8 Steps to an Amazing Subject Line

Every morning I grab my coffee, open my email on my cell phone, and quickly scan through my inbox to see if there’s anything pressing.  Then I look through the other stuff… you know, the messages that aren’t from your regularly scheduled associates. Most of the time, I delete the messages without even opening them.  Sometimes I see a message that perhaps I’ll open later (and usually forget). Very rarely, I’ll see a message that I want to click on.


Because of the subject line.

The subject line will make or break everything that happens after.  That’s a lot of pressure.  You can go through all the trouble to craft the perfect email; it’s clear, concise and has a definitive call to action.  But if that subject line is weak, your work will have been for nothing.  You don’t want nothing… you want conversions!

Fear not! You can build the perfect subject line by following these 8 crucial steps:

Don’t use all caps

Stop shouting at people, they know what you want to say, and if you’re getting your message across properly you don’t have to. Plus, 85% of people would rather see a subject line in all lower case as opposed to all caps. That’s a pretty big number, never mind that you’ll increase the likelihood of triggering a spam filter.

Keep it short

As I mentioned above, I open my mail on my mobile device, and I’m not alone:  54% of people do the same and this number is guaranteed to grow as more and more of your audience works on the road. Don’t risk having your subject line cut off, keep it under 50 characters. Even better, stick to 30.

Ex: 5 Reasons to try Windows 10

Create a sense of urgency

You can increase open rates by 22% by making your audience feel they need to act right now.  The emails that I usually open are teasing me with something I want, or even think I might want.  Don’t give your audience cause for delay, get them opening now!

Ex: 3 days until Thrive!

Get personal

There’s always a special feeling when someone calls out your name; they know you, and they want to speak to you.  Same goes for a subject line. Not only do you make your customers feel special, but you also can increase your click through rates by as much as 22.2%.

Ex. Mary, we have something for you

Use numbers

Numbers (when used correctly) can be an incredibly effective way to get attention, increasing your open and reply rate by as much as 53.2%.  Non round numbers are especially effective and help to break apart words in an appealing way. Avoid numbers that use Internet slang like “4U” or numbers that can trigger spam, like “100% satisfied” (even if your customers are, save it for the body of the email).

Ex: 77% of your peers have done this!

Make them feel special

It was always so nice when you got a card in class on Valentine’s day.  It made you feel special, didn’t it?  You can recreate that feeling with your customers with an amazing subject line (you even get to avoid an awkward kiss).

Ex: You’re invited:  Exclusive Microsoft launch party.

Talk like a human

Easier said than done apparently. Many companies feel like they need to put a lot of marketing jargon into their messaging to sound important. This can be a big mistake, especially when it comes to subject lines.  What sounds better to you:

Execute a conspicuous written format line to garner attention from your target audience post haste


Write engaging subject lines now!

No brainer.  Bottom line:  be clear and get to the point.

Ask a question

Don’t just ask any question though… ask a question that’s relevant to your audience.  Asking a group of banking CEO’s what their favourite baby wipe is may not illicit a great response. But asking your customers about something they have an in-depth knowledge of is not only flattering but empowering, which means a click into your email.

Ex: Are you guilty of these 4 things?

Don’t waste time on copy that never get read. By using this guideline, you can make your company more productive by getting your emails opened.

Want to catch your audiences’ attention?  That’s our specialty; let Starshot help you now.

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