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Email Marketing: 5 Subject Line Best Practices for Increased Opens

Your email’s subject line is arguably the most important component in executing an engaging email campaign.

Your email’s subject line is arguably the most important component in executing an engaging email campaign. It is the gateway, serving as the initial touch point the recipient sees before even opening your email. Good subject lines grab the reader’s attention, get them to open the email and direct them to the call to action (CTA). 

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1. Title Length 

Studies show shorter subject lines garner a 12.5% higher open rate. This means the longer your subject line, the better chance you have of a reader ignoring your email. Email subject lines can get cut off after a certain length, so generally anything under 50 characters is recommended.

2. Messaging Style 

An email’s subject line serves as a chance to show your company/brand style and connect to the audience. The language should be compelling and have a sense of urgency. Use action-oriented verbs such as “learn”, “download”, “sign up” and “meet us” – this will make an email appear time-sensitive and drive the receiver to act on it.

3. Personalization 

By including the reader’s name, company or location, you can connect to the person and increase open rates. Readers seeing this think the email is targeted to them, and contains information they would find relevant or interesting. 

4. Repetition 

Avoid repeating subject lines as the reader will think it is the same email leading to decreased click through rates in your campaign. If sending an event reminder or follow up, change the line to reflect the new email.

5. Avoid Spam 

Word choice is your most critical decision. Using words such as “free”, “act now”, “offer”, “credit”, “% off” or "help" are usually sure ways to get your email in the SPAM filter. Avoid these words and use the action oriented verbs mentioned above.

Final Thoughts ... 

Email Marketing is not an exact science, and it can take several tries to find out what combination of length, personalization and style motivates your audience and gets you a higher open rate. A/B testing is a perfect way to do this, allowing you to create two emails with different subject lines and similar content to compare against each other. Put yourself in your reader’s shoes and think about the numerous emails you receive daily. Whatever you find yourself opening and responding to is a good indicator of what your audience will like as well.

Sending emails manually can be time- and resource- consuming, that's why marketing automation is an important tool to have in your back pocket. This allows you to automate - and accelerate - entire marketing and sales campaigns with minimal effort. 

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