Email subject lines



As a consumer, the subject line in email marketing is everything. That is, if the email makes it to my inbox at all. I feel like I am the unreachable audience, I’m a big fan of the “filter messages like these” option in Gmail. But every so often, emails squeak by my defences, and when they do – the subject line is either a gold star or a death sentence.

The other day one of my colleagues needed to send an email to our entire company (roughly 175 people). We were scratching our heads and asking “what will make this email more intriguing than all of the hundreds of emails that get sent out every day?” and I suggested “just mash the keyboard, it might pique curiosity.” and someone else suggested “throw in a swear word, that’ll get their attention.” We ended up with this:
31 PM

Kieran’s expertise is thankfully in product development, and not email marketing. But he ended up with a much larger open rate, probably due to the crass subject line.

This brings me to my question…

What are your tips for a writing subject lines that result in high open rates?


I try to keep them short and personal. Also, I’ve had some success throwing in an emoji every now and then. Just don’t overuse it of course. :fire: :tada: :smiley: :rocket: :robot:

The folks over at do a great job with their emails. I get a lot of inspiration just by being on their mailing list. That’s another good thing to do: Find some copywriters and marketers you want to learn from, and sign up for their lists. You’ll be surprised how many good ideas for subject lines you can get this way.


I kinda liked this one from @Corey_Dilley actually! :wink:
42 pm

I think it’s a fine balance between click-bait and just being human about it. I often open emails when they have that real click-bait type email, but it would be rare I am genuinely interested. So I feel sometimes a subject line may just inflate open rate, but not actually convert to click-throughs (or whatever the conversion goal was).

I’d rather a lower open rate, but high click-through/conversion.


Click bait?! Well I never!

Haha, thanks very much @Zoe_Tattersall.

I think what you said about “balance” is very insightful. I fully subscribe to the idea that the subject line has 1 job - to get people to click… but for God’s sake, make it relevant to the content that’s in the email. And stay far away from trickery (“FWD:” “RE: RE: RE:”, you know what I’m talkin about :wink:).


Ha ha the click-bait comment was not directed at your subject line @Corey_Dilley – I did genuinely think it was clever. :grin: