Email Subject Blog

Deliberating Over Email Subject Lines

email imageHaving spent time creating an attractive, engaging email campaign, I sometimes end up spending as long deliberating over the subject line. I strive to come up with an effective subject line to ensure my creative work is actually seen and read by the target audience. This is so important and it is no easy task. Here are some tips that I have considered recently when working on emails…

Keep it brief – as usual, it pays to keep it concise. MailChimp recommends using 50 characters or less. As more and more of us read our emails on smartphones, the window for viewing a subject line is restricted so you need to get your key message in a very small space.

Clarity – a strong subject will give a good idea of what is contained within the email. People are short on time and will quickly delete an email if the content doesn’t match the expectation from the subject.

Teaser – whether you entice readers in with a tempting offer or pose a question that is absolutely relevant to them, it is always good to grab attention with a teaser where opening the email will reveal the answer or provide the promotion details.

Audience – put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. What would really engage them? What will make them open that email over all the other ones in their mailbox.

Different – try to stand out. This doesn’t mean you have to be wacky, just check the last bunch of emails you received and try to avoid using the same old subjects that they are using.

Words to avoid:

There are certain words that are best avoided in email subject lines. “Free”, “Help”, “% off”, “Reminder” – MailChimp suggests that these particular words may trigger spam filters. This is less of an issue than it used to be as spam filters are more sophisticated based on strength of the sender. Some successful companies are using these terms day in day out so maybe it is working for them or maybe if you create another message with these same terms it will just get lost amongst them – you decide.

Personal dislikes:

Personalisation where I am not familiar with the brand or personalisation failures e.g. Hello Miss or Hi <Surname>

Exclamation marks!!


Images and emojis – no thanks 🙁


About Catherine Abel

I am a freelance Marketing Manager offering support to help grow your business. I have bags of experience in various Marketing roles and can help with a range of Marketing tasks or projects.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *