Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.
An online devotional for writers
Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. (Philippians 2:4, NLT)
Your email subject line has a special mission: its job is to get your reader to open the email.
Why do so many subject lines fail at this?
Maybe I could get some answers from my own inbox.
So I hopped over to check my email. Here are the subject lines of three recent emails.
Subject Line #1: “Join our new virtual event “
The sender, a large commercial ministry, didn’t say what the event was about or how the event could help me with my ministry work. I’m busy. I need a reason to attend a virtual event.
How about this instead: “Fuel your preteen ministry at our new virtual event”
Subject Line #2: “Journal from Susan “
Each email I get from Susan has the same title, which is too vague. Which also explains why I rarely open them. And what if I was a new donor or new subscriber?
How about this instead: “Susan’s Journal: How Your Gift of 28 Goats Saved a Village Last Winter”
Subject Line #3: “Break the Painful Catch-22 Cycle”
This subject line surprised me the most – not because it was too general (which of the zillions of possible Catch-22s can I break?), but because it was from a major marketing magazine. Tsk, tsk. They should know better. Specifics, people!
How about this instead: “Too Busy? Break Out of the Catch-22 Wasted Time Cycle”
I’m sure each of these senders wanted me to open their emails so I could benefit from what they had to offer.
But each made a fatal flaw which earned them the "Delete" rather than "Open": they didn’t let me know they cared. They only talked about themselves in the subject line.
Special offers, deadlines, trigger words – these are useful tools for persuading your reader to open your email. But they are only tools. Do you let your reader know you care – even in the subject line?
Show your reader you care – even in the subject line.
You speak through Your Word, even in short snippets. Your messages to me always show that you care. Help me do the same as I write to my reader.
In Jesus’s name, Amen.
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