5 Quick Tips for Writing the Best Email Subject Lines

The best email subject lines provoke open rates and persuade subscribers to read your email newsletters

There are dozens of methods, tricks and tips for writing great headlines. Unfortunately, this isn’t direct mail, and we have spam filters to adhere to, and character counts to abide by when it comes to writing great email subject lines.

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.

Here are five quick tips for writing the best email subject lines:

1. Write an email subject line that works. There are dozens of email subject line formulas suggested by top copywriters that both increase open-rates and and can sell more products. Try asking a question, or adding urgency to your subject line. How-to subject lines, like “How to Get 12 Hours Out of an 8-hour Day” are also proven to have great open rates.

2. Keep your email subject lines short. You don’t know what email client a subscriber is using, so try to pack the 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.

3. 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?

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4. Don’t trick subscribers into opening your email. 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.

5. Keep your email subject line content relevant to your brand. The email subject line should be appropriate to the publisher’s mission statement and should support the website’s brand. If your book, newsletter, magazine, video, etc. is about kayaking, don’t publish an email newsletter with a subject line solely about fishing, even if the larger story is about using the kayak to get to the fishing venue.


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