6 Tips for Writing Effective Subject Lines for your Email Campaigns

The subject line of an email may be the shortest portion of your email, but it’s the most important.

It’s the first part of an email that your receivers see and for this matter it is important to ensure that it is effective, interesting and error-free.

To help your email message compete with the rest of the items in your readers’ inbox, we have constructed a 6 Tip Guide to help you create great subject lines that ensure your messages get read.

1. Learn about your audience 

Before sending your email, make sure you research about who your target audience is. Once you know who they are, employ this knowledge on them to give them something that they want or cannot refuse. As a result they will be more likely to open your message.

  •  For example: If you are a Fashion retailer and are planning to send a shoe sale promotion to shoppers via email make sure that you target the people that have shown interest in your store in the past as opposed to those that have never heard about you before.

2. Encourage a sense of urgency:

Your readers are more likely to access your emails if they feel that they will miss out on a valuable opportunity, if they don’t access it right away. You can even construct it in a form of a question, alerting the reader that he or she may be exposed to a risk if they don’t open your email.

Below you can see an example of both an effective and ineffective email subject line.

  • “Last Chance Ever! Purchase Six And Get One Free On Us!”

On the one hand this email subject line does generate a sense of urgency, (which is great), but on the other hand the two exclamation marks represent shouting, which pressures the reader in a non-effective way. The word “Free” automatically activates your readers spam filter and prevents your message from being seen.

  • “Did You Know That Our Current Promotion of Buy 6 Get 1 at no cost, Expires Today?

As you can see in the second example you can generate the same sense of urgency by asking a question and avoid getting your message seen as Spam.

3. Learn from your personal experience

You are well aware of what junk emails look like, as there is no doubt you receive them on a regular basis.  Keep track of what has worked on you in the past and gain from your experience.

4. Test and Optimize 

Not every subject line will work for you at first, so test some out and learn from your mistakes. A great method for you to use, would be A/B testing: Select a small pool of recipients, say 20%, and send out half of those people an email with one subject line and the other half with another one. Observe the results and see which one gave you the highest conversion rate. Once you know which subject line gave you the most responses, use it for the remaining 80% of your recipients. For example, you can try out something similar as the two examples below:

A)  “Did You Know That Our Current Promotion Of 40% Off Our Entire Store Expires Today?”

B)  ”40% Off Our Entire Store Expires Today”

As you can see, option A) is formed as a question based subject line, while B) provides you with more of a direct statement. Both are equally appropriate subject lines, but their individual success will depend on how the readers will respond to them. It’s hard to tell which will convert best, so use A/B testing to find out for sure.

5. Be straight to the point 

Let your readers know exactly why you are trying to reach them. Provide them with a clear message and a direct topic. If you are offering a promotion, or informing them about your new product then tell them exactly what it is. Be straightforward with them and they will appreciate your honesty.

  • For example, avoid writing something like this: “Post-Fashion Show advice: Expert Insight On New Fashion Trends And Observations From The Fashion Show”,because it is far too long. Instead try to write something more direct: “Expert Fashion Advice from Rachel Zoe”.

6. What to avoid

Avoid using exclamation marks, symbols, or words in a subject line that activates your readers spam filter, such as “sex” or “free”. Here is a list of many other words that will send your email directly into a Spam folder:

  • Reminder
  • Help
  • Buy
  • Clearance
  • Earn $
  • From home
  • Biz
  • Claim
  • Millions
  • Increase your
  • Get out of


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