Email Marketing Tips: Email Subject Line Best Practices to Ensure Your Emails Get Opened

Email Marketing is an incredibly powerful tool for any business owner to nurture their prospects to become customers and communicate with their existing customers to encourage repeat business. It’s a great way to keep your prospects and customers engaged and interested in what you’re offering but if your emails are not being opened, your efforts are for nothing. This vastly comes down to your subject lines and so we’re going to share with you some email subject line best practices to make sure your emails reach your prospect’s inbox (not their spam folder!) and spark enough interest to be opened.


Email Subject Line Best Practices: The Do’s & Don’ts

1: DO personalise your subject line

Your prospects are bombarded with hundreds of sales emails every week and the vast majority are never opened. By personalising your emails subject line, you create an instant connection you’re your reader and they’re more likely to open the email because it’s directly speaking to them.

According to studies, “Personalized subject lines are 22.2% more likely to be opened” (Source: Adestra)


2. DON’T make your subject line too long

When writing your subject line, you must bear in mind that the majority of emails are now opened on mobile devices:

“About 3 in 5 consumers check their email on the go (mobile) and 75% of say they use their smartphones most often to check email.”  (Source: Fluent “The Inbox report, Consumer perceptions of email”)

Your subject line is cut down to approximately 40 characters on mobile which equates to an average of about 6 words. So keep it short and sweet to ensure that vital information isn’t cut off on mobile.


3. DO spark interest with questions 

Questions are an effective way of catching your reader’s attention and igniting their curiosity. If they’re scrolling through their inbox and read a subject line that asks a question, they’re more likely to open the email in search of the answer. Here are a few examples:

  1. How can you reach your target this month?
  2. Are you ready for summer?
  3. Fancy staying here?

Questions can easily be tailored to suit your product or service. Concentrate on coming up with a question that your reader will really want to know the answer to.


4. DON’T use words like ‘free’

There are certain words that can cause your emails to go straight into your prospect’s spam folder by triggering spam filters. You should avoid words like ‘free’, ‘sale’ and ‘discount’. Whilst they might entice the receiver to open the email, there’s a chance they won’t even make it into the inbox!


5. DO convey a sense of urgency

Encourage your readers to open your email by putting a time limit on it. Make it clear that the offer within your email expires within a day or two. This will entice your prospects to at least open the email to check if it’s something they might be interested in. Be careful not to trigger spam filters with emails like this though. A quick Google search will give you a whole list of words to avoid.



Filling your subject line with all capitals can look unprofessional and very spammy. Your readers will scroll straight past if the email looks to be spam, so avoid using capitals at all costs!


7. DO be concise 

As mentioned in point number 2, your subject line will be cut off at a certain number of characters, so make sure you get straight to the point to ensure your most vital information isn’t cut off. Another reason to be concise is that your readers want to know exactly what your email is about and if they don’t, they’re less likely to open it.


8. DON’T send from a company email address

Sending an email from a company address is sometimes a necessity, however if you can, try and send it from a personal email address. This is far more personal and again creates an instant connection with the reader. People buy from people and if your prospect can put a face (or name!) to a brand, it can help you build a better relationship with them.


9. DO segment your list

Many businesses are guilty of sending out bulk emails to all their prospects at once rather than segmenting their lists based on what they know about their customers. For example, you could segment your list based on what industry your contact is in, what city they’re from or their gender. Ensuring your emails are relevant to the reader is a key way to encourage them to open your email.


10. DON’T use clickbait

Never trick or mislead your prospects by using a subject line that doesn’t have anything to do with your email. Yes, it may work to get them to open the email but it certainly won’t help you to convert them and they may even unsubscribe to your emails, meaning you won’t be able to contact them again in the future.


So there’s our do’s and don’ts when it comes to email subject line best practices. What do you find works for you? Is there anything we’ve missed off the list? We’d love to know your thoughts!




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