Marketing

12 Email Marketing Subject Line Best Practices

Email Marketing Subject Lines Best Practices
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First impressions matter. This is particularly true when it comes to email subject lines in your email marketing. There’s not much time to grab your reader’s attention, entice them to read your email, and take action. Consider all the emails your recipients receive daily, and you’ll understand the importance of standing out among a sea of emails.

Subject lines that grab attention become emails that get read. To increase your chances of the recipient opening your email and taking action, you’ll need to take a best practice approach when drafting your subject lines.

Use the list of email marketing best practices below to start crafting great email subject lines.

1. Choose your sender name wisely

1. Choose your sender name wisely

Think twice before you use a “no-reply” sender name. It looks like spam and is impersonal. The very first impression you make should not seem cold and robotic. Much like the content of your email, you’ll want it to be personal and authentic. Use a real name, along with your company name, to spark a connection and encourage them to keep reading for more.

2. Personalize it

You don’t just want to personalize your sender name, you’ll also want to speak directly to the email recipient. You can do this by addressing them by name, their location, or something specific to their interests within the subject line. This helps further develop a rapport and increases your chances of your intended message being seen.

3. Keep it short

Get to the point and do it fast. Long email subject lines will get cut off, especially if viewed on a mobile device. In fact, nearly 60 percent of readers will view your email via mobile. Keep your subject lines to less than 50 characters so they can be scanned quickly and won’t get cut off, ensuring that readers will see the entire message.

4. Use numbers

4. Use numbers

Stats and data are an effective means of getting your content read. Industry statistics can grab attention and entice your reader to open your email. Including numbers can be impactful and can create a sense of urgency. For example, if you’re emailing about an upcoming event, let them know how many spots are left. A subject line that indicates “only 5 spots left” shows that they need to take action immediately so they don’t miss out.

5. Test your subject lines

Some subject lines will perform better than others. Rather than sending your entire list an email with the same subject line, you can take advantage of A/B testing. Send half of your list subject line “A” and the other half subject line “B”. The one with the better open rates is your winner. A/B testing can provide insight into what types of subject lines your target audience prefers so you can get the most impact out of your email marketing.

Subject lines that grab attention become emails that get read. To increase your chances of the recipient opening your email, you'll need to take a best practice approach when drafting your subject lines. Click To Tweet

6. Tell the reader what to expect

If you’re including an offer in your email, let them know that upfront. Whether it’s a new resource you’re promoting or you’re sending them a follow-up to a resource they just downloaded, be clear about what they should expect in the email body. If you indicate an offer in the subject line ensure that you deliver on that promise within the email.

7. Use list segmentation

7. Use list segmentation

Chances are a single email will not be relevant to your entire list. To catch your reader’s attention ensure that the email you send them is specific to them and their needs. You can create a more tailored experience for your recipients by basing your emails on actions taken by your audience. Consider the industry they’re in, the content they’ve downloaded in the past, and where they are in the buyer journey to ensure you’re getting them the right content at the right time. This will help you create a more personalized email for your different audience segments.

8. Use the power of exclusivity

People like to feel like they’re a part of something special. Show your readers that they’re special with your email subject line. Whether “A special offer for you” or a simple “you’re invited” you can use this type of phrasing to show your readers that they won’t want to miss out and encourage them to read more. The most compelling subject lines in email marketing are the ones that make people feel like they’re getting access to something exclusive.

9. Take advantage of preview text

Preview text is a quick description that follows the subject line and is shown as a preview that the reader can see before opening the email. It also plays a role in whether your email gets opened or sent to the trash folder. Brands can take advantage of the preview text by building on the subject line and providing more insight into what the content of the email will include. Use it to build on the subject and go into just a bit more detail to entice your recipients to keep reading.

10. Ask a question

10. Ask a question

Asking a question in your subject line is a great way to grab your reader’s attention. Questions can help pique your recipient’s curiosity and encourage them to open the email to get the answer they’re looking for. Make it more impactful by aligning your question with your buyer personas.

11. Don’t shout

Receiving a subject line that is in all caps can be disconcerting. Why are you yelling? Not only that but it can be flagged as spam. Brands do this to grab attention but it ends up backfiring. Rather than relying on caps, use either title case or lowercase and rely on the message of your subject to get the excitement across.

12. Minimize punctuation

Like using all caps, too much punctuation can come across as spam. Do away with the excessive exclamation marks and instead let your copy sell the excitement.

Get started on creating catchy subject lines for marketing emails

Get started on creating catchy subject lines for marketing emails

Gimmicks in email marketing don’t leave a good impression and your email open rates will reflect that. While there is no guaranteed method to achieve 100 percent engagement with your emails, these tips will improve your chances by helping to ensure your emails are being seen.

Catchy email marketing subject lines are key to getting attention and not getting lost in your recipient’s inbox. Follow these best practices for drafting effective email marketing subject lines to improve your chances of standing out in your recipient’s inbox and staying out of the spam folder.

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About the author

Brenda Percy

Brenda Percy is a writer and editor with a background in technology, marketing, and journalism. She's written content for businesses of various sizes and industries throughout her nearly two decades of experience.