How many e-mails do you receive a day? If you’re like Folio:’s edit staff, probably way too many. With the crush of e-mail marketing flooding into consumers’ inboxes and the window for recognition of the message before hitting delete eroding, it’s no surprise that more and more marketers are looking to the subject line as their first;and last;chance of getting through.

Ann Handley, chief content officer for, a business-to-business publishing and seminar company based in Los Angeles, has a few tips for writing surefire subject lines that’ll cut through the clutter.

1. Be personal and relevant. Tell your reader why he or she should spend their precious time reading your e-mail. Distill the content of your e-mail or offer into a brief and compelling reason: "You Don’t Want to Miss this Candid…" Maybe it goes without saying, but avoid spammy words like "free," "now," "offer," or exclamation points.

2. Be active. Convey energy and immediacy by using an active verb in the subject line: "Why Love Stinks."

3. Foster curiosity. A little intrigue goes a long way. Pique the interest of your reader by creating a little mystery; don’t give away the goods in the subject line itself. So instead of "Brown and Blue: The New Colors of 2006," try "What are the hottest colors of 2006?"
4. Deliver on your promise. You’ll risk credibility with your readers if you don’t give them what you promise, so be sure your e-mail or offer lives up to the subject line.

5. Keep it short and sweet. The mileage varies on subject line space depending on what mail client a reader is using, but keep it short and sweet. Think 25-30 characters.

New Ecommerce and Paid Content Models
Check out this related session at The Folio: Show, November 1-2 in NYC!

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