Ismail Aly

Email Subject Line Best Practices

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catchy subject lines for emails

With hundreds of new emails in our inbox to sift through every day, what makes you decide to open an email? It’s the email subject line, as it is the first impression of the email and a good indication of whether the email message is valuable or a waste of your time.

If you are an email marketer then you want your email campaigns to be opened and not to be ignored. According to Convince & Convert "33% of email recipients open email based on subject line alone". So it makes sense that you spend time crafting the best email subject line possible. Below, are my 15 of email subject line best practices for crafting effective email subject lines to increase your email campaign open rate

  1. DON’T WRITE IN ALL CAPS AND INCLUDE EXCLAMATION POINTS!!! Not only is this obnoxious, but you’re more likely to end up in a spam filter.
  2. Avoid long subject lines. 20 to 30 characters is plenty because consumers won’t read past that and most of the wording will likely be cut off on the screen, particularly on mobile devices.
  3. Don’t use spammy words like FREE or open immediately Don’t use symbols or strange characters Don’t over sell in the subject line
  4. Test your subject lines. A/B test your subject lines to see which performs better. If
  5. Test and see if people respond better to your company name as the sender or as an employee’s name. 
  6. Try framing subject lines as a question or with another call to action Give the user an idea of what is in the email 
  7. Writing minimalistsimple and to the point email subjects will get the most response. Users need to be able to immediately determine which emails they want to read and which ones should go in the trash. For example (5 Ways To Better Manage Your Time)
  8. Most companies send emails with dry, uninspired and boring subject lines. Funny and humorous subject lines will make your emails stand out from the crowd. The reader will assume if your subject line is funny, your email will be too.(Customer Surveys: Baby Got (Feed)back)
  9. Controversial and debatable subject lines will always grab the attention of your reader. (CPC Advertising Sucks: How To Quit Wasting Money)
  10. One-word email subject lines are decisive and stand out from all other emails in the reader’s inbox. Barack Obama proved the effectiveness of this strategy with the subject, “Hey.” (Yikes! ... Whoops… or Yikes)
  11. Numbered lists subjects have higher open rate because they are easy to read and quick to consume. (Top 10 Tips for Successful WebEx Meetings)
  12.  Questions open a communication channel between you and your readers making your emails more friendly and conversational. (Ever Wonder If Your Boss Actually Likes You? Here’s How To Find Out.)
  13. No one likes to be missed out. If you have promotions, encourage readers to act quickly. Subject lines that portray a sense of urgency like  “Limited Time … , Last Chance … , The Final …. Don’t Miss” have higher open rates. 
  14.  “How” is one of the most effective words in email subjects. It’s an indication that your email will be informative. If you know what your customers are looking for and sending them a  “How to…” email will result in a higher open rate (How To Protect Your Mobile Screen)
  15. Go further than simply adding your reader’s name to the subject line. Target your emails to specific customers attributes such as Location-specific, Gender, Stage in the buyer's journey, Age, Birthdate, etc. will result in high open rates. Personalized (5 Best Lunch Deals In Santiago) 
I hope that I have presented some useful best practices for  email marketing subject lines that will help your email campaign achieve a higher email open rate. I would love to hear your comments or If you have any additional tips to add to this list, drop a line in the comment box below.
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Ismail Aly

Ismail Aly

Inbound Marketing & Sales Enablement Consultant, HubSpot User Group Leader, HubSpot Platinum Partner

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