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Your email could be brilliantly written, containing compelling content that you know your customers will find valuable. It could be professionally designed and look amazing…

…But all that time, effort and resource is wasted if no one opens your email because you haven’t taken the time to write a subject line that grabs the attention of your recipient. You get one shot at giving your audience a reason to open your email – don’t waste it by using a weak subject line.

Creating an email subject line is one of the trickiest forms of writing there is. How do you convey all the valuable information waiting for your customer if they open your email in under ten words?

There are a few subject line techniques you could employ to give your open rates a boost, all of which are designed to resonate with your audience:


Emotional impact 

Your subscribers want to be certain that the content you’re presenting to them will solve an issue or improve their lives in some way. Play on those emotions in your subject line – after all we are all emotional beings and if your customers can see from the subject line that your product or service will benefit them, there’s a better chance they will be compelled to click through.

Make them curious

No one likes an unsolved mystery – in fact, the human brain is programmed to seek out answers and close off loops – so pique your subscriber’s interest by offering them subject lines that open those loops and invite them to discover more.

One example that got us curious was an email with the subject line ‘Add AI Optimisation To Your List Of Client Services’. Firstly, the email is spot on with its targeting, because we have an interest in AI Automation, but just as importantly, we now want to know WHY we need to add AI optimisation to our list of client services.  What benefits will it bring us? Will it enable to us to offer something new and exciting to our clients?

We were curious, we were interested – and we clicked through to see how the email content could add value to our business.


Scarcity – The fear of missing out

This is a great tactic to employ if used correctly. To make scarcity (or to use the latest buzzword ‘FOMO’) relatable for your email recipients the offer needs to be genuine and trustworthy.

By including a deadline or copy such as ‘Only 6 seats remaining on this flight’ within the subject line you can instill a sense of urgency for the receiver to take the desired action.

Does what it says on the tin

Sometimes your email subject line doesn’t require anything more than a matter of fact precis of what the content of the email will deliver. ‘How to improve open rates with your email subject line’ is pretty straightforward and concise.

A short, punchy subject line that clearly summerises the body of the email is always more welcome than a waffly subject line that gives little detail of what the reader can expect.  Tell it like it is and you’ll build trust with your audience and increase your open rates too,

A word about pre-header text

A pre-header is a short text snippet that follows the subject line when a person is viewing an email from their inbox. Think of it as a support act to your subject line that gives a further insight to the content of your email.

One important point to note is that pre-header text should be between 35-90 characters long (the number of characters shown varies by email client – some show up to 140 characters). Just beware that once the limit has been reached the text will be truncated so choose your words wisely and make every character count.

One of the best pieces of advice we can give regarding email subject lines is to test, test and test some more.

Just a small difference in the text used can produce wildly different results, so don’t be afraid to experiment. The more you test subject lines, the deeper you’ll understand what resonates with your subscribers and the higher your open rates will be. Combine your new subject line writing skills with the correct email segmentation and we promise you’ll reap the rewards.