The dos and don’ts of writing an email subject line

Written by Kirsty Perkins


subject lines

What makes a good email subject line?

Something that is creative, compelling, and informative without giving too much away.
A good subject line that piques interest is the difference between a prospect opening or ignoring an email.
Source: HubSpot


There is an art in being able to write good subject lines which get the results we all want for our email marketing campaigns. Like many things it comes with practice, armed with the insights you can get by testing what performs well with your audience.

To guide you on how you can improve your subject lines, or if you’re looking to start sending out email campaigns for the first time, we’ve provided some of our top tips below.

DOS AND DON’TS FOR WRITING SUBJECT LINES

DON’T – be generic

Imagine only ever sending out emails that say “latest news” or “updates from [enter company name here]” – you’ll only see your numbers fall over time.

DO – create interest

Include a call-to-action in your subject line by using action-oriented words. Why not ask a question that creates curiosity? Make your audience feel like you’re giving them exclusivity, whether it’s an offer or a piece of information, they’ll value your communications much more.

DON’T – be detailed

There is a danger in going too far the other way when you’re trying to stay away from generic lines. By adding in too many words, your audience won’t be able to quickly distinguish whether the email content has something of interest to them as they won’t know what it is about.

DO – keep it short and sweet

Following from the above, keep it short and sweet. Find the average word count that works for your audience through testing and stick to it.

DON’T – go over the top

PEOPLE DON’T LIKE TO BE SHOUTED AT – which is what comes across when you’re using full caps. Also, keep a limit on punctuation – there’s nothing that excuses the use of so many exclamation marks, no matter how excited you are!!!!!!!!

DO – use personalisation

Whether you’re using a first name, surname, where they live, or something else entirely, people like to be made to feel special. Just make sure you have the correct information, we’ve received many emails that start with: “Hello First Name”.

DON’T – make it puzzling

Yes, you might want to add mystery, but we’re not trying to crack the Morse code with a subject line. Make sure your audience can quickly understand what it is you’re sending them.

DO – tell people what’s inside

We’re hit with so many messages in 24 hours, we want to focus on what is relevant. Give people an indication on what you’re sending them. You could even incorporate a pun or joke to lighten the mood.

You currently have JavaScript disabled. This site requires JavaScript to be enabled. Some functions of the site may not be usable or the site may not look correct until you enable JavaScript. You can enable JavaScript by following this tutorial. Once JavaScript is enabled, this message will be removed.