One of the most important elements of email marketing is writing subject lines that get people to open your emails. How many times have you received a marketing email from someone and never opened it? Chances are more than once, and more than likely, it’s because the subject line didn’t grab you.

So, as you think about email marketing, how can you write effective email subject lines that get your subscribers to open your email? Here are 9 tips that will help:

9 Tips For Writing Effective Email Subject Lines

#1: Keep the subject line short

Ideally, you should keep your subject line to 50 characters or less. In fact, the shorter, the better!

#2: Avoid CAPS and exclamation points!!!

It is tempting to write your email subjects in all caps with exclamation points at the end, but this is one of the most ineffective ways to craft a subject line. It makes your email look spammy, so keep the exclamation points and capital letters to a minimum.

#3: Don’t use certain words

Studies have shown that certain words turn subscribers off. These words include “free,” “help,” “assistance,” and “donate.”

#4: Tell, don’t sell

Your subject line should tell what the email is about, not sell something. If you’re emailing about a new product or service, then focus the subject line on the benefits of your new product. For example, “Stop the struggle for new clients” is more compelling than “My new product is here!”

#5: Ask a question

One of the most effective techniques for writing a subject line is to ask your subscriber a question that she will answer “yes” to. By crafting a “yes” question, your subscriber will want to see how you can fix her problem. For example, “Are you tired of starving yourself to lose weight?” makes the reader say “YES!” and want to learn more about your email.

#6: Say something obscure

Pique your subscriber’s interest by being a little obscure in your subject line. For instance, if you are emailing people about a free ebook, use a subject line such as “I poured my brain into this.” People will be naturally curious about what you “poured your brain into.”

#7: Start a thought

Another tactic is to write your email subject as a start of a thought – sort of a “fill in the blank” for the reader to complete. Let’s say you are emailing about a new webinar. Your subject line may be “Aren’t webinars great when….” or “The one great thing about webinars is….” See how these subject lines make people want to learn more?

#8: Create a sense of urgency

People have a natural inclination to not want to miss out on something, and you can tap into this feeling with your email subject line. Be careful, though, not to sound too sales-y or desperate. For example, if today is the last day for a special discount, try an email subject line like “I would hate for you to miss this.” That will inspire a reaction more so than “Today is the last day of my special discount.”

#9: The “from” line is equally important

Hand in hand with an effective subject line is an appropriate “from” line. Unless you are a big brand, avoid using your company name in the “from” line. Instead, use your first and last name – just as you would if you were sending out personal emails.

When crafting an email message, spend as much time writing the subject line as you would the message. This will ensure you are writing a subject line that will inspire people to open your email and learn more. Experiment with the types of email subjects that work best with your audience. While there is a lot of data about effective subject lines, there is no “true formula,” as it depends on your business, message and audience. However, once you master the art of email subject lines, your email marketing strategy will be one of the most effective tools in your marketing arsenal.


Email marketing teleclass by Jill CelesteWant to learn more about how to use email marketing to grow your personal brand?

Sign up for my free teleclass, “How To Grow Your Personal Brand With Email Marketing,” on Thursday, December 12 at 2pm EST. The teleclass will be recorded.

During this free teleclass, I will discuss selecting the right email vendor, how to attract more people to your email list, tips for creating a weekly newsletter and more. Sign up here!