5 Rules for Writing Subject Lines That Increase Your Open Rates

We all know subject lines prompt us to open or delete emails, and can also influence whether your email ends up in the inbox or the spam folder. So how do we write one that can yield many opens? Some would say to write the shortest, while others recommend catchy phrases. There are actually no set of rules. But we can give you some guidelines that can make writing subject lines a breeze.

1. Relevance

Send to those who subscribed to you. They signed up because they want to hear from you. You or your brand name written in the “From” message is enough to make them open your emails, as it will likely be familiar.

2. Know Your Subscribers

Get to know your subscribers. What are they like? What makes them tick? Who are into cats? Who are into dogs? Segment and send them messages you know they’ll engage with positively and is relevant to their interests or previous opens.

3. Beware of Risky Words

Be creative with your words but try to avoid spam triggers in your subject line. Some examples include:

– “free”, even when put before an item or action…
– Icons ‘%’and ‘$’
– “Fast Cash”
– “Apply Now”

It’s all about being dynamic and creative, without sounding purely sales-y! It’s also not recommended to use purely CAPS in your subject lines, although it may seem like it will stand out, it isn’t recommended.

4. Test 

Just as you would test the emails before sending them out, you should also test your subject lines. There are many online tools which will score your subject line before sending it out and give you feedback. This could include using certain punctuation, such as exclamation marks, or creating a sense of urgency in your subject line. Check out some free online tools here and here to see how your subject lines compare!

5. Leverage Pre-Header Text

Use the pre header texts (the line of copy after the subject line) to create anticipation. This section is among the little known reasons why we open emails. However, the amount of the pre-header text that is shown also varies amongst devices where the email is being read, such as between desktop or mobile – and platforms, such as Outlook which largely does not show the pre-header text nor does Blackberry. These could be an important consideration when preparing pre-header texts to ensure that the device that only displays 30 characters is just as effective as the one that displays 140.

Finally, just simply describing what’s inside your email message is sometimes more effective than trying to sell it in the subject line.