Short & Sweet Subjects

by Thom Hiatt

Checking email on your phone has never been easier. We’ve been able to do this for years, but in the beginning it was convenient only for owners of Blackberry phones, which had “push” technology. The rest of us had to manually GET the mail.

Today, most of us have phones that feed mail to us as it comes in. And because it’s so easy, more of us are reading email on our phones more often. In fact, some people check email in bed, first thing in the morning.

Step number one is getting rid of the junk… selecting those messages that seem unworthy and deleting them… getting them off my plate.

My email system gets rid of almost all spam. But promotional offers and newsletters, can really stack up. Deciding what to throw out is pretty simple. You look to see who it’s from, and what it’s about:

  • If it’s from a company that ALWAYS gives valuable information, I tend to keep it regardless of the subject line, and will look at the message.
  • If it’s from a group that OCCASIONALLY has valuable info, I will look at the SUBJECT line. A good subject will persuade me to keep the message to look at later.
  • But if the subject is uninteresting, or the I can’t tell what it’s about, then it goes in the trash.

As a marketer, this is vital to keep in mind as you pen your message, and perhaps more importantly as you type out your subject line.

Apps and settings can vary from phone to phone, but most smart phones these days will show a subject line of about 24 characters in length. Everything else gets cut off, invisible till you open the message.

So, assuming you always send valuable information that benefits the reader ;) be sure to put effort into making your subject line the best it can be:

  • Use 24 characters or less
  • Show the benefit

Let’s take a look at some examples, and you be the judge. The following are ACTUAL subject samples currently showing on my phone:

  1. Job Postings on site
  2. Please donate to my re-elec…
  3. July Perspectives
  4. Council e-News
  5. Your Order Progress
  6. Best Practices for Executi…
  7. timely tip Life Goals
  8. Your Computer Wireless Ro…
  10. We Would Love to Have Yo…
  11. Sushi Night #50 July 8 6:30…
  12. Thousands line up for m

What are your thoughts? Tell us in 24 characters or less.