How to Craft A Powerful Subject Line & Boost Your Open Rate

  • First name. Out of the dozens of emails we receive each day, the ones that include our name will automatically catch our eye.
  • Birthday/anniversary. Compared to mass-promotion mailings, the total open rates for birthday and anniversary campaigns are respectively 235% and 135% higher, according to Experian Marketing’s ‘Birthday and Anniversary Report’.
  • Transaction history. Look at your customer’s transaction history to find out what they purchase and send them an email with a subject line concentrating on related products or services.
  • Location. Sending email subject lines about swimsuits to people who live in a part of the world where it’s snowing is a waste of everyone’s time, so it’s crucial to carefully consider where the customers you are targeting live. Local businesses can benefit from location-based subject lines by using the name of the city or area where the recipient lives to gain attention.

Think mobile: keep your subject line short

Putting a word in [brackets] creates context

Encourage opens by creating a sense of urgency

  • Set a deadline. Whether you’re offering a great deal, asking people to subscribe to a podcast or webinar, or giving away freebies, setting a deadline will compel people to act. For example, offering a 15% discount if a purchase is made within 24 hours will garner extra attention and provide motivation.
  • Utilize the power of FOMO. Fear of missing out is a very real phenomenon in the digital age and something that will help you with open rates. Using phrases like ‘Limited Edition’ or ‘Final few items’ will encourage people to open your emails.
  • Mention a free incentive. The word free is tremendously powerful as the desire to get the better end of a deal will push someone past a lot of reluctance. Offer a template, an ebook, a podcast…something that people will want to click on, but make sure the content is good — at least as good as the email copy in case the user skips directly to the incentive.
  • Offer help with solving a problem. People love to have their problems solved quickly, so offering a resolution will create an urgent need to open your email. Take a common marketing problem, such as not appearing on the first page of Google rankings. A subject line such as ‘Not on the first page of Google? We can change that’ identifies their problem and immediately offers to solve it.
  • Emojis capture attention. In an inbox stuffed with text, a picture will stand out instantly.
  • Emojis save space. As described above, keeping email subject lines short is good for mobile. Swapping the word ‘love’ for the heart emoji can save you three precious characters.
  • Emojis convey emotions. If you’ve ever sent an email subject line that is in all caps in an effort to express excitement or happiness, you’ll know how sensitive spam-filters can be to capital letters. A well-chosen emoji can convey emotion more effectively, and concisely, than words.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store