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Constructing the Subject Line of Your Email Newsletter

The subject line of your ezine is the very first impression of your publication that your subscribers will see. How do you make it compelling enough for them to open your email newsletter and read it? What are the "no-no's" of subject lines? Below you will find some helpful tips to help you make a good first impression.

First things first. There are a few formatting etiquette standards that you may want to consider. Following these steps will assist you in getting past many spam filters, as well as legitimizing your newsletter as a "real" publication and not junk. Put the name of your newsletter in square brackets, followed by the issue title.

[Bobby Anne's Gardening Tips] The Best Time To Plant Bulbs

While the above formatting is not a rule, you may find that it helps your subscribers to quickly identify your ezine, as well as create filtering/sorting rules for their inboxes.

Avoid words such as "free," "money back guarantee," "sale" etc. in your subject line. Many junk filters target these terms as spam sending you to the bin instead of the inbox.

Compelling Subject Lines
Write subject lines that will attract your subscribers to open your newlsetter. Remember, just because they subscribed, doesn't mean that they're actually reading your publication. You have about 50 characters in your subject line. Get it right.

OK: "Improve your Website"
Better: "How to Make Your Website More Effective"
Best: "The 7 Deadly Website Sins, and How To Avoid Them" (borrowed from Scott Stratten of

Speak to your readers' needs. They're subscribing to your newsletter for information and help. Let them know in the subject line how you are going to help them or, what you have for them.

To Be Cute or Not
Should you get "cute and catchy" in your subject lines? There's no easy answer to this. If you get too cute, you may not be taken seriously. On the other hand, if you have a subscriber base with a sense of humor, a catchy and compelling subject line can actually be helpful and keep your email newsletter fresh.

Be Consistent
Once you decide on a subject line format for your ezine, stick to it. This will assist you in branding your ezine and in recognition. Don't jump around with the format. It's OK to experiment, but if you do change formats, stick with it for a while; don't change with each issue.

Read the Newspaper
Newspaper editors and publishers have their headlines down to an art. Pay attention to how they convey in so few words what the article is about.

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