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Strategies for Composing an Effective Subject Line

People receive tons of emails every day, and more often than not, a handful of them are unopened or get thrown into the trash folder. The chances of your email being ignored are pretty high unless there’s something about your subject line that captures their attention. As much as you’d want to think otherwise, consumers judge email content by the mere basis of its subject line. You can have the best email campaign ever, but it’s pointless if no one opens your message.

Email marketing tactics aren't limited to what’s inside your email body. Your subject line can make or break your campaign! You need a compelling subject line that compels your target audience to click through.

Before exploring strategies that can help your email content stand out in a crowded inbox, here are some elements to consider when creating your subject line:

  • Urgency: Give a sense of urgency. If you have an ongoing sale or an exclusive offer, highlight the duration so your audiences can take prompt action.

  • Personalization: Ensure that your subject line is created for the recipient. If you have an extensive email list, check the demographic they’re in so you can craft a subject line that resonates with them.

  • Curiosity: It’s a natural tendency for humans to be curious. Craft subject lines that pique your subscribers’ interests without giving everything away.

  • Timeliness: If your email content is relevant to current trends, injecting that into your subject lines is important. Not only will audiences want to click on it, but it’ll also strengthen brand authority.

According to a study from Hubspot, 47% of marketers say they test email subject line variations to analyze which can optimize their emails' performance. So if you’re a professional, business owner, or someone who utilizes email marketing, it’s helpful to draft multiple subject lines and do test blasts to see what works best for you.

In order to guide you, we’ve rounded up some nifty tips to craft subject lines that stand out:

  1. Make use of action-oriented verbs. Actionable subject lines that contain vibrant verbs encourage subscribers to take action. Not only does it seem enticing, but it will give off a sense of urgency upon seeing it. For example, instead of saying “Our Newest Art Piece Is Here”, you can opt to say “Feast Your Eyes On Our Masterpiece”.

  2. Avoid filler words. Since the subject line can only accommodate a few characters, don’t waste it with unnecessary fillers. Each word counts.

  3. Short subject lines are essential. A typical inbox reveals about 60 characters of an email’s subject line, while a mobile phone shows only 25 to 30 characters. Get right to the point in about six to eight words.

  4. Stay away from lines that will make it look spammy. Subject lines that are hard-sell can be marked as spam. Avoid loud punctuations and all-caps. Instead of trying to push your promo, focus on your brand’s expertise that your audience will find relevant.

  5. Be clear and concise. The subject line should communicate exactly what your email’s intentions are. Most recipients prioritize an email’s importance by merely looking at the subject line.

  6. Make your subscribers feel extra. That’s right. The psychology of exclusivity is one you can’t underestimate. When your audience feels that they have access to something exclusive, they have a sense of significance and belonging, reinforcing loyalty that can lead to conversions. Some examples you can use are “For Your Eyes Only” or “You’re Invited!”

  7. Highlight “free” offers. Freebies give your customers a good reason to open your email. Though some people hesitate to put the word free on their subject line for fear of their email going to the spam folder, this isn’t the case. Giving away items will not only get your customer’s attention but may compel them to make a purchase or avail a service on your website!

  8. Showcase social proof of concept. Your subject line can be your stage to prove that your stuff works. For example, let’s say that a customer hasn’t subscribed to your newsletter list. Since our brains are drawn to digits, try including a number to draw their attention. If a celebrity has used your product, you can include their name on the subject line, such as “Kim Kardashian Loves Taco Bell. Find Out Why!”.

  9. Don’t be afraid to use questions. Asking a question in your subject line can also draw in readers. This is one of the ways to pique their curiosity. Suggested subject lines are “What Are Your Customers Raving About?” or “Looking for Rockstar Treatment? Check This Out!".

  10. Put your creative juices to work: Don’t be afraid to experiment with catchy lines, incorporate puns, tell a joke, or play on words. Creativity is always welcomed in all parts of your email, including the subject line. Not only can it make you stand out, but it can also reflect your brand’s personality.

Email is a cost-effective way to connect with your customers. Make the most out of it by crafting effective emails with stand-out subject lines.

But don’t stop there. Do your research. We’re sure your inbox is overflowing with emails. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask yourself what emails stick out. Which ones are you noticing and are directly impacting you? Take note of those and see what strategies they’ve done, and test it on your campaigns!

Choosing the right subject line can help you meet your KPIs and bring more success to your business. For more guidance, or if you need a professional to step in, hit us up!


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