Write A Subject Line People Can't Ignore

by KaitAU
5 replies
Whether you're trying to sell something or simply need more readers to open your next email, the subject line is crucial. It's really your first and only chance to give them a reason to take the time to open your message. In an inbox that might be flooded with hundreds of emails each day, how can you possibly get noticed?

If you're an email marketing professional, you know the struggle all too well. I am constantly in search of better titles and always testing.

Many experts argue that the subject line is without a doubt the most important part of your email. After all, it's the only thing you can be sure they will actually see. It's your only shot to persuade them to open your message, rather than hit the delete button. The subject line is essentially your gateway to grab the customer's attention -- you need to attract the customer with relevant and valuable content, that is clearly articulated in your subject line.

If you have a subject line that is vague, misleading or simply inaccurate, there is a major risk you will wind up directed to the junk folder, or worse -- reported as spam. So it's very important that you match your subject line appropriately with your content, while at the same time using proven strategies to create an effective title for your email.

So, what makes a good subject line?

We need to make sure that what the customer sees is relevant, enticing and creates interest. You want to be informative without giving too much away.

Here are some ideas that you can customize to suit your own products and services:


This has been proven time and time again. If you pose a question that your target is interested in, there's a good chance they will open that email. This will vary depending on your message and can be used whether you're promoting your latest blog post, sending out a monthly newsletter or doing some promotion.

Formats for this could be "How Often Should Your Pet Have A Check-Up?" or "Did You Hear About Our Upcoming Event Yet?"


Connecting with consumers on an emotional level is important, especially when it comes to relationship and trust building. Offering people something inspirational or uplifting can often be a welcome change from the typical messages they see every day. You might want to send out something about the newest puppies that are up for adoption, or maybe you have a new blog post about a personal story from one of your customers that would be uplifting.

Formats for this could be "Feeling Down Today? Here Are Some Puppies" or "You Are Not Alone".


When you have the opportunity to make it personal, do it. If you've connected with the recipients before, remind them. This may not work for you if you're sending out an email to 3,000 recipients, but if this is on a small scale or a sales follow-up, use the opportunity to remind them that they know who you are, and that they've already decided you are worth their time. Always include their name if you can.

Formats for this could be "Do You Have 10 Minutes For A Conversation?" or "Thanks For Your Confidence - Next Steps"


Sending a "How To" email can be extremely enticing to your customers, when it's something they're interested in. The key here is to ensure you're using the right words that focus on the benefit -- how will reading this help them? If you understand your customer base, you should have an idea of what type of content they'd like to learn about. Videos are also an extremely powerful way to teach and engage your customers.

Formats for this could be "How To Lose 10 Pounds By Christmas" or "How To Do Your Own Oil Change"


Creating urgency or giving them the impression they might miss out on something can be extremely effective, especially when there is a deadline or sale coming, or you're a seasonal business.

Formats for this could be "Don't Get Stuck In The Storm Without Snow Tires" or "Hurry - Only 2 Days Left"


When you have a new line or an updated product or service, you definitely want to tell your people about it. This creates interest and intrigue, when done the right way.

Formats for this could be "Check Out Our New Design" or "Coming in 2017: Preview Our New Line"

What are the methods behind the madness?

There are are two widely discussed variables that also come into play when creating that perfect subject line. On top of the message, you should also consider the length of your title and the specific language that you use.


There are many, many studies that make claims on both side of this argument. Some experts are certain it matters, and others are adamant that it does not.

One study from Yesware compiled results from over 500,000 emails. This is a huge case study, compared to what we normally see. Their data showed absolutely no correlation between the length of the subject line and the open rate, or the reply rate.

Another study found completely different results. Their data shows extreme changes in open and response rates, based solely on the length of the subject line. The interesting thing about this study though is that it was broken down into B2B and B2C sectors, and each had different results.

For example, this particular study noted that in the B2B sector, emails with subject lines over 16 words showed an increased in both open rates and clicks. In the B2C sector, they found that subject lines with 20 words hit the sweet spot with huge increases in both open and click-through rates.


The same large study from Yesware (mentioned above) also found that certain words appear to have significantly higher open and response rates than others. They also found that some of the most commonly used words appear less effective than those used less frequently,

For example, they found that email subject lines that used the word "steps" had an open rate of nearly 79%, but was seen in fewer than 2,500 of the studied emails. Subject lines that contained the word "meeting" had an open rate of about 60%, but were seen in over 5,000 subject lines.

Ultimately, we should all be doing our own A/B Testing to see what works for our own readers and industries.

What email subject lines work for you?
#ignore #line #people #subject #write
  • Profile picture of the author binelus
    Any subject line that contains free, love, you, download, hate, top # and announcing are attention grabbing words that can give good open rates.

    I once tried a "Don't Open This Email (or else get dirty)" subject line and was impressed with the results.

    Most of us open emails with subjects that are weird or automatically triggers us to click it open!

    Tune into my new Podcast "Affiliate Marketing Secrets Radio" ==> HERE

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  • Profile picture of the author Mahbub Riyad
    50 characters is considered as a perfect email marketing headlines.but best perfect is that using 30 to 35 characters in a title.
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  • Profile picture of the author RonGold
    Sometimes I'll just send associates a subject line - won't even bother typing up an entire e-mail lol.

    Am I just skilled at conveying the point I'm trying to get across in 10 words or under?

    P.S., use 10 words or under. You'll thank me later.
    $2/100 words for REGULAR CONTENT
    $4/100 words for TOP NOTCH MONEY CONTENT
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  • Good stuff.

    I think we've done this before - but it's worth a replay…

    Could others type in their all time favourite subject line.

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  • Profile picture of the author angelap999
    Wonderful information - thanks for sharing this. It's amazing how much goes into expressing so little. Writing email headlines (or any copy) is no easy feat, but if we understand the mechanism as a whole as to what goes into it, like explained in this thread, it makes the process more simpler.

    The first 4 words in an email headline are what I focus on the most.
    Winning Facebook (Free) Marketing Strategies
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