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Email subject lines - how to kill off responses (or increase them) - and how to sign-off


Writing catchy subject lines for client email can be challenging if you want to get your message noticed, but there's one cardinal sin you should NEVER COMMIT - because if you do - it will kill off interest in your email messaging.

More than 300,000 publically available email threads were analysed by email productivity software company Boomerang to discover what does and doesn’t work when it comes to subject lines.

In a blog post, the company revealed subject lines written with a liberal use of caps lock get markedly fewer replies than those written in regular case.

Out of the 301,816 email subject lines analysed, the company found only 1687 were written entirely in capital letters. However, of those 1687, only 34.6 per cent received a response, compared to the 50 per cent response rate for subject lines written without all words capitalised.

“On average, users who wrote an email with an all uppercase subject received a reply 30 per cent less often, relative to the other emails in the set,” the company said.

Subject lines written in all caps are also far more likely to be picked up by an inboxes spam filter, with a number of popular spam filters using all-caps subject lines as a sign of an unsafe or superfluous email.

“It’s a bit ironic, but a critical email with a subject of “URGENT: PLEASE READ” could be less likely to make it to someone’s inbox compared to an email with a less dire subject line,” Boomerang said.

And if you’re wondering who are the most likely offenders when it comes to VERY LOUD subject lines, topping the list are users of American mail service AOL, followed by Hotmail and Yahoo users. Gmail users were the least likely to keep the shift key held down, with just 0.1 per cent of all-caps subject lines coming from Google’s mail service.

Boomerang has also looked into the best way to sign off an email. In research published earlier this year found ending an email with the pre-emptive “thanks in advance” receives a 65.7 per cent response rate.

Ending an email with a simple “thanks” or “thank you” received response rates of 63% and 57% respectively, and easygoing “cheers” generated a response 54.4% of the time.

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