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Crafting the perfect subject line

Crafting the Perfect Subject Line


When it comes to email marketing, crafting the perfect subject line can make all the difference. 64% of recipients make a decision to open emails solely based on subject lines. (Barilliance, 2021)

The subject line is the first thing that recipients see when they receive your email. Many times, your subject line will determine whether it is opened by your recipients. 

A well-written subject line can entice the recipient to open the email. While a poorly written one can cause them to delete it without reading further. Or worse, they may filter it to their spam/junk folder ensuring none of your future emails to that contact is seen.

In this article we will go over 6 major factors to consider when creating an open-worthy subject line. We will also provide examples of how to use the preheader to gain more opening traction.

The preheader is a snippet of text that appears below, or next to, the subject line. It is a preview of the email’s content that can be used to strategically highlight key information. It can also create additional urgency, personalization, and can significantly impact the success of your campaign by increasing email open rates.

So how do you craft the perfect subject line? Here are 6 tips and expert statistics to keep in mind:

  1. Keep it short and sweet. 

One research reveals that 33% of email recipients open emails because of catchy subject lines. (OptinMonster, 2020)

The average person receives dozens, if not hundreds, of emails every day. Make sure your subject line is descriptive, creative, and to the point. The idea is that it catches the eye of your recipient when reviewing their inbox. 

Subject lines serve as your first impression of an email. It can be the deciding factor for whether the recipient opens, ignores, or deletes the email. It's essential to make the subject line clear, concise, and compelling to increase the chances of having your email opened. A short and sweet subject line is easier to read, scan, and remember, making it more likely to stand out in the recipient's inbox, leading to a higher open rate. 

Ideally, your subject line should be around 30–40 characters. Many email clients have a limited amount of characters visible in the subject line, or are viewing your content on a mobile device and email apps. Keeping it short and sweet ensures that the most critical information is conveyed without being cut off.


Short & Sweet


  1. Be specific.

Interactive subject lines have 70% higher conversion rates. (Jeff Bullas’s Blog)

The subject line should give the recipient a good idea of what the email content is about. Avoid using vague or ambiguous language. Instead, use specific, action-oriented language that interacts with your recipients to tell them exactly what they can expect from the email. 

When your subject line is specific, it helps the recipient quickly understand the purpose and content of the email. This increases the likelihood that it will be opened and read. A specific subject line can also help the recipient prioritize their inbox and make decisions about which emails to respond to first. 

You want yours to be among the first they engage with. Additionally, it can help ensure that the email is easy to find later, if needed.


Be Specific


  1. Personalize it.

Personalizing email subject lines can increase email open rates by 50% and lead to 58% higher click-to-open rates. (Marketing Dive)

Personalization can go a long way in increasing the open rate of your emails. Adding the recipient's name to the subject line, for example, can make the email feel more relevant and created for their specific needs. A personalized subject grabs the recipient’s attention and, you guessed it, increases the likelihood of your email being opened and read. 

Adding contact-specific information that is relevant to the contact, such as their recent purchases or browsing history can go a long way to building a trusting relationship with your recipients. Doing this will result in more engagement, more open rates, more sales, and long lasting brand loyalty. By showing that the email is tailored to their interests and needs, the recipient is more likely to feel valued and interested in what the email has to say. This can lead to higher open rates, click-through rates, and conversions.


Personalize It


  1. Create a sense of urgency.

Including a sense of urgency and exclusivity in subject lines give emails a 22% higher open rate. (Invesp, 2021)

Did you know that emails that convey a sense of urgency have a much higher open rate than those that do not? The key is to communicate urgency without being spammy.

An urgent subject line can help to grab the recipient's attention and convey the importance or time-sensitivity of the message. A clear and urgent subject line can encourage the recipient to prioritize reading and responding to the email in a timely manner. 

This can help increase engagement and conversions. Yet, it is important to avoid using urgency unnecessarily or excessively, as this can lead to "cry wolf" scenarios. You do not want to diminish the impact of urgent subject lines in the future.




  1. Keep it clean

69% of email recipients report emails as spam after reading the subject line. (Invesp, 2021)

Avoid spammy words, ALL CAPS, and excessive punctuation. Words like "free" or "discount" might trigger spam filters, and excessive punctuation can also be a red flag for spam. Excessive symbols and icons can also trigger filtering.

Including high-risk spam words in your subject line can make your email appear unprofessional and decrease trust. A clean subject line that reflects the content of the email is more likely to grab the recipient's attention and encourage them to open and read the email. Notice the theme? It all boils down to, emails that get opened get traction!


Keep it clean


  1. A/B Test.

Try sending a few different variations of your subject line to a small subset of your recipients and see which one has the best open rate. This way you can see what works and what doesn't before sending out a campaign to your entire list. Test your emails using GreenRope’s Campaign Optimizer by testing up to 5 different emails, with different subject lines, at the same time.


By following these tips, you'll be well on your way to crafting the perfect subject line for your email marketing campaigns. Remember, the subject line is the first thing a recipient sees, so make sure will entice them to open your emails.

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Melissa Filich Blog Bio


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