Looking for Real-Life Meth Stories — Engage Your Readers and Colleagues with Short and Compelling Email Subject Lines Like This One

Looking for Real-Life Meth Stories. That’s the hands-down winner in my "best email subject line in my inbox contest."

My inbox — much like yours, I’m sure — is inundated by emails fighting to be read. If the sender isn’t someone I know, or an e-news or blog feed I subscribed to and read, most emails don’t have a chance. This one, from the Partnership for a Drugfree America, made the cut.

Not to say that you should strive for shock value in your email subject lines. But short and to the point is a must, for daily email correspondence as well as blog post and e-news headlines that double as subject lines.

Here are a few other dos and don’ts (and whys) from my in box:


  • Ann Finnegan of National Development Council meet Nancy Schwartz
    • A colleague introduced me to a prospective client via this email. The subject line makes it very easy for me — I already know exactly what the email will cover.


  • Bad: PR draws massive international media attention to forgotten environmental problems with 50-ton lime "doser"; Newsletter 09.12.2006
    • Winning PR Campaigns’ subject line is way too long to be be scanned in full without opening the email, and the e-news name (should read Winning PR Campaigns, not the generic newsletter) should be the first element in the subject line)
    • Better: [Winning PR Campaigns] Why a Recent Environmental Org’s PR Campaign Was Massively Effective
      • More benefit oriented. as readers can learn how to make their PR campaigns more effective.
      • More specific as to source and focus.
  • Bad: What are you doing Thursday night?
    • Eek. I have an email stalker. I’m surprised my spam filter didn’t catch this email from Democracy in America, but even after I see who it’s from, the headline gives makes me squirm.
    • Better: Register Now for Democracy for America’s Get America to the Polls Training — First Conference Call Session Thursday, Sept. 21, 8PM EST
      • Frames the invite.
      • Provides key data (time, date, training format).
      • Doesn’t scare me off.

Email me your examples of email subject line Dos and Dont’s and I’ll share them with Getting Attention Readers. Thanks.

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Nancy Schwartz in Copywriting, Email and E-Newsletters, Nonprofit Communications | 1 comment

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