5 Quick Tips for Getting More Emails Opened

Email marketing tips for email marketers who want their emails read

Email subject lines are the digital equivalent of print media headlines. The best email subject lines persuade the user to open and read the messages that follow.

Even if you’ve created the most profound and click-through worthy email newsletter or promotion ever written, you still need to get someone to open your email first. If they don’t open, then all your effort was wasted.

First, two tips on the structure of writing your email subject lines:

Keep your email subject lines short. You don’t know what email client a subscriber is using, so try to pack a punch in the beginning of your emails. Like a good headline, a good email subject line is succinct. Some email clients such as AOL and Hotmail truncate the email subject line if it is longer than 45-51 characters. Other email clients permit up to 80+ characters. Generally, shorter email subject lines produce higher open and click-through rates.

Don’t give everything away in the email subject line. Is your email subject line sufficiently intriguing to prompt the recipient to open your email newsletter or sales letter? Or do you “give away” the entire message in the email subject line, diminishing the subscriber’s incentive to read any further?

Also, mystery is a good thing, just make sure not to cross the line of “tricking” your readers into opening an email that has content not inline with what you’re promising them. The email subject line is not creative if it prompts the recipient to open your email message, but subsequently disappoints, confuses, or worse, alienates the recipient.

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Now, three different types of subject lines that prompt an open:

Asking a Question

The linguistic structure of a question requires the reader to pause and respond. In other
words, questions force us to think and answer. Question subject lines generally pull well.


  • Would Self-Hypnosis Help You Achieve Your Goals?
  • Does Uncle Sam Owe You “Forgotten Money”?
  • Tired of Making Your Boss Rich?
  • Can This Marriage Be Saved?

Being targeted and specific

This subject line is very direct in that it specifically identifies its intended audience. It could mean that the subject lines are location-based, or even profession-based.

  • Attention Bostonians Who Need to Lose Weight
  • For Investors Who Hate Paying Commissions
  • Are You a Sales Pro Who Wants to Close More Deals?
  • For Mature Women Only
  • Confidential to Corvette Owners

Answering a question with a reason

The Reason Why email subject line often works well as a list. Readers love lists because lists comprise convenient summaries. Note that the article you are currently reading is a list. Giving reasons also provoke opening because the reader expects a list of solutions to something.

  • Reasons Why Microsoft Outsells Apple
  • Six Reasons Why Men Prefer Blondes
  • The Reason Why Betamax Failed
  • 12 Reasons Why You Should Invest in Bonds

Anyone with a curiosity quotient higher than room temperature can be intrigued and motivated to open an email. When you’re writing your email newsletters, just remember to take just as much (or more) time to plan your email subject line, because without it, your email won’t get read.


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