5 Best Practices for Email Subject Lines

Yes, we're judging emails by their covers. Or, in this case, their subject lines.

Try to recall the most recent brand email you received in your inbox. Did you open it, and why or why not? Was the subject line attention-grabbing? Did it sound too clickbait-y? It might not seem like the most important factor in a branded email, but the subject line is the receiver's first impression of the message, and it could very well be the make or break of whether the email is opened or not.

Read on for our advice on how to craft the best subject lines for emails in your marketing campaigns.

Know your purpose

What is the purpose of the email? What action do you want readers to take? These two questions are essential to know when drafting your subject line. The purpose of the email will help guide what tone your subject line should take. 

If you want readers to make a purchase before a limited-time sale is over, the subject line should take on a sense of urgency. If you want them to register for an event, the line should offer the benefits of doing so.

Keep it short and sweet.

If you don't listen to any of our other advice, at least take this one piece with you. Keep your subject line short and sweet. 

According to HubSpot, 46% of email opens take place on mobile devices. Not only does the subject line get cut off on mobile devices if it's too long, but the appeal of the email should effectively grab the attention of the reader in as few words as possible. 

We recommend keeping your subject line under 50 characters. Check out some of our effective examples below.

Check out even more examples of short and sweet subject lines from HubSpot here.

Cut the clickbait

The subject line of an email is like a promise to your readers of what will be waiting for them when they open the message. It can be hard to resist, but it's important to not be tempted to use clickbait in order to get more opens. You want the subject line to be enticing but not misleading. 

For example, if you're only offering a 15% off deal, the subject line shouldn't say "Get ready for our BIGGEST markdowns of the year!" Readers will be expecting larger sales than you're offering, and while it may hike your open rate, it could leave people disappointed and disillusioned toward your brand.

Don't overuse punctuation.

This one is simple. Not only should you be concise with your words, but you should be concise with your punctuation as well. Using one exclamation point conveys an exciting message, but two or more exclamation points feel unprofessional and forced. Similarly, using more two or more question marks doesn't convey any more mystery than using just one.

Offer exclusivity.

People love to feel special. And when they feel special, they'll keep coming back to your emails for more. Some examples of subject lines with this tone include: 

A gift for you

Your exclusive offer awaits!

You're invited!

Bonus Tip: Write engaging preview text.

The preview text that displays next to the subject line is almost as important as the subject line itself. It can give further context to the subject line or provide more information about a sale, event, or download. The readers who might not be convinced by a short subject line can be pulled in by the preview text. Not customizing your own preview text is a missed opportunity to engage more readers. 

See some of our effective examples below. 

Need help launching your email marketing campaign? Connect with us by sending a message below! 

How to Start Building an Email List for Your Business

Read Having an abundant email list for your business is a powerful form of owned media that you can leverage to create more loyal customers and increase sales. Social media is important to creating brand awareness, but having an even more direct way to communicate with both your potential and existing customers is essential. An email list allows you to have a list of potential leads to turn into loyal customers or followers of your business. The ROI for email marketing is actually the highest out of all the marketing platforms; the average ROI is $40 per $1 spent. If you haven't worked on building your email list yet, here are four ways to get started.

Require emails for access to offers or resources.

We're sure your business' website is chock-full of valuable educational resources or sales and offers”require an email sign-up for individuals to gain access to those resources! And if you don't have any yet, create them! Your website visitors and customers are looking for good deals and answers to their questions, so they're willing to take a second to input their information in order to get to them. Here's an example of what this could look like:

The key here is to understand your website visitors' needs and offer content directly targeted to those needs. You'll then be able to gain and retain individuals for your email list.

Create a call-to-action for each landing page on your website.

Your site's landing pages are perfect opportunities to create unique call-to-actions to entice individuals into signing up for your business' email list. Hubspot found that personalized calls-to-action have 42% higher view-to-submission rate than ones that are the same for all visitors across the site. Whether it's your Contact Us tab or a product page, you have as many opportunities as you have landing pages to get visitors to sign up for your email list. The calls-to-action could sound like anything from Click here for an exclusive 20%-off offer to Subscribe to our newsletter for more social media marketing tips. You can totally get creative with the CTAs here! These could be fixed messages on the webpage or they could be pop-ups to get the visitors' full attention--see the examples below! Either way, creating personalized CTAs for each landing page on your website will have you well on your way to building a robust email list.

Offer events with required email registration.

Another way of gathering email addresses for an email list is to offer events exclusive to those who sign up with their email. In the age of COVID, businesses and organizations have had to adapt by holding their events virtually, but this actually works well for building an email list. Hold an online event like a livestream or a webinar with required email registration. Your business' events should be relevant to participants' wants and needs, so they are more inclined to register and attend the event. If your business happens to be able to safely hold events live and in-person, you can even collect attendees' email addresses directly while they are there.

Here are some more tips on how to conduct a successful virtual event:

Host giveaways.

One last tip for starting to build your email list (and perhaps a fairly simple one) is to host a giveaway! Giveaways are perfect opportunities to get more traffic to your website, collect emails for entries, and get your product into new hands. If your business doesn't offer a product, you can still host a giveaway for a free or discounted service you do offer. We've learned that people are more likely to give their information if they receive something valuable in return. It's essential to understand what your potential customers see as valuable and provide that to them, then collect email addresses along the way. 

Here's a great podcast episode with more email list-building strategies:

With these four beginner strategies, you're ready to start building your business' email list. Good luck!