6 things you need to know about email subject lines

by | Sep 26, 2016

Mailchimp experts, email marketing agency

I’m sure we’ve all sent out an e-mail campaign before, which we’ve spent hours of hard work on – only to find out your open and click rates just aren’t getting any better.

The first thing your subscribers see in their inbox is email subject lines – this is why it’s vital to stand out in a cluttered inbox of a million unread e-mails.

Do’s with email subject lines

  1. Keep it short & catchy. Subject lines should be between 3-7 words (and under 50 characters). If your subscribers use e-mail predominately on desktop, longer subject lines are acceptable – on the other hand stats say that 55% of email is now opened on a mobile device (Litmus 2016) meaning readability on a mobile is essential. If your subject line is too long – people will most likely ignore and read past it.

  2. Studies show that subject lines phrased as questions performed much better than those that didn’t, and showed an increase in open rates and click rates. I believe this is because of the engagement you’re creating in the user’s head; “Do you want 30% off this Summer?” in my opinion makes me want to open the e-mail and find out more, rather than “Have 30% off this Summer”.

  1. Be at the right place, at the right time. If there’s a time limit on the promotion/service you’re offering to your subscribers – the user will act promptly. This makes sense, as the shorter the amount of time your recipients have to act, the more compelled they will feel to do this, example: “Urgent! Offer ends tomorrow!”.

Don’ts with email subject lines

  1. Special characters aren’t that special. In fact, there is no stats to prove that these increase either click or open rates, they are even known to trigger SPAM filters which means your subscribers won’t be given the chance to look at your e-mail as it will have gone in the virtual bin.

  1. DON’T SHOUT AT YOUR AUDIENCE! When putting your subject line in all capital letters, this can annoy your subscriber list and – they will get the message loud and clear without this.

  1. Consider the words you’re using. Using words like ‘FREE’ or ‘OPEN IMMEDIATELY’ can send your e-mail straight in the junk folder, it also doesn’t look very professional – people can even be put off opening future emails if they consider this as spam.