What if you treated your Email Subject Like a Google Search?

Education & Training with Tech Training for You!

Email is a major part of our daily communications. How many messages do you get in your inbox every day? Quite a few, I'm certain of that! Every email message has a "Subject" that you can type in. What do you put in your subject line when you write a message? Do you stare at it with a blank look? Do you even leave it blank? A subject line can be an extremely useful bit of information and needs to be given attention! Let's talk about it some.

When you open up your email application, you see a list of your messages with the sender's name, the date, and the SUBJECT LINE. Now let's consider you are looking for a specific message recently received from somebody because you are trying to remember the answer to a question you asked. When that is the case with me, I usually click the "From" column heading to sort my inbox by the sender. From there, you can skim through the subject lines to narrow down your search to find the message you have in mind. NOW, what if the person sends you a lot of messages and they are not too keen on the whole subject line idea so let's say that every message from them is blank subject line. How hard is it going to be for you to find it? Minutes in are day are too few already to waste any more of them! True, you can "search" for the message, but sometimes that still makes it hard because you can't seem to find the right message still.

Subject lines are sometimes funny things when you look at what others do. We've mentioned "mr. blank" who puts nothing. Then there's "ms. tellyouthewholestory" that puts practically the whole message into the subject line. Next there's "mr. vagueness" who types only generically "here's the info" or "please help" or "I have a question" or my favorite "sorry to bother you but..."

If you are any of those people above, then this article is for you. Subject lines should be a few carefully selected keywords specific to your topic. So in other words, don't say "info for you" - say "photo for new ad". Another example, don't say "need help" - say "property tax info needed"

Subject lines SHOULD be a series of keywords. I know that you know how that works. Every time you go to Google and search for something you type a few carefully selected and specific keywords. So I know you know how the keywords principal works! Just think to yourself "a FEW words, specific and not generic..."

One final thought on the subject of subject lines. When you want to write somebody an email and you are inclined to grab the last message from them and reply, but your reply is on A TOTALLY DIFFERENT TOPIC, well - CHANGE the subject line. You can do it, don't be lazy! A shortcut today is short sighted later!

You can't control what others do in their subject lines, but you can control what you do and maybe they'll learn from your good example! But in any case, at least half of your messages (the sent ones) are easy for future lookup!

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Alan Bruzee
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Rockville, MD

Your email should tell the summary so people can find it when they are looking for it.  I can't believe that anyone sends an email without a subject.


Sep 06, 2010 02:09 PM #1
Christine Pappas - REALTOR®
eXp Realty - Willoughby, OH
eXp Realty - Because Experience Matters

Good post Craig!  I don't like getting email without a subject line.

Sep 06, 2010 02:17 PM #2
Peggy Dowcett
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Concord, MA
978.302.3988, Concord, MA - Mass Real Estate

Craig - I totally agree with you. It is so annoying to go back and find an email that doesn't have a few key words in the subject line!

Sep 06, 2010 02:21 PM #3
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

I ask that my clients and customers put the property address in the subject line and if they come through my website, there is an auto subjec line in their contact info.  I NEVER open an e-mail with nothing in the subject line or

Sep 06, 2010 02:25 PM #4
Mary Macy
Top Agents Atlanta Metro - Roswell, GA
Top Agents Atlanta Metro

Good Post, I love blogs, you can read what you want.  I also love permission based email, just wish there was a great way to make it work, too much in the in box.  Great ideas here.

Sep 06, 2010 04:21 PM #6
Michele Miller ~ REALTOR®, LMC, HSE, CHS, SRES, CMRS
ERA Key Realty~Worcester County Realty Group - Worcester, MA
'Helping You Make the Best Move"


I usually don't like to open the email if they don't have a subject line. You never know!

Thanks as always for the information!

Sep 06, 2010 10:20 PM #7
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

The property address always when communicating with a client. . after is done, I put them in a folder for my records.. .

Sep 07, 2010 12:02 AM #8
Kate Elim
Dockside Realty - Spotsylvania, VA
Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a

Hi Craig...I usually put my clients name first in the subject line and then the purpose of the message.  This is especially helpful for me when sending them listings from our MLS as my copy than lets me know right away who it is about.  I use Google.com and find the label system very helpful.


Sep 09, 2010 02:30 PM #9
Jana Holmstrup
Jana Holmstrup - CCO - Kings Mortgage Services, Inc. - Visalia, CA
Subject lines - one of my biggest pet peeved! Especially the 'blank' ones or the 'reply to' that is on a completely different subject! I think I may share your post with my whole company, if that's okay with you? Jana (your newest subscriber:)
Sep 11, 2010 08:41 AM #10
Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

Jana - share as much as you like! - thanks for subscribing

Sep 11, 2010 08:47 AM #11
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

This is especially true when dealing with a transaction.  I always like to have the address first, then the topic in the subject line.  Makes it easy to find all the relevant emails with 1 click.  

Sep 11, 2010 09:14 AM #13
Betsy Schuman Dodek
Washington Fine Properties - Washington DC Area Real Estate - Potomac, MD

Craig, This is a very helpful reminder and makes us more organized!



Sep 15, 2010 03:00 AM #14
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

This has always been one of my pet peeves. Keep spreading the word!

Oct 22, 2010 04:54 PM #15
Kristyn Grewell
CENTURY 21 Goodyear Green Edmond, OK - Edmond, OK
Edmond, OK Homes, Oklahoma Relocation Services

Great post.  I need to take your advice on this one!

Jan 23, 2011 12:00 PM #16
Frank Rubi
Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC - Metairie, LA

Craig I like subject line that have a few key words. My example 123 front st counter etc...

May 03, 2011 12:17 AM #17
Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

Frank - good to hear you are a keyword guy! address plus topic is a good plan - you'll be happy later when you want to go back and find something!

May 03, 2011 08:56 AM #18
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Craig Daniels

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