The email subject line is dead, long live the email subject line.
Few of us bother to read them, since we’re so inundated with messages on email, chat, social media, and collaborative apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams.
What works instead? It’s better to think of an email subject line as more like a headline (for example, the one for this article). You have to get really creative.
Recently, I tried this as an experiment.
For an article about the Apple iPad, I wanted to find an analyst who can comment about whether the tablet is starting to lose momentum with consumers. (By the way, it is.) I decided to send out ten emails. For half of them, I stuck to a boring headline: “Apple iPad sales slump, care to comment?” As you might have guessed, only one person responded. Yet, it’s strange because that subject line is similar to 99% of the subject lines that arrive in my inbox everyday. We have this tendency to explain what is in an email as we were taught to do when we first learned how to use email. That no longer works.
For the second batch, I got a lot more creative. And why not? In the age of social media, contributed content, and digital overload we all have to figure out how to cut through the noise. For the second batch, I used this subject line: “Apple sent me to you.”