Avoid This Stupid Mistake #3: Failure to Market Your E-Mail

Here’s the situation:  Like you, I am inundated with e-mail, both the kind that I need for my profession and the insidious spam that seems to multiply when I sleep.  When I open my inbox, I have the job of sorting through these e-mails under intense time pressure.  There’s always more mail than time to give it.This means that all of us who write e-mail must compete for our receiver’s most precious resource:  attention. 

Here’s the stupid mistake:  A respected, seasoned colleague of mine sends me e-mails with no subject line.  Because I identify her name, I open these e-mails.  When a name that I don’t immediately recognize hits my inbox with a blank subject line, I automatically delete the message.  No hesitation on this one. 

I’ve had occasions when at the very last minute I’ve recognized a name as an important contact, or even a client, and rescued the e-mail.  When this happens, I can’t help but shake my head at the lack of professionalism—and the risk this person takes of having the message lost altogether—in this oversight. 

Here’s the solution:  ALWAYS take time to compose a compelling subject line for your e-mails.  Here are two important reasons:

  1. You are competing for attention, and it’s smart to use every advantage you have.  Your subject line sells your message.  If you fail to compel, the message gets deleted.
  2. Your subject line is like a file drawer for your message.  If a person needs to search for your message at a later date, it’s the subject line that makes it possible to find it.
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