How to write the best email marketing subject lines

Writing and designing an incredible email is all well and good, but useless if no one actually reads it. Some marketing experts will spend 50% of their time creating their email copy, and 50% of their time writing the subject line. Just like a newspaper headline, a powerful subject line is needed to entice your contacts to read on.

How do you write email marketing subject lines that are guaranteed to get your messages opened?

Personalise it:

According to the 2014 Science of Email Marketing, emails that included the first name of the recipient in their subject line proved more effective than emails that didn’t.

Avoid certain words:

Some words will trip spam filters and make your email more likely to land in junk. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but try to mostly steer clear of words like ‘Buy’, ‘Clearance’, ‘Make money’, ‘Extra income’, ‘Cheap’, ‘Click’, ‘Open’, ‘Subscription’, ‘Report’ and ‘Deal’. 

…But use others:

Some words actually help to boost open rates. Try using ‘Reasons why’, ‘How to’, ‘Your’, ‘Thanks’, ‘New’, ‘News’ and ‘Free delivery’.

Be simple:

Barack Obama used some quirky but highly effective subject lines throughout his campaign. One of the emails with the highest open rate was incredibly simple, with the subject line: ‘Hey’. This specific line might not work for your list, but a similarly simple idea might.

Split test:

Although there are certain best practice guidelines for subject lines, no one can tell you what will work for your list. The best way to learn is to simply trial A/B split tests of different subject lines, and see which get the highest open rates. The results might surprise you!

Need more advice on creating killer subject lines or memorable email copy? Get in touch with our content Geeks on 01462 262359 or email