Email Subject Lines – Tips and Best Practices

In email marketing, getting subscribers to open your email is half the battle.

Today’s consumer is bombarded with advertising messages – via radio, television ads, billboards, and social media – the total number of messages received per day now exceeds 5,000 for the average person.

And because we don’t have time to process 5,000 messages a day, we’ve gotten pretty good at filtering them. Emails are no exception, and in most cases your subject line will have less than a second to be judged worthy of opening.

To help you get your subject lines through that filter, we’ve gathered some of the best tips from industry experts and boiled them down into the following 3 rules:

1. Keep it short.

Under 50 characters, if possible. According to many studies, emails with subject lines of fewer than 50 characters have better open rates. Other studies have shown that keeping it under 35 is even more effective.

If you must go longer, make sure to put the most important information first. (Our specs allow up to 70 characters, including spaces.) Remember that longer subject lines may be truncated on mobile devices. Read more.

2. Keep it professional.

Avoid spam trigger words like “Buy Now!!” or “$$$.” Excessive punctuation will almost certainly earn you a spot in the spam folder, and may lead to spam complaints. An unexpected discovery reported here is that “help,” “percent off,” and “reminder” in subject lines negatively affect open rates.

Don’t use ALL CAPS. Capitalizing one or two words is okay, but it should be done sparingly and only to communicate necessary emphasis.

3. Don’t be pushy.

Avoid hard sells. The owner of MailChimp said it right when he quipped, “The best subject lines tell what’s inside, and the worst subject lines sell what’s inside.” Read more.

Don’t tell people what they need. Phrases like “MUST READ” or “ACT NOW” are more likely to get deleted than they are to elicit a sense of urgency.

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Subject lines on emails are often given less thought over than the content of the email itself, good thought provoking article.

Michael Cole
Michael Cole

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