5 Tactics for Great Email Subject Lines — and Better Open Rates

5 Tactics for Great Email Subject Lines — and Better Open Rates

best email subject lines

You have a super offer or good news about your business — you need to prove it in the subject line.

It’s a heavy burden, but every day more than 105 billion emails are sent, so a strong subject line can be the difference between your email being ignored or treated as a valuable piece of content. Fortunately there are tactics you can employ that will increase the likelihood that your emails get opened.

Here are some of them:

1. Keep it brief, sweet, and mobile

Email subject lines will get cut off if they’re too lengthy, especially on mobile devices. And with up to 77% of email opens occurring on mobile, according to Email Monday, keeping your subject lines to fewer than 50 characters will make sure the entirety of your message is visible to people scanning their smartphones.

2. Don’t fudge the promise

A subject line is a promise to your reader about what you’ll deliver in your email message. Since we’re presuming you’re not sending an email unless you have something important to say, make sure you fulfill that commitment with integrity of message. A false promise — exaggerated urgency like “Urgent: Update your information” is a common one — will annoy your audience and they’ll lose trust in you, which will lower your open rate and hike up your unsubscribe rate.

On the other hand, consistently provide value in your emails and you’ll train your subscribers to open them no matter what the subject line says.

best email subject lines

3. Play the numbers game

Here’s an easily digestible truism: numbers remain a valuable tool in your subject line strategy. Capitalizing on the human desire for order and linearity, numbers demonstrate a clear message about your offer and set expectations — the page length of a download offer you’re sending, a discount, or a “fear of missing out” reference ( “Join more than 300 others at this webinar!”)

4. Avoid the spam folder

The words you choose in your subject line bear the burden of prompting opens but that’s not all they do. Certain words and symbols can also trigger spam filters and relegate you to readers’ spam folder — a.k.a. Email Nowhere Land.

Some of the more notorious offenders include:

  • !!!
  • $$$
  • 100% free
  • Act now!
  • FREE

5. Use words that win

According to Alchemy Worx, which analyzed 21 billion emails sent by 2,500 brands, the top 15 most effective subject line keywords are:

  • Upgrade
  • Just
  • Content
  • Go
  • Wonderful
  • Jokes
  • Promotional
  • Congratulations
  • Revision
  • Forecast
  • Snapshot
  • Token
  • Voluntary
  • Monthly
  • Deduction

Interested in discussing how to get more from your email marketing efforts and your overall digital strategy and goals?