To read Fifty Shades of Grey (I’m up to Fifty Shades Darker), for the email exchanges between Anastasia and Christian is like reading Playboy for the engrossing articles. But while you’re reading, take a moment to read the subject lines (seriously, I mean it!).

And then think about the subject lines you write.

Once you have a relationship with someone (not the fifty shades kind, the business kind), subject lines are only important to help them forward and archive your message.

But when you’re in the romancing stage, trying to woo them and win them over so they will actually click open your email, what you write in your subject line matters.

Not that they read the subject line first. The “From” line trumps the subject line. But if you pass the from test, then the subject line comes next.

Here are “hard rules” for writing subject lines when:
– you’re writing to one other person – your prospect – (not a mass marketing campaign)
-you want to start an authentic relationship

#1. Get to the point.
Your subject line should be a concise summary of what your email is about.

#2. Ask.
If your email asks for an action, put the request in the subject line:
Action request: Phone call Tuesday

#3.Make sense!
Old-school (last year) said to omit articles (the, a, an) to keep the subject line concise. Not anymore. If your subject line sounds like a telegram (Stop. No one knows what telegram is. Stop. Sorry. Stop.), you can feel certain that your reader will identify it as spam. Also, it turns out that by adding the word “this” (to a specific type of offer email), can increase your open rate by 125% (according to Copyblogger).

#4. Most important comes first.
Write the most important info (to the reader) first. Reading on mobile devices can cut the number of characters we see in preview and if the message is about you (Hotel X announces a long awaited renovation!), it will be deleted. (Just to clarify, the example is a truthful summary of the email but you want to ensure the truthful summary talks about what matters to them. Here is a better choice: Your 2012 meeting attendees will be so comfortable…)

Now about those “soft rules,” you tell me. What is on your list?

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