Email Marketing: Subject Line Best Practices


It’s been estimated that the average email user receives 147 emails every day. If your business markets through email, you’re facing some stiff competition in your customer’s inbox. Industry statistics show that less than 25% of customers are likely to open marketing emails, and even fewer go on to click the links in the email.

So how can you make your marketing emails stand out among the rest? The first thing your customer is going to see when your email is delivered is the subject line. Often times, it is what compels them to open the email, or hit the delete button. Here are some email marketing best practices to help you craft a well written and compelling subject line for email marketing campaigns.

Beware Of Spam 

When writing subject lines, one of the most important things to do is to stay away from any words or phrases that may raise the alarm of a spam filter. We could write an entire novel filled with words and phrases that are most often flagged as spam, but here’s the short version – avoid jargon phrases such as act fast, buy now, earn extra cash, no obligation, etc.

Here is a prime example of what to stay away from:

Make Them Care

Your customers are busy. So why should they bother to open your email? There has to be something meaningful in it that is useful. And your subject line is going to be the hook that makes them care. You need to create a call to action in your subject line that is familiar, relates back to your brand and messaging and encourages them to act.

Here’s a great example:

Stand Out 

Along with creating a call to action in your subject line, it’s also important to make the email stand out. This can be done a number of ways, including using fun and creative writing. Travel site, Jetsetter does a great job of this.

Here’s an example:

Using different text elements, symbols or characters within your email subject line can also help your email stand out like, this one from World Market:

Just be sure not to overdo the special characters or your customers may start tuning them out.

Follow Through

Once you’ve written a creative and compelling email subject line that entices your reader to open your email, be sure to follow through. Whether you are offering free shipping or business advice, reiterate your message in the first few lines of your email. Keep it short and to the point and make it clear where they can click to take advantage of whatever you’re offering them.

Test, Test, Test 

Once you’ve got the hang of writing meaningful email subject lines, don’t be afraid to test different variations and track your success using an email service such as MailChimp or Constant Contact.