How can I write a successful subject line for my email?

There is a great deal of debate about the writing of an email subject line and, really, you will need to learn what works with your particular customer base by monitoring the percentage of 'opens' in relation to the style of subject line you have chosen to use.

Writing good email subject lines is considered by some an art form - but you haven't got all day to ponder them!

Here are some good tips to consider:
  • The best email subject lines are often the most simple! You want your customer to be immmediately clear about what you are offering/telling/selling. Short and sweet is the answer! Any more than 40 characters in a subject line is pushing your luck!
  • Avoid promotional phrases that will sound like SPAM. Using single words like 'free', 'save' or 'offer' in your subject line is unlikely to cause internet service providers to identify your email as SPAM, however, if a considerable percentage of your email itself also contains 'promotional language' you might run into difficulties. You are better off telling your customer what they are going to find inside the email, rather than trying to sell it to them!
  • Experiment with using capitals for certain words, exclamation marks for effect, asking your customer a question to get them hooked in. Monitor the impact of using these techniques and use the ones that seem to be more popular with your specific audience next time your write a subject line of an email to them.
  • Give your customers what they signed up for. If you are writing a newsletter, the news needs to be relfected in the subject line...using the subject line to promote a product ("Win a leather luggage set!" might put them off!)

good email subject lines

  • If you are able to organise your email contact group into regional sub-groups, sending specific emails to people living in certain regions, with a subject line that refers to this specific location can have a positive impact on open rates. For instance, promoting horse-riding in Devon to those customers living in Devon is likely to be more effective than promoting UK-wide horse-riding to the same group. Keep subject lines personal and relevant wherever possible.
  • Ask questions and try to keep your emails personal, relevant and engaging.
  • Interestingly, including the recipients's name, either first or surname, in the subject line doesn't always prove effective. In fact some customers find this intrusive.
  • Although you might be asking for help or calling your customers to action, adding 'Help us' in the subject line can leave consumers feeling suspicious, as so many scam emails ask for customers' 'help' or 'assistance' these days.
  • Considering that many customers will be receiving hundreds of emails a day, you might want to make your subject line seem visibly different to others; the most successful email subject lines are those which stand out from the crowd. Consider using a quote, using capitals or characters differently, telling a joke, using brackets or being really specific with an unusual fact or statistic.
  • GOOD LUCK! Writing subject lines is deceptively hard, but watching your open rates increase as you get better at it is incredibly satisfying.

  • best email subject lines

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