I got an email from my web host earlier with this title:
What makes them think that I’m remotely interested in giving them feedback? Yes, they host my blog, so what? There are plenty of other hosts out there that’ll do the same for the same price. The fact that I’m with them doesn’t matter one bit to me, so the email isn’t relevant to me at all because what do I get out of it?
A few hours later, after being so annoyed that I thought I’d open it to see if there’s anything else I can moan about, I realised it says inside that I can win a Nexus 7 if I do give my feedback. That’s more like it.
Now, they obviously can’t put that in the title of the email because of spam filters and what not, but surely they could have thought of a better way to entice me to open, other than telling me what they want from me, instead of what’s in it for me. I, like many (I imagine), mark a shed load of emails as read without even batting an eyelid and only open those that catch my eye, so you’re not doing yourself any favours by asking me to give you my time and attention to help you out with something I don’t care about.
That’s what we should all be thinking about with every email we ever send: what does the recipient get out of it? If you can’t answer that with a reason that beats what you’re getting out of it, then you shouldn’t bother wasting the recipient’s time. And in a world where we’re bombarded with emails, notifications, texts and all-sorts, titles are literally all you’ve got in enticing someone in to read, let alone act. So don’t underestimate the power of a subject line.