The Importance of a Subject Line

The Importance of a Subject Line

Since email has become one of the most effective forms of communication for businesses both large and small, and is still one of the quickest ways to say Hi to Mom back home, it’s important to create a compelling subject line that stands out from the crowd. Taking into consideration that the average person sends and receives well over a hundred emails a day, all while trying to exercise good use of time management, it’s safe to say that your reader is going to cherry pick through the inundation of emails. Understand the importance of a subject line and you’ve just helped them decide which emails to open. Be the next email your reader opens by engaging them with certain feelers. Your recipient has other reasons for wanting to open the email, but the determining factor more often than not is the content of the subject box. How will you entice them? Take a look at some of these examples of subject lines.

Keep it simple rather than complex:

  • Simple – “Voicemail”
  • Complex – “Left you 2 messages urgent change to XYZ proposal”


Short and sweet so they see the whole message. Long and wordy results in your message being cut off:

  • Short’n’Sweet – “5 France Trip Tips “
  • Long and wordy – “TripToGo’s Top 5 Tips on Travel for your next trip to France”


Urgent not optional. You’d rather have a call to action answered than no reaction:

  • Urgent – “Sale Ends this Week”
  • Optional – “Stop by and See Our Latest Showroom Deals”


Gripping rather than boring:

  • Exciting – Vote Tonight for Change!
  • Zzzz… – Board Meeting Thursday Night to Vote on New Paint for Residence


In addition to avoiding the use of ALL CAPS and too much punctuation, avoid these words which tend to trigger spam filters and could negatively affect your open rates:

  • Free, Save, Guarantee, Shipping, Apply Now, Urgent, Dear Friend, Reminder, Hello…just to name a few.


Don’t be afraid to spark a little competition in your reader’s mind:

  • Competitive – “Is This in Your Budget” or “Can You Afford This”
  • Noncompetitive – “New Listings in Your Area”

Be a problem solver. If you’re in the food industry, what a great way to help your reader with the nagging, age old question, “What’s for dinner?” Send out an email blast before the work day is out with the subject line: “Where to eat tonight” or “Take us home”. Voila, age old question answered.   Be fresh, not redundant. No need to mention your company’s name again in the subject line if it’s already in your “from”. Use that precious 15 – 20 character space which is better suited for your offer or call to action. Don’t be too elusive; say what the email will be about. After all, it’s all about your open rate.   And sometimes, things get personal. Professional emails oftentimes lie in direct competition with personal emails, and they’re all vying for the reader’s attention. Email is a popular, fun and easy way to stay in contact with your friends and family. But if you have someone in your life that’s a habitual forwarder, this can easily clutter your inbox. Of the many personal forwards received, there may be only one that the recipient has an interest in opening, such as “Graduation Pics” or “Hi from Home”. The rest leaves your inbox in disarray. So be sure your subject box is eye-catching and tempting. Your goal is to succeed in keeping your email from being overlooked, ignored, or at worst, deleted.   You may think that you have a second chance to make a first impression with email marketing, but with “opt outs” a mere click away, it’s important that this first introduction gets the reader engaged and ultimately converted into a sale.   We’re taught not to judge a book by its cover; however the opposite is true when it comes to the content of a subject box. We judge an email by its subject line. People in today’s world are pressed for time and therefore may not get to all their emails, so be smart about your subject box’s style and choice of words, so your reader makes time for you.   If you need help with your email marketing plan or some suggestions for subject line copy, give us a call at 561-393-4722.  We are happy to help.

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