An email subject line is like a first impression, and as a business, it’s your job to make sure the first impression you make with your target audience is a good one. You know that email marketing is a vital part of your business’ marketing plan, but with the billions of other emails landing in inboxes daily, how do you craft a subject line that stands out and increases your open rates? 

I’m sure you can think back on bad subject lines that have landed in your inbox – anything from the spammy all-caps promotion to a generic snooze-fest, there are plenty of mistakes to be made. But creating a catchy and engaging subject line is a bit trickier, and we’re here to shed some light on the process. These tips will help you write an email subject line that not only rises to the top of inboxes but also keeps your business top of mind. 

Keep it simple and relevant. No one wants to decode your message or fall subject to a bait-and-switch – a faux pas of this nature will definitely land you in spam folders. Instead, keep your subject line short, scannable, and directly related to the email campaign you’re sending. According to a study by MailChimp, the ideal length is between 28 and 39 characters. 

Example: “An Email About Emails” – Adobe Creative Suite

Provide a compelling reason to click “open”. Why should the recipient of your campaign open your email instead of the hundreds of others in their inbox? Without an incentive or a catch, most recipients won’t care to open. This could be a call-to-action, a teaser, or a question that begs to be answered. Keep your audience in mind. Use email to share something of value with your audience, and make sure you convey this value clearly. 

Example: “It It Actually Better to Shower in the Morning or at Night?” – SELF Daily

Be curious, personal, and urgent. Ask a question in your subject line to engage with the recipient’s curiosity, and experiment with using recipient’s names in the subject line to build a sense of rapport. Additionally, urgency is a sales tactic for a reason: it works. By conveying a sense of urgency through phrases like “one day sale” or “offer expires soon” encourages recipients to open the email immediately before they miss out.  

Example: “Open ASAP – You Could Win a Getaway to the Harlem EatUp!” – Good Housekeeping

Finally, determine what works for your audience. A/B testing is a tool that allows you to send two versions of the same campaign. Both versions will be identical (the control elements) with the exception of the component you’re testing (for example, the placement of the call-to-action, or the photo header). This allows you and your team to assess what images, language, colors, and design your particular audience responds most favorably – and implement these strategies into future campaigns.