4 Elements of Effective Email Subject Lines for Churches

My friend Kenny Jahng shared this framework at a seminar of his I was at on personal productivity. You should check out his blog or follow him on twitterhe’s got some great stuff to share!

Email communication is typically pretty core to a church’s communication strategy. We generate lists of people who have attended our church and then send them email to remind them about an upcoming series. We use email to communicate with our volunteers about what to expect when they serve and to ask them to sign up for more volunteer opportunities! We email our donors vitally important information about the finances of our church and our hope is that they will engage at a deeper financial level.

The content of your emails is useless if you can’t get people to open them. The only goal of your subject lines is to get people to open your email. 

Next time you write an email … take a considerable amount of time to craft a great subject line. You’ve worked so hard on the email … now ensure that people will want to read it! Here are some tips for composing great subject lines for your next emails …

  • stuffed-mailboxUseful // What problem does this email solve for people? How will reading it make their lives easier? Put yourself in your readers mind and figure out how you can position the email to help them with a problem they have. Always help your people!
    • Okay Subject Line: Sunday’s Kids Ministry Schedule
    • Better Subject Line: What You Can Expect This Sunday When You Serve. (Plus 3 Easy Ways to Prepare!)
  • Ultra Speed // People have limited time when they are scanning through their email. They are quickly looking over all the subject lines and trying to figure out where to start. In that stack of emails they will pick out the ones that are quickest to understand what the contents is all about. Also … most email programs have a limited number of characters that will display in the subject line. Make it short, sweet and to the point.
    • Okay Subject Line: Extreme Youth Ministry Weekly Update — What’s happening this Sunday that your friends are not going to want to miss coming to!
    • Better Subject Line: Seriously … you’re friends will thank you for this…
  • Unique // Let’s face it … there are lots of pretty boring emails out there! One of the risks we have as church leaders is that we just add to the boring email pile because we work on a weekly routine. Try to make your emails stand out with a bit of intrigue and wonder. Our Family Ministry team does an amazing job with this on their email subject lines … check out some recent ones from them:
    • Look who’s in our new video!
    • Why it matters for you to show up this Sunday.
    • I need your help with this 4 letter word.
    • Is it just another Sunday?
    • What a confession from a volunteer!
    • What will you miss if you don’t read this email?
  • Urgent // We are all competing for our people’s attention. If our subject lines don’t scream OPEN ME NOW then people won’t. It will just get ignored and dropped into the pile with the rest of the unread emails! Make sure your subjects beg people to open them.
    • Okay Subject Line: [St. James] Weekly Update for Sunday May 12th, 2014
    • Better Subject Line: You don’t want to miss point 4 in this email. (You’ve been warned.)

What have been some of your best subject lines in emails that you’ve sent to your people? Share them in the comments!

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.