How To Write Email Subject Lines for Business


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If you are writing English emails for work, considering what you will use as the subject line for your emails is important. Most people working in business are sending and receiving many emails every day, and often they will simply delete or mark as spam emails they do not think are important. In this article I will show you how to improve your Business English email subject lines so that they are more likely to be taken seriously and opened by the person you send it to.


Start by determining in a few words what your email is about:

For Example:

  • Friday Meeting Time
  • Sales Event Location
  • Next Week´s Work Schedule

Once you have completed this step you can move to the steps below as appropriate for your email to make this email subject line even more likely to be opened.

Use words that help make it sound important:

You can now modify your original words by adding some words and revising them slightly to increase the likelihood of the reader opening your email. What you want to do is let the reader know that there is some new information inside of the email that they probably want to know about.

Words you can add:  change, new, revision, updated, modified

Words you can add when it´s really important (but only when it´s really important, if you over use these words people will stop taking them seriously): important, urgent

For Example:

  • Friday Meeting Time = Change of Friday Meeting Time
  • Sales Event Location = New Location for Sales Event
  • Next Week´s Work Schedule = Revision to the Work Schedule

If you belong to a company that meets every Friday, always at 9am, you might receive and email saying “Friday Meeting Time” and not think it´s very important, because you already know about the meeting and the time.  However, if you receive an email saying “change of meeting time” – now you know there is some piece of information inside of this email that you need and want to know, and you are more likely to open it.

The key is to do this with all the email subject lines you write.  Give the reader the impression that there is something inside of the email that they need to know about, something has changed, something is new, etc.

Let the person know if you need a response:

You may be in a situation where you are sending an email and you need the person receiving it to respond by a certain date or time. Adding this into the subject line of the email can be very useful in getting the response you want and in the time you want.

For Example:

  • Proposed Changes to E7 Document – Please respond by Friday
  • Response Required by 12 noon – Please Read

Use the name of the person who referred you:

If you are sending an email to a new person for the first time based on the referral of another person, add this to the subject line, do not wait until the body of the email. You want this person to understand that you are coming from someone they already know and not to consider your email a spam.

For Example:

  • Inquiring About New Growth Opportunity – Mark Hansel Recommendation
  • Rachel Hunts Referral – Sales Manager Position Application

As you can see in both of these cases the person who is receiving the email may take it much more seriously than other emails that they would receive. There may be hundreds of people applying for the Sales Manager Position, but if the person receiving the email has a strong relationship with Rachel Hunts they are very likely to consider your email as important based on seeing her name.

Let them know what you have to offer:

If you are in a situation of sending a “cold email” – which is an email where you don´t know the person who is receiving it and there is no recommendation from any other person, you want to let them know as clearly as you can what the service or product that you are offering is.

For Example:

  • 50% Discount on Shelly´s Shoes
  • Professional Home Inspection Services in Sioux Falls

Use their name to make it more personal:

This is also for cold emails. You can put the name of the company that you are writing your email to in the subject line so that they are aware that you are really addressing this email specifically to them, and that it is not spam content.

For Example:

  • Resources Available for Mark´s Work Warehouse
  • Potential Sales Opportunity for Leslie´s Books

What NOT to do:

You want to be seen, open and read. The following are things that you should NOT do in your email subject line:

  • Use sentences like “nice to meet  you”, “hello”, “thanks”, etc.
  • Write a sentence that you don´t finish in the subject line but later in the email

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