The average person wakes up to a sea of unopened emails, anything from online takeaway offers to last-minute requests from their boss. This constant flood of emails has necessitated that we develop a level of email intuition. Most of us can tell the difference between a personal email, an email campaign, and spam without even opening the email itself. But how? Of course, by reading the email subject line.

This article will explore what an email subject line is, what are its best practices, and how you can improve your subject line copy.

How is an Email Subject Line Defined?

Let’s return to our example of the average person waking up to their email inbox. After checking the sender’s name, the first thing they do is read the first line of text below this. This is known as the subject line.

Why is an Email Subject Line Important?

Emailing is one of the most effective communication strategies. It’s a quick, efficient, and cheap way to communicate information to colleagues, or more importantly, customers. The aim of any email is to be opened, and to achieve this, you must draw in the reader with an intriguing subject line. 

Subject lines are essentially marketing for your marketing. All businesses understand that customers will never find out about or purchase their product or service without a good marketing strategy. Likewise, without an engaging subject line, customers will never open your marketing emails.

A captivating subject line will reduce the number of times receivers send it to the trash and increase the opening rate. This will, therefore, increase the chance of the receiver reading your email and eventually converting. 

How to Optimize Your Email Subject Lines?

There is no one-fits-all solution to creating the perfect subject line, and nor should you be looking for one. Each industry, sector, and business is unique. For example, email subject lines for sales in the healthcare sector would differ from those in the gaming industry.

But, let’s have a look at some best practices you can implement and tailor to your specific needs:

1. Be concise – emails are read on various devices, but in most cases, on a mobile phone. This means that you have around nine words or 60 characters to make an impact. There’s nothing worse than a subject line that ends in “…” or trails off. 

2. Don’t look “spammy” – we all know what a spam email subject line looks like. They are swamped with an excessive amount of capital letters and emojis. It’s the digital equivalent of a child crying sitting next to you on a long-haul flight. Also, avoid using a “” email address to send your emails. The primary purpose of emails is to encourage engagement. They are supposed to feel personal. If you don’t want your recipient to reply to that specific email address, make the correct address clearly visible and linked. 

3. Personalization – this is one of the most effective email marketing tools available. This is because it makes recipients feel like real people and not numbers in a database. Of course, no one has time to type out each receiver’s name individually. Luckily, there’s automation software that does this for you. But, the best mass email services also enable personalization. Personalization can include a customer’s name, a detail about them, their job, etc. 

4. Make recipients take action – the best email subject lines create a sense of urgency that compels the reader to click through and open the email. The way to create this is to allude to a product or service the recipient might be interested in and provide a deadline. For example: “Ceramic plates, 50% off for 1 day only”. But, you also need to be careful with customer discount codes. Firstly, you need to deliver on your promises, and secondly, you shouldn’t provide them abundantly, as it can cheapen your brand and diminish your profits.

5. Timing is key – as we mentioned above, consumers receive emails 24/7. If they’re awake, they’re probably checking their emails. This provides you with a huge window of opportunity to send well-timed emails. For example, let’s say you’re a company that offers discount coupons for high-street brands. Sending an email on a Saturday morning or during peak shopping hours is far more likely to be opened.

Don’t Forget to Test

After you’ve created a subject line that you’re satisfied with, the journey doesn’t end there. You need to ensure that you’re constantly optimizing your copy. The best way to do this is by carrying out A/B testing.

A/B testing is the process of sending two emails with the exact same content but different subject lines. The subject line that results in the most number of click-throughs is the one that is chosen.

In Conclusion

Emails are your direct link to customers and a crucial part of your marketing strategy. A well-written email subject line can increase your email opening rate, which will increase your marketing success, build customer confidence, and result in increased overall conversions.

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