5 Types of Email Subject Lines that Inspire the Delete Button

Posted on June 1, 2012 by



If you work online as a full-time business, you are sending emails at some point to do business. But do you know that an email subject line is equally important as the content of your email, itself?

Voice talent and voice seekers communicate via email, send newsletters, market for voice over work etc., but when communications via email even lean the slightest bit towards confrontational or awkward, your email subject line may inspire a person to click delete or even list you as spam. At the end, we will share some tips on effective subject lines.

5 Types of Email Subject Lines that Inspire the Delete Button

1. The desperate cry for help ie.  “I need work. Can you help me?”

Why delete? You are asking a person to do work for you, before they open your email. No one ever “gets you work”. You do this for yourself, and find others to “work with”. It also comes across as begging, and this is a business that requires confidence 24/7.

2. The vague question ie. “Is it time yet?”

Why delete? Be careful of email spam that asks you to open up the email, and provides one link to click on. If you do, your computer may be hacked, along with all of your personal information and email lists. Most of the time, these emails are preceded by a vague question in the subject line.

3. The explosive subject line ie. “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!”

Why delete? Email subject lines are like a knock on the door. Capital letters and punctuation appear to be yelling or emotional. If someone banged on your door and screamed at you, how would you react? For emails, deleting is a non-confrontational way of not answering the door.

4. The (no subject) subject line

Why delete? Emails can be like conversations. Would you ever walk in a room and just start talking to people about random topics without explaining why you started talking? If you have no explanation for the email, you may consider it spam or delete it.

5. The subject line that attempts to sell a product ie. “Do you know about this new item you can get discounts on?”

Why delete? Granted, the process of “selling” is something we all do, but this is a time and age where we believe “selly” does not work. My insurance company has a caveman for a mascot, for example. The overall requirement is for everyone to come down to earth and try to speak to everyone as if on the same level. It is not easy. When someone attempts to “sell to us”, we instantly react, “You are just doing this to get my money…”. Of course, that is true for everyone, but the game has changed a bit. Instead of what you see above…try a simple, human email subject line that speaks directly at the person you are writing, and does not look like it will be an effort to answer or read. Saving people time does make the feel smarter to work with you.  Try this as a template, for example, if you wish to “sell without selling”…

“Steven here! Quick email about (insert topic). Did you (insert question)?”


  • It is safe
  • Non-threatening
  • Says most of what you needed to say anyway
  • Sounds like a conversation
  • You “knock on the door” and say your name

Do you have any you would like to add here? 🙂