The Subject Line caught you, didn’t it?

Subject lines, the head scratcher of very copywriter editing an email campaign. Daily, there’s about 269-billion emails sent, which means there’s a lot of competition for the readers’ attention. These email numbers keep on increasing, too. 47 % of emails are opened based on the subject line alone, however 68% of emails reported as spam, is due to the subject line. With that in mind, it is clearly essential to do email marketing right.

Email subject lines - edited

The starting point of any successful email campaign is the subject line. It plays a huge role in getting the audience to open your email and read further. It should grab the attention of the audience enough for them to be curious enough to open the email. When perfecting and choosing a subject line, it’s good to keep in mind that even though it should be intriguing, it should still be relevant to the content of your email. If your audience chooses not to open your emails or opens and unsubscribes, this impacts the reputation of your sending server. If your server has a bad reputation, emails will either not deliver or will land up in a spam inbox. For any client or agency, this is a huge headache.

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Subject lines need not be a lot of words. In fact, the shorter you can keep it, the better. Campaign Monitor’s data shows that the most effective subject lines range from 41 to 50 characters. In fact, research shows that from 2011 to 2018, email opens on mobile devices has increased with 34%, and mobile devices do not accommodate lengthy subject lines.

The chart below shows the number of characters that is displayed on commonly used devices.

Subject Line

There is no need for humour, unless it’s the brand’s personality. Try to avoid spam triggering words, such as:

  • amazing
  • cancel at any time
  • check or money order
  • click here
  • congratulations
  • dear friend
  • for only ($)
  • free or toll-free
  • great offer
  • guarantee
  • increase sales
  • order now
  • promise you
  • risk free
  • special promotion
  • this is not spam
  • winner

The most effective way to write a subject line that will lead to higher opens is by depending on natural human traits and psyche. Such as the fear of missing out, curiosity, humour, vanity & greed. Experian released a report in 2018 stating that using emoji’s in your subject line can increase your opens by 45%. This is obviously brand specific and need to be used with caution.

The most popular emoji’s in subject lines are:

Subject Line

When in doubt about your subject line, keep it simple and straight forward. Even though you might find it boring, your reader may appreciate the fact that there is no misleading factors. Using simple, plain points in your subject line, also triggers a sense of understanding and curiosity. A good example of such a subject line is “Uber; Since we can’t all win the lottery”. Reverting back to a well performing subject line and alerting it to be more to date and applicable is a good option, too.

At the end of the day, the best subject lines are determined by the brand and its audience. This means trying our different methods until you hit your audience sweet spot.

CRM System (1)



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