucial that they read our correspondence.

The question is, what do we do to get people to open their emails? After reading five or six articles on the subject, I’ve come up with the following do’s and don’ts. I’ve left out things like using comedy, sex, political controversy, and panicky calls to action. I’m pretty sure those would work, but we have a good reputation to consider!


· Keep it short and concise. Use six to ten words, under 50 characters. Make sure that your message can be read on smart phones, laptops, tablets—whatever the reader might be using.

· Write several subject lines and use the best one.

· Focus on verbs, action-oriented words.

· Create a sense of urgency using words like “today” or “this Thursday”

· Use numbers. (For example, “Seven Reasons to Start Surfboarding.”)

· Use compelling questions, such as “Interested in Being a PowerOn Programmer?”

· Use alliteration. (For example, “Find Five Fantastic Features in Future Releases”)

· Use words that provoke enthusiasm, such as:

o Join us!

o Provide your opinion!

o Let us know what you think!


· Use the word “newsletter,” which prevents almost 20 percent of the population from even considering opening the email.

· Stay away from all capital letters, which come across as yelling.

For more assistance with your subject lines, or just for the entertainment value, check out the Title Generator.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Symitar Documentation Services

NOTICE: This electronic mail message and any files transmitted with it are intended
exclusively for the individual or entity to which it is addressed. The message,
together with any attachment, may contain confidential and/or privileged information.
Any unauthorized review, use, printing, saving, copying, disclosure or distribution
is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please
immediately advise the sender by reply email and delete all copies.


  1. […] and Kara wrote previously about email etiquette and email subject lines, but they didn’t address this particular point. I wasn’t able to find a relevant rule in any of […]

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