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Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing platforms accessible, but only when used properly. If you’re sending emails that are generating open rates of less than 20%, you’re doing it wrong.

The subject line of an email grabs the reader’s attention right away. It becomes a deciding element for the customer whether or not to open the mail and check. Writing these subject lines is not as easy as they look. Creativity can help but knowing the important tried and tested factors can help you write a better subject line in no time. Everything you need to know about email subject lines will be covered in this post.

How To Write A Better Subject Line For Emails?
How To Write A Better Subject Line For Emails?

Objectives Of This Post

  • Understanding the critical elements of the subject lines
  • The standard length of the subject line
  • Using subject lines to push customers to take action
  • Clear and concise form of email communication
  • Do’s and Don’t for writing a subject line
  • Different styles of a subject line

The Critical Importance of Subject Line

The role of subject lines is vital in influencing people to open the mail. You need to have a competitive advantage over others as the user simply scrolls his inbox and clicks through those emails which interest him. 

Email users check their inboxes an average of 20 times a day, with 99 percent of those checking daily. 58 percent of those persons check their email first thing in the morning. 40% of consumers report having more than 50 unread emails in their inboxes.

Around 33% of people open an email solely based on the subject line alone. You have only 5-7 words to get the attention of your recipients and drive them to open the email. A subject line should be personal, relevant, and timely. It should communicate the benefit the recipient will receive rather than what the email contains.

Deciding Subject Line Length

To ensure your subject line grabs the recipient’s attention, keep it between 40 and 50 characters, or between 5-7 words. However, it depends also on which device the recipient use. A study of more than 2 million emails sent found that the four-word subject line had the highest open rate.

Subject Line Wording Improves Performance

While the length of the subject line may seem like a crucial factor in open and click rates, many other factors influence readers’ decisions to open or click on an email. These factors include the industry you are in or marketing to, your choice of words, the offer you are making, the rate at which you send emails to your list, and the degree to which you segment your email list.

It’s easy to assume that the shorter the subject line, the more likely it is that people will open it. However, personalizing a subject line for each user is even more effective than keeping it short. Personalizing emails will increase your open rates more than anything else, even more than sending emails on certain days or using a specific number of characters in your subject line.

The two most important things when writing a subject line are: To whom are you sending it and what are you sending them? If you’re sending your email to a large group of people but with a highly personalized message—for example, if you’re wishing them all “Happy Birthday!”—then the email becomes very relevant and people are much more likely to engage with it. On the other hand, if you’re sending an email out to all of your contacts at once, it will not make sense to everybody.

Words in the Subject Line: Actions, Promises, and Outcomes

When you’re deciding on words for your subject lines, there are a few things you need to consider.

Who are your recipients? It’s important to know your audience. If you’re not sending an email blast to a broad audience, but you’ve segmented your email list by interest, it’s worth noting that the subject line should be different depending on the people you’re targeting.

What are you sending? Are you sending out a weekly bulk email with a roundup of all the news and discounts offered by your brand? Or is it a promotional email with one particular offer? Once you know what you’re sending, you’ll have a better idea of how to introduce it in the subject line.

How will this benefit the reader? Think about what the recipient wants to see in their inbox. If they’ve subscribed to receive weekly roundups from your brand, they don’t want to open an email that says “Check out this amazing discount!” The best thing about being able to choose who gets which emails are that you can personalize the subject line accordingly. Make sure the content matches up with what’s promised in the subject line.

Things To Remember While Writing A Subject Line

  1. Forgetting to include a subject line in an email is a common mistake. This type of email is likely to be ignored or buried in a large email folder. Write the subject line of the email first, so you’ll have a record of what has to be done.
  1. In a typical email inbox, roughly 60 characters of the subject line are shown, whereas just 25 to 30 characters are shown on a mobile phone. Use no more than six to eight words to get to the point. In fact, more than half of all emails are opened on a mobile phone. It’s critical to place the most critical information at the front of the subject line because of the variable nature of smartphone screen size. Otherwise, important information can be omitted.
  1. To help the reader prioritise the email’s relevance without opening it—and to delete or file it quickly if needed—the subject line should convey the email’s content in its most concise form. 
  1. Marketing emails, particularly those sent cold, should be focused on a single activity. An offer for how the reader might benefit from what you’re selling should be included in your subject line.
  2. Your message isn’t likely to catch the attention of a professional if they don’t already have a filter or a folder set up to manage their email inbox. In order to make the email searchable in the future, it’s important to include keywords relevant to the subject of the email.
  1. The value you bring should be highlighted. Emails sent to people you don’t know should have subject lines that convey value and communicate what they’ll get in exchange for their attention. The reader’s attention will be piqued if you provide them with something of value. Make it obvious in the subject line what you’re offering, whether it’s a speaking engagement, a discount, or a service. 
  1. To ensure that your receiver will open the email, personalization is a terrific method to indicate that you’ve done your homework. When you personalize an email, the recipient recognizes that it’s not just a generic message sent to hundreds of people. Instead, they see that you are taking the time to figure out what interests them, making them more likely to click on and read your message.

Things To Avoid While Writing A Subject Line

We all know the feeling of opening our email and seeing a long list of messages that need to be read. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and shut down, so it’s important to craft your subject line in a way that encourages the recipient to open your message and respond. 

