Subject lines; part art part science

Subject lines are a big deal because, as we all know, first impressions count. If someone doesn’t like your subject line, then they won’t open your email.


A study by Invesp has shown that 47% of email recipients open email based on the subject line and that 69% of email recipients report email as spam based solely on the subject line!


So how do you create an effective subject line?


Write for your target audience. Use your own voice, tailoring your emails to make them sound like you’re writing specifically to the person reading it.

Keep it short and sweet. This insures that the text is visible on all devices. The study by Invesp also found that that 21% of people prefer subject lines that are between 6-10 words, while the least popular was 21-25 words.

Personalise it. Using a merge tag in your email campaign to add personalised, dynamic content has been shown to be an effective strategy.

Provoke curiosity. Make your subject line a tease of what is contained in the body of your email, what is in it for them or what they’re going to learn. BUT, make sure never to mislead your readers with clickbait titles. Make your subject line aligns with the context of your email.

Convey urgency. Limited time offers and telling people they only have a short time is a fantastic way to get people to act.

Ask questions.

Don’t over-do the emojis. One or two in context is fine, but the spam filter will do its work if you go overboard.

Don’t overdue CAPS or punctuation. Again this could land in hot water with the spam filter.

Incite emotions (positive or negative).

Words to avoid if possible: “Free” “Bargain” “Cheap” “Expire”.

Words that are effective: “Ultimate” “Today only”, or “this week only”, “Learn”, “Easier”, “Introducing”, “Amazing”. Generally, you want to include as many strong adjectives and power words as possible.


Ultimately, don’t be afraid to test different things out. The more you are willing to try different things, the more you’ll know exactly what types of email subject lines appeal to your audience. Try A/B testing different subject lines to see what works better for your particular audience, remembering that email marketing is part art and part science.