But what if my message is important?! Put it this way, if it’s not important, then you shouldn’t send the message at all! Every message that is delivered needs to be important. And here’s the key… important to the audience of which the message will be delivered. Unless you’re toothpaste or toilet paper, you’re not everything to everyone. Here are four reasons why not to use the word “important” in your subject line, and some tips on how you can make your point, much more effectively:
It cheapens your other messages
One message says “important”, the next one doesn’t. That provides an opt-out for your audience to skip your non-important messages and only read the ones that actually say “important” in the subject line. At that point, you’re in a catch 22 of needing to add “important” to every message. That’s what happened to so many shopping establishments with the word “sale.” Today, most people won’t shop without seeing the sale sign, therefore the stores must have a sale for every holiday, weekend, weekday, and full moon.
TIP: Every message you deliver needs to be worth the read. No need to use the word “important”; just ensure the content of the message is.
Your message means the world to you. It’s big news to you, so you must add the word “important” to your subject line. At this point, you’ve elevated your message beyond all others. Now your audience is expecting big things, and most of the time to them, your message lacks luster. I’ve seen subject lines listed as “important message” that featured content about a small side parking lot closure, a fifth reminder note to take a survey, and even one stating that potted plants need not be moved around the organization.
TIP: Most people love to be the first to know, surprises, to be part of the ‘in’ crowd – so when you can include that type of information, do it. And please only send your message to the smallest audience that needs to know; most of the time, that’s not the entire organization or all of the folks that feel the warmth of the sun each day.
It’s lazy writing
“Really, that’s the best you could come up with?” That’s what I say to myself after I’ve written something. I like to challenge myself to be better than average, to deliver only content that matters. After all, it has my name on it. The intent of a subject line is to attract attention and get your audience to read further. And individuals can’t read further if they don’t open your email. In fact, 47% of email recipients decide whether or not to open an email based on subject line alone, according to Hubspot Marketing. Let that sink in, one in two people choose whether to read what you’ve written based ONLY on the subject line.
TIP: Take your time writing your message, be brief, use powerful words that convey your point, and read it out loud before you send it. And I like to write the subject line last. Many times, when I’m done writing the article, the subject line pops out quite clearly for me.
You can’t top it
It’s human nature to strive for better. And that’s good… to a point. If I’ve elevated my previous article’s subject line to say “important.” What’s the next one going to say – “spectacularly significant?” It becomes overkill. It’s like I continually take a dragster to a pinewood derby or whiskey to the water cooler. Ok, the last one may be fine in certain situations. I’ve asked many people in business – “when you get an email, what’s most important to you?” Many times they say, “Just tell me what you want me to do.” Subject lines don’t have to be crazily creative or provide a “wow” factor every time, they just need to be relevant to your content and connect with your audience.
TIP: Don’t pull the bait and switch with FREE COOKIES when there aren’t any. Your subject line needs to be consistent with your message. You can certainly have fun and get creative - as long as it’s on point and attracts your audience to open your message and read further.
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