How to Write Great Email Subject Lines

How to Write Great Email Subject Lines_feature

When it comes to email marketing, the subject line is king. If your subject line isn’t attention-grabbing, your email will go unread. One of the best things you can do to increase email open rates, and grow your business, is to learn how to write great email subject lines.


Why are email subject lines so important?

Email inboxes are crowded and noisy places. The average person receives over 100 emails per day and generally leaves at least 35% of those emails unread. Your email subject line determines whether your email ends up in the 35% that just sits there collecting dust or the 65% that actually gets opened.

Your subject line is like the gatekeeper. If the subject line doesn’t capture your ideal client’s attention, they will just scroll past your email or click delete and move on. That means, no matter how amazing your email body is, few people will see it if you don’t use good email subject lines. You want your subject lines to intrigue your readers so much that they can’t resist opening your email.


How to Write Great Email Subject Lines

The best email subject lines follow these practical tips:

Tip 1: Keep it Short.

Keep your email subject line short. The ideal subject line is between 5 and 10 words or between 40-70 characters. If your subject line is much longer, the words will likely get cut off. Shorter subject lines generally have higher open rates and do a better job of grabbing email recipients’ attention.

If you simply can’t resist making your email subject line a little longer, read just the first 40 characters to ensure it still makes sense and compels someone to open the email.


Tip 2: Use the preview section.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen emails come into my inbox with pure nonsense in the preview slot. Take advantage of that space!

In the preview section of your marketing emails, tell your customer more about what they will get from opening your email or why they should open it.

For most email service providers, your preview text can be between 30-90 characters.

How to Write Great Email Subject Lines_article

Tip 3: Grab Their Attention

In a sea of incoming emails, you want yours to stand out. Consider occasionally using bold letters, emojis, multiple exclamation points, or other visual features to grab reader’s attention.

You can also open a story loop, ask questions, and even include numbers (e.g. “3 Ways to Improve Your Email Marketing”) to catch your prospective customer’s eye.

At the same time, you want to be enticing without being spammy or clickbaity. Avoid spam words as much as possible. Not only can spam words get your email sent straight to your potential customer’s spam folder, but they also erode trust.

Spammy email subject lines are generally overly promotional and tend to overpromise. You never want to make false promises to potential customers in any of your marketing materials. Only make promises you know you can keep.


Tip 4: Use Your Ideal Client’s Words

Use the words your ideal client would use to describe your product or service, or even their problem itself. If you want to connect with your target audience you need to use words that resonate with them.

When your ideal customer feels like you understand them, they’re more likely to trust you and your business. Do some market research to learn how your ideal customer talks about their pain points and the solution they desire. Then use those words in your content marketing. Sometimes the smallest messaging tweaks lead to the biggest results.


Tip 5: Match the Tone of Your Email

Your subject line is a preview of the content inside your email. It should give prospective customers an idea of what they will get inside. That goes for content as well as tone.

If your email is serious, don’t write a light-hearted subject line. The tone of your email should be reflected in both your subject line and body copy.


Tip 6: Brainstorm Like Crazy

Spend at least 6 minutes brainstorming good subject lines. Even if you think your first idea is a great subject line, keep jotting down ideas until the ten minutes are up. If you need help thinking up ideas, use subject line templates to fuel your brainstorm.

Remember, using great subject lines is the key to getting your emails opened. It is perfectly acceptable to spend just as much time working on your subject line as you do writing the email itself. 


Tip 7: Be Clear

Yes, you want your headline to be catchy and captivating to get people to open your email. At the same time, you want to be clear. Your email subject line should tell readers what they will find inside your email. Strive for clear, captivating subject lines that cause people to open the email because they want to learn more.


Tip 8: Test and Measure

Not all subject lines will work for every business or audience. A great email subject line in one industry may fall flat in another.

Test out your best subject lines to see which ones get the highest open rates. After sending an email, review the analytics to see how many people opened your email and what actions they took after reading (e.g. clicking on a link, making a purchase, etc.).

Compare your open rates and click rates to industry standards to see how your numbers measure up to other people in your line of work. If your open rates are below average, focus on employing these eight tips to increase open rates.

If you are struggling to write email subject lines that are both attention-grabbing and accurate reflections of your email content, contact us today to speak with one of our Certified StoryBrand Guides. We can help you fine-tune your messaging so that you use words that resonate with your ideal audience and write great email subject lines that get your emails opened.

Angie Schultz StoryBrand Certified Guide since 2018

Angie Schultz

Make StoryBrand work for you.

So many business leaders fall in love with StoryBrand but get overwhelmed when it comes to making it work for their website.

Over the last four years, we’ve partnered with Angie Schultz, a StoryBrand Certified Guide, to help help dozens of businesses implement StoryBrand on their websites and marketing materials.
Schedule a call with our team by clicking the form below. We’d love to chat about helping you leverage the power of StoryBrand, too.

You Might Also Like…