For H2H Consulting’s next Blog Series, we’re going to dissect an email, step by step. We’ve found that not everyone knows how to construct an email for performance. The first thing we’re going to talk about is the subject line.

The subject line of email is, according to the English Cambridge Dictionary, “the space at the top of an email in which a line of text is written that tells you what the email is about.”

The first and most important thing about subject lines is to never leave them blank. If you leave the subject line blank, the recipient will not know what your email is talking about. Business Insider writes “an email with a blank subject line will likely get deleted, lost, or immediately irritate the recipient.”

And while it’s important to have one, it’s also important not to write too much in the subject line. On a computer screen subject lines show about 50 characters, while mobile devices only show between 25 and 30. You don’t want the main point of your email to be lost after those characters, so make sure your point is at the beginning of the subject line. A good rule of thumb is to get your point across in the first 4-7 words, assuming none of them are “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

Your subject line should also be specific. You want the recipient to have complete understanding of what you are saying to them. For example, when Esther emailed the first draft of this blog post to Kendra, she will write “New H2H Blog Post” not “Read me”. This is because it is immediately clear that this is a post for our site, and not for a client. It is also clear that it is a blog to edit and not an article to look at in her free time.

Adding off of that last example, you shouldn’t leave the recipient with any cliffhangers. If you start a thought in the subject line you should finish it in the subject line, most of the time too. Again, the person you sent the email too could be annoyed that they need to open the email to see what you are saying. While that could get you a higher open rate, it might get you a higher unsubscribe rate too. Respect your email subscribers.

Wondering what will perform the best? That depends on your audience and what you are sharing with them. Keep in mind that relevant and timely information is always best and if that is what you are sharing, it will be opened.

Hopefully this post has given you tips on a better subject line. Check back soon for our next post in the series, the email pre-header!