Fred Chapellier

Email Marketing Specialist

Tips on How to Find Perfect Subject Lines for Your Emails

Despite the widespread use and ever increasing popularity of social media networks, e-mail still remains the most effective form of digital marketing. As per current trends, internet gurus have predicted that approximately a third of the world’s population will be using e-mail by 2017. This is why most businesses spend a considerable amount of their resources in building up sizeable subscriber lists for promoting their products and services.

Unfortunately, a healthy number of subscriptions is not enough to send high value traffic to your site. Most people decide on opening an e-mail based on the subject line alone. Basically, if your subject text cannot pique their interest, your emails will stay unopened or even worse, go to spam. While there is no such thing as the perfect subject line, discussed as follows are a few useful tips to help you draft better.

Craft your Subject Lines like Tweets

Keep your e-mail subject lines short so that people can read it in one go without any portion of it being cut off. This is especially true for mobile devices wherein almost half of global population checks their e-mail since the viewable snippets are even shorter. Ideally, your subject lines ought to be around 60 characters or lesser. Identify those words which are absolutely necessary and eliminate ones that sound superfluous. Specific details matter little when it comes to subject lines. Keep it short, simple and most importantly, interesting. When it comes to subject lines, shorter is always better even though this might seem a bit counter intuitive.

Evoke Emotions

The best performing e-mail subject lines are those which successfully evoke strong emotions in their readers. Most top performing subject lines typically appeal to their readers’ sense of curiosity, temptation, empathy, humor or get them excited. This is why “How to”, “X easy ways to” or “Things you can do” type of subject lines perform have such a high open rate. Unanswered questions in your subject lines have the same effect too. These sorts of lines help your audience identify with and relate to your brand.

Apart from intriguing subject lines, you should also focus on text that makes your product or service more attractive to your subscribers. Basically, you need to tell them how opening your email will benefit them. This could be subscriber exclusive free trials, downloads, or discounts.

Personalize your Email Subject Lines for your Subscribers

Several recent surveys have shown that e-mails with personalized subject lines have a much higher open rate and click through rate compared to generic mails that target everyone on a mailing list. This comes as no surprise since everyone appreciates the extra attention and care. Private invites and exclusive offers are very popular examples of this. It makes your subscribers feel like insiders which further increases their brand loyalty. Apart from clever wordplay, sending targeted e-mails to specific groups of customers based on their past interaction with your emails or website can have a tremendous impact on your traffic volume and sales. This indicates how much your business values its customers. In this context, it is also worth mentioning that people prefer to open e-mails from organizations with a human face. Basically, an e-mail from will have a higher open rate than

Use Action-Oriented-Words

Action-oriented verbs in subject lines perform very well since they create a sense of excitement and urgency in the minds of your subscribers. That being said, this has little effect if you keep repeating this tactic. For best results, use this tactic sparingly for special events. Some examples of action oriented text include “Weekend only offer” and “buy now” which effectively create a sense of urgency that in turn massively drives up your email open rate and ultimately the click through rate. There are many other types of action oriented words that deliver great results as long as you use them once in a while. To put it simply, action oriented verbs should be the exception rather than the norm. If you use these phrases too frequently, people will simply stop opening your mails and stop taking you seriously.  

Split Testing

It is impossible to predict what works and what doesn’t for your organization with much certainty. This is where split testing  -often called A/B testing - comes in. It tells how you can tweak your subject lines for maximum performance. Basically, split testing refers to creating multiple versions of the same content with minor differences so you can tell what works best. There are several websites that offer tools for split testing like MailChimp. Even if you think you know what appeals to your subscribers, keep split testing your subject lines from time to time. This is arguably as valuable as analytics when it comes to figuring out what subject lines you should be going for.