5 Best Email Subject Line Tips

Published by

When thinking about what to call this blog post, I considered something like “How to write the perfect email subject line”, but there is no such thing as the perfect email subject line. The effectiveness of a subject line all depends on what you want to achieve. “Err opens!” I hear you say. Well if ‘open rate’ was the only metric marketers needed to worry about, you would get Brands using subject lines like “75% off Everything – Today Only”. This tactic would result in huge open rates (if it didn’t get caught in a spam filter and recipients trusted your brand), but unless your email content can deliver on the promises your subject line is making, it is pointless.

That said however, there are certain techniques which can increase the effectiveness of your email subject lines. Here are 5 tips to get you started:


Tip 1: Create urgency in your subject line

If the recipient doesn’t open the email when they first see it, the likelyhood is that it will get pushed down the inbox and forgotten about. Making the subject time sensitive will create urgency and encourage the recipient to open the email.

Tip 2: Call Entice to action

Subject lines are perhaps not the best place for a full on call to  action. It is a bit like requesting a good night kiss from your date, before you have even sat down for dinner!

For more lessons in love, pre-order my forthcoming ebook “Dating & Emailing: From Sign up to Win back campaigns“.

Obviously you still need to entice the recipient to open, but this can be done by using the subject line to preview the value within the email itself.

Tip 3: From Name (the second subject line)

Apart from the subject line, the ‘from name’ is the only other opportunity to make an impression on the email recipient before they open it.

Often brands will simply use their company name as the from name and in most instances this is appropriate. If your brand has built up a good reputation, it will unlock doors (or emails), so you would be foolish not to use it. However there are instances when using a persons name may help. For example, sending an email with a from name of “Roberto – Man City” may encourage more fans to open, over just using “Man City”.

Of course, you can always run an A/B split test or an MVT test with different from names and subject lines.

Tip 4: Avoid overly promotional subject lines

You want your subscribers to love you, for you, not because you put out easily (ooh that is making it into the ebook!). Don’t fall into the habit of discounting your product or service too often. Your subscribers will become numb to it and subsequently value your offering far less.

Aim to offer a consistent and sustainable proposition with your emails and subject lines. Then on the occasions you decide to run a promotion it will have a far greater impact.

Tip 5: Relevance is the subject line’s call to action

This is an obvious tip, but the more relevant the email subject line is to the recipient, the more likely they are going to open the email. It will work far more effectively than an overly pushy and premature call to action.

Imagine you are a bush craft enthusiast living in Northampton and you received an email from Millets with a subject line of “Ray Mears to visit Northampton store”. You would most likely open that email because it is highly relevant and local too.

Let's talk subject lines

To discuss these email subject line tips and how Emailcenter can help make you pick a powerful subject line, get in touch online or call us on 01327 811884.

About Craig Loynes

Marketing Manager at Emailcenter, the UK's largest independent ESP. Connect with +Craig Loynes on Google+ or follow on for more email marketing insights.