How to Nail Your Email Subject Lines

If you’re anything like me, your email inbox probably looks like a disaster area.

I’ve actually got several email accounts, and each one of them is bombarded with a ton of emails every single day.

The emails come from all angles too – on a typical day I could receive a newsletter, transaction email, and a promotional email all within the space of 20 minutes.

I don’t even open half of them. They just sit there collecting dust in my inbox.

But, why? I check my email inbox religiously every single morning, and even still I just can’t bring myself to open all of them.

Well, it looks like I fall into the 47% of email recipients who choose to open emails based on their subject lines.

So, if you want to send email campaigns which your audience actually open, email subject lines are so important.

That’s exactly why we’ve put this article together – today we’re going to be looking at the best ways to nail your email subject lines. After all, 47% of your audience is huge.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced email marketer, or a total beginner, at the end of this article you’ll have some great tactics that you can use to come up with catchy email subject lines for your brand.

Okay, there’s a lot to cover, so let’s jump into it!

What is an Email Subject Line?

Much like the headline of an article, an email subject line clearly details what the content inside the email will be about.

With this in mind, it’s important that you do everything you can to create email subject lines which arouse interest from your audience – this will really help the success of your email marketing campaigns.

Why Are Email Subject Lines so Important?


When it comes to email marketing, there are two key metrics which you can try to optimize: open rates and click-through rates.

When talking about your open rates, I mean the percentage of people who are opening the emails that you’re sending.

And, when it comes to click-through rates, I’m referring to the percentage of people who have not only opened your email, but also clicked on a link within said email.

Of course, increasing both your open rates and click-through rates should always be on your marketing to-do list. But, it’s always going to be difficult to optimize your click-through rates if people aren’t even opening your emails.

That’s why email subject lines are so important. Heck, you could have the best email content in the world, but it ultimately won’t matter if you aren’t enticing people to open them.

Approach email marketing with this mindset: your audience will be receiving emails throughout the day from tons of different brands, and they only have a certain amount of attention.

Email subject lines help your audience to distinguish which emails they need to open.

How to Nail Your Email Subject Lines

So, now that I’ve quickly covered how important email subject lines are, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty of this article.

In the following sections I’ll be listing my top tips that you can use to nail your own email subject lines.

Use these tips to help your audience find your message in their email inboxes, which can certainly look like a minefield at times.

Keep it Concise

writing email subject lines

The average attention span of an online user currently stands at 8 seconds.

Yep, just 8 seconds.

So, it’s your job to make sure that your audience can easily digest your email subject lines when they open up their inbox.

Take into account that the average email subject line stands at 7 words in length, but statistics show that emails with just 3 words perform best.

Now, you might not always be able to convey your message in just three words, but try to keep it as short as possible.

Save your full message for the actual email content instead – if somebody has clicked on your email, you’ve already grabbed their attention (and that’s the hard part).

Add Urgency


Like I mentioned earlier, there’s no doubt that your average buyer will be receiving emails from a variety of brands every day.

So, you’re going to need to stand out from those other brands.

If you add some urgency into your email subject lines, you’ll have a much easier time enticing people to click.

Picture this, you receive an email with the following subject line:

“Sale on now! Up to 50% off!”

Cool. It’s from a brand I like, so maybe I’ll check it out later.

Then, 20 minutes later you receive an email with the following subject line:

“Flash Sale! 50% off for the next 30 minutes!”

You can already guess which one is more enticing for a buyer.

Use urgency tactics like this to improve your own email marketing performance – it isn’t as tough as you think!

Personalize Your Email Subject Lines

When you’re sending email campaigns, your main goal should be sending a message that speaks directly to your audience.

One of the best ways to do that?

Well, speak directly to your audience.

No, seriously. You can personalize your email subject lines so that your audience will see their own name instead of a generic message.

Sounds good, right?

Well, there’s statistics to back personalized email subject lines up.

Research shows that personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened, and they tend to improve click-through rates by an average of 14%.

Consumers are constantly seeking a more authentic, personalized experience, and this is one tactic that you can use to ensure this.

If you’re interested in learning more about email subject line personalization, using your email provider.

Optimize for Mobile

mobile email open rates

In 2018, 49% of email opens occurred on mobile devices.

That’s huge. And it’s exactly why you should be optimizing your email subject lines with mobile in mind.

But, how do you optimize your email subject lines for mobile users?

My golden rule is that shorter copy tends to work best for mobile devices.

I also highly recommend sending yourself a test email and viewing it on a mobile device before you launch any email marketing campaigns.

If it looks good on desktop and mobile, you’re good to go.

PRO TIP: Research indicates that more and more people are going to be opening their emails from mobile devices, so it’s a great idea to start optimizing for mobile from now on.

Test Out Emojis

Love them or hate them, emojis are here to stay.

And for good reason too – statistics show that 56% of brands who have used emojis in their email subject lines found a higher unique open rate.

If you’re looking for ways to optimize your email subject lines, try out emojis.

Don’t be scared to get creative with them – they’re just another way to communicate.

Plus, when you’re trying to stand out in a crowded inbox, they could be your winning strategy.

Just bare in mind that emojis will function differently based on the operating system that they’re viewed on.

Be Crystal Clear

One thing that’s absolutely essential for your email marketing campaigns in the long run is clarity.

If you want to use email as a channel which you can use to grow your brand, you must ensure that your audience know what they’re going to receive from you.

After all, it takes time and effort to create your emails, as it also does to build up your mailing list.

You don’t want to jeopardize the long-term trust of your audience with any misleading email subject lines.

That’s exactly why you need to make sure your email subject lines are crystal clear.

Sometimes it can be a challenge to explain your offer and keep things short, but when it comes down to it, clarity is the most important thing.

Honestly, nobody likes being mislead.

Remember to A/B Test


You’re the one who knows your audience best, and it’s important that you remember that.

However, even you can get it a little wrong sometimes.

And that’s why A/B testing is so important – it allows you to test 2 or more different email subject lines, so you can check which copy works best.

I recommend using the tips and tricks that we’ve listed above to come up with two (or more) compelling email subject lines for your campaigns.

A/B tests will help you learn more about your own email marketing campaigns.

You can use that knowledge and make sure that you’re always improving!

Optimize Your Email Subject Lines

Okay, so that’s our list of tips and tricks which you can use to nail your email subject lines.

I hope that the information from this article will help you on your marketing journey.

Just before you go, I want to emphasize how important it is to keep on testing when it comes to email marketing.

Keep iterating, keep learning, and keep bettering yourself.

So, did I miss anything off this list of email subject line tips? Let me know in the comments section, I read them all!

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