The subject line for your email marketing campaign is probably the shortest thing you’ll have to write, but it is also the most important.

You thought it was hard enough to come up with killer content for the email itself, but trying to find something succinct and attention-grabbing can be a real nightmare.

Let’s face it; the simple truth is if your subject line doesn’t grab the reader’s interest straightaway, your email won’t get read. Bummer.

You’re probably hoping I’m about to produce a simple template that will guarantee powerful results every time, but I can’t. But all is not lost; what I can do is outline some tips that will give you the best chance possible.

Forget your name

You probably do what a lot of companies do and start your subject line with your company name. Don’t. You’re wasting your time. The recipient will know it’s from you by the “from” label.

What you need to do is create something that teases them into opening your email. That doesn’t mean a random sentence – your subject line must accurately reflect the content of your email. If you don’t, you’ll run the risk of falling foul of CAN-SPAM compliance.


The vast majority of people view their emails on their phones, which means whatever you come up with has to be mobile friendly.

Both long and short lines work, but for mobile, I’d recommend being as succinct as possible.

Use urgency sparingly

A tactic often used by companies is using terms such as “last chance” in their subject line to get recipients to open their emails. For B2C companies that will probably work, but for the B2B crowd, it’s unlikely.

Be different

Depending on your industry and your audience, why not try something a bit edgier than usual? Be cheeky, topical, or a bit vague anything else that springs to mind. The best way to work out whether this works for your or not is to…

Run A/B tests

The best way to discover what works best for your audience is to run a split test. Using different subject lines in this way will help you identify what type of thing generates the most opens.

Getting your subject line right is difficult. One month you might hit it right, the next you could be way off the mark. The main thing is that you identify what is working and repeat and enhance.

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