What makes a good email subject line?

When it comes to getting your emails opened, an effective email subject line is one of the most important factors. Think about it – all your hard work in crafting the perfect email will go to waste if no one reads it! A good subject line will entice more people to open your emails, help to convert sales and strengthen customer relationships. Here are our top tips for creating effective subject lines.

Get personal

Example: Sophie, check out our new Autumn range

Opinions in the world of marketing are divided, as in some people’s minds, personalisation looks spammy. However, a lot of research from renowned sources does show that personalised subject lines can increase open rates. For instance, Campaign Monitor has found that personalised subject lines improve open rates by an average of 26%. You should also be thinking beyond pulling recipients’ names in, too. You might also like to include the location, references to the time of year or information about previous purchases or preferences.

Keep mobile in mind

Example: 9 tips for successful subject lines

ComScore has found that 61% of time spent online in the UK occurs via a mobile device, so you should optimise your subject lines with this in mind. Your subject line should be able to be quickly read by people as they commute, sneak a peek at work, or check their mail on-the-go. Length is a consideration, and it has always been common sense to keep things concise. However, when you take into account the number of characters that display on popular devices, the reason behind this becomes more obvious. For instance, an iPhone will show 35-38 characters before the subject line truncates, an iPad 39 and a Galaxy S4 33. The example we’ve included above is 35 characters long.

Make the reader benefit clear

Example: 25% off bookings this weekend

Before settling on a subject line, ask yourself ‘what’s in it for my reader?’ This might be an offer, a chance for them to try a new product, learn something new, or simply just stay ahead of the curve with some relevant industry news. As previously mentioned, people will often only have a few minutes to scan their inbox, so instead of being cryptic it’s often best to make it obvious why a recipient should take the time to open your email. And one more thing… if there’s no benefit to your email – should you be sending it at all?

Do your research

Take some time to see what similar companies are doing, along with market-leading businesses. A few simple searches should provide you with some great examples and information. However, even though there are a lot of subject line fads out there, what should really inform your decisions is your own audience. For instance, if your audience are young and trendy, why not include an emoticon or two? Or, if your audience are results-driven business people, why not include an impressive fact or stat? In short, what works for some companies will not work for others, and there is no magic formula. Your open rate depends on a number of different factors, and the only way to know what works for you is to try A/B testing different ideas.

If you would like to learn more about email marketing why not check out our other blogs, or if you would like to learn how to use email marketing effectively to drive your business why not join out email marketing workshop on 27 September.





Sophie Comas

A highly successful self-motivated and results driven, senior marketing professional. My passion lies within developing and delivering marketing solutions which make a difference in today's complex digital market place. A marketeer with a strong academic background and broad ranging level of experience working with small businesses and in the travel and hospitality sector, across the Thames Valley, I love a challenge!

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