  1. Get rid of unnecessary words. Do not spend the little amount of space you have by wasting it on needless words like “hello,” “good to meet you,” and “thank you.” 
  1. Don’t begin a statement in the body of an email and finish it in the subject line. You have to open the email if you start with a notion or a query that ends in the email. Anger and disrespect for the recipient’s time are two reasons why this isn’t useful. Your query may be better served by using one of the following mediums: instant message, phone call, or face-to-face conversation. 
  1. Make sure your subject line is free of typos by reading it over several times. Avoid copy-and-paste blunders. Sometimes when people send similar emails to several persons, they forget that each reader should be tailored and the erroneous name or title ends up being used. 
  1. In our emails, we’re not unusual in using capital letters or other special characters. If we’re enthused about something or if we want to make a point, we may exaggerate. However, did you know there are more effective approaches? Using full capital letters may grab attention, but it will do it in an unintended manner. Your role is to make the email as easy as possible for the receiver to read, rather than causing them to worry by yelling at them in the form of an email. Separate ideas with dashes or colons instead, and stay away from all caps and other special characters.

Subject line styles


Who doesn’t love to get personalized information be it by mail or message? It is a great tactic to engage the user. Using the name of the customer and giving them insights about their recent purchases can enhance personalization.

Personal email subject lines:

  • Thank you for subscribing, Danny
  • We’re are excited to meet you this Sunday Jenny
  • Marry, here is the list of recommendations for you


Creating a sense of urgency works as people fear missing the deadline or offer if they do not take an action immediately. Most brands take advantage of this sense of urgency to make customers take action.

Urgent email subject lines: 

  • Hurry! Only 1 day left to subscribe.
  • We hope you don’t miss these limited offers
  • FRIDAY SALE: Get 30% off on anything you buy


Because more than 41% of today’s email campaigns are opened on mobile devices, having a short subject line is essential. We cannot expect mobile to display a lengthy subject line.

Precise email subject lines:

  • The perfect routine
  • Checking in
  • Hey


These subject lines are precise and straightforward. It tells the user the information he needs to know, not taking the valuable time of busy people it aims to attract users with direct information.

Informational subject lines: 

  • Digital marketing live webinar: December 8
  • Flash news: Our new stores are now near you
  • Launching our new product


Responses to great incentives are more likely to be positive. It’s a good idea to put that incentive in the subject line right away. Don’t be afraid to put your offer out there for everyone to see. Your open rates should increase if your list is well-targeted and your offer is legitimate.

Offer email subject lines: 

  • Win a bumper offer
  • Get your 30-day free trial 
  • Download the free ebook now


Fear Of Missing Out

Unfortunately, and we don’t mean to scare you, humans are paralysed by a paralysing fear of being left behind. Scarcity-based email subject lines perform better than those that don’t.

FOMO email subject lines:

  • Just 10 Kurtis left! 
  • Limited-time offer 
  • Holy Festival: Only a few spots remain


For good reason, lists have become so popular. Lists are a great way to present information because they are concise and easy to consume. In addition, because our brains are naturally drawn to numbers, including them in your subject line will help focus your message.

List email subject lines: 

  • 9 styles to add to your wardrobe now
  • 7 must-have metrics for Marketer
  • 5 ways to make your company successful


Fashion is a powerful tool for promoting a business. Customers want to know what’s hot and what’s not, regardless of whether you’re selling fashion, food, technology, or services. To learn more about the most recent fascinations, readers will want to turn to the inside of the book.

Trendy topic email subject lines: 

  • Warm colours for Autumn
  • The coolest app with the latest feature 
  • Now trending: coolers for you


Subject lines that stand out in a sea of dull ones are more likely to be read. If you know your audience well, a clever joke can work if you have a sense of humour. You don’t want to confuse or alienate your audience with your humour.

Smart email subject lines: 

  • Keep those buns warm
  • Rock star treatment for lullaby singers
  • Put a ring(tone) on it


When you include a question in the subject line of your post, readers are more likely to read on. Use open-ended queries so that readers can’t simply say “no” to them.

Question email subject lines: 

  • What’s next for artificial intelligence? 
  • How safe is your data? 
  • What’s the best way to handle a critic?


The how-to subject line reveals what readers can expect to find when they open your email. With a valuable “how-to,” open rates can skyrocket.

How-to email subject lines:

  • How to write a better subject line
  • How to increase ROI
  • How to save for education


To show your readers that you’ve done your homework, use location-specific language and offers. You know where they are and have a specific message for them. Even if they aren’t interested in the story, many people read these emails to keep up with what’s going on in their community.

Local email subject lines: 

  • Humidity in Chennai
  • Best places to visit in Bengaluru
  • Join us in Delhi for the event next week

Subject Line Checklist

Remember that the goal of your subject line is to entice your reader to open your email. Use these tips to help you craft an attention-grabbing subject line:

  • Keep your subject line short and informative.
  • Using emojis can help you catch a subscriber’s attention. 
  • Personalize the subject line, being sure not to overdo it.
  • Make sure to take advantage of A/B testing.
  • Make it personalized yet trendy.
  • Don’t write a subject line if you will not open it after reading.

To Summarize

The day I learned about the importance of subject lines was a huge eye-opener for me. I can’t tell you how many sales emails I wasted simply because I didn’t use a valid and compelling subject line. And that’s because the recipients of my emails never read the content, only the subject line to decide if they should even bother opening it in the first place.

Following the above best practices, you can easily write an effective subject line for your emails. You can also tweak some elements by testing different approaches and see which one works best for your every need. Your emails will be more attuned to your audience’s needs and you’ll stay in their mind whenever they’ll need your services.

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