Free Ice Cream, Puppies and Kittens!

Now that I have your attention, think about why.

Why did you click on this link? Is it because you love our blogs? Is it because you love animals? Or, just maybe, was it out of pure curiosity?

That’s the power of a subject line.

Subject lines are often overlooked and thought of as unimportant, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. When it comes to email writing, subject lines yield significant power. For one, they’re the first – and sometimes only – thing someone sees.

So, how can you make your subject line so good people will want to read on (without cheating like we did with this blog title)? Easy.

Tips for Better Email Subject Lines

1. Be brief.

Subject lines that go on too long get the dreaded “…” and your message is cut off. Sometimes this can result in a humorous subject line, like this real one I got in my personal inbox (they meant crowds):

The sweet spot for subject lines is six to seven words, or roughly 40 characters (including spaces).

2. Personalize it.

Adding the recipient’s name (or the company’s name) to the subject line increases the open rate by half. Just make sure their name is spelled correctly!

3. Make it interesting.

This depends on your audience and your content, of course, but things like emojis, open-ended questions, statistics or current events can help get your email read. And, if your email includes a video – which, let’s be honest, is the direction everyone is moving in now – you should mention that in the subject line because research shows adding a video increases click rates by 300%.

4. Offer value.

You’re asking the client to do something for you, so sometimes it’s a good idea to do something for them – whether that’s offering a free download to something or literally a value statement like, ”We can give you 30% commission rates.”

5. Create urgency.

This is one you have to be careful with – you don’t want to sound like the “SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY!” guy in those monster truck rally commercials. But, time-sensitive deals or even specific appointment dates can drive clicks.

6. Include keywords.

This can mean SEO or power words, but it’s basically a trick to avoid the junk folder and potentially land yourself higher on a client’s priority list. 

7. Keep it professional.

I know I cheated a bit with my blog’s title, but since this is an internal message, we have a bit of leeway to be more familiar. Regardless of your relationship to the recipient, always err on the side of professionalism.

8. Spellcheck!

You should spellcheck your whole email, but don’t forget the subject line. It’s the first thing the client reads, so if there’s an error, your credibility goes out the window and your email might go right in the trash.

Last lines on the subject

Obviously, you can’t cram all these tips into just one subject line, so use your judgment for which kinds of emails need which tips. And, if you need help writing the rest of your email, refer back to our April blog.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get to my free ice cream. I left it in the same room with my cat, Mittens.

Mittens, no!


Don’t be sad. We’ll be back on the first Monday next month with a new blog post. If you can’t wait that long – whether because you have a topic you’d love us to cover, a question or you simply want to throw your two cents into the pot – we love talkin’ shop, so drop us a line.  

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