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Despite being very short, email subject lines carry a lot of weight and can determine the success of your email marketing campaign.

Spending time and effort to develop not only informative but also creative and engaging subject lines that spark interest in a reader and encourage them to open and read your email is essential to your marketing success.

While you may not know right from the start what works best, test out different approaches, and at some point, you’ll figure out what your target audience finds compelling and worthy of a read.

To help you understand this better, we’ve created a comprehensive guide all around the best email subject lines.

What Is an Email Subject Line and Preheader?

What Is a Subject Line in an Email?

The subject line in an email is a single line of text people see when they receive an email. Writing an effective email subject line is essential as it determines whether a recipient opens the email or not (or whether it lands directly in the trash).

What Is an Email Preheader?

An email preheader follows the email subject and shows a preview of your email. It’s closely related to the subject line and needs to be succinct and engaging to convince a recipient to open and read your email.

Why The Subject Line of an Email Is So Important?

Since people often receive dozens, if not hundreds of emails every day, it’s difficult to grab their attention.

That is why an engaging email subject line and preheader are so important.

They are the two most significant elements in deciding whether your marketing efforts deliver any results.

The words you choose should be catchy and impactful at the same time. Putting in that extra effort to come up with good subject lines will go a long way.

To help you write them faster, we’ve come up with 12 tips to create good email subject lines.

What Are The Top Email Subject Line Tips in 2022?

1) Shorten Your Subject Lines

Because most people check their emails from their smartphones, your subject lines need to be short and to the point.

Sometimes just one or two words can get a lot of engagement.

Mistakes you can make include not writing any subject line at all, writing too much, being too vague, using filler words, writing in all caps, starting a sentence that finishes the email, using the wrong name (this is a big one! Make sure to get your readers’ names right!), and not adding a sense of urgency.

Rule of thumb: keep the subject under 40 characters or about 5-7 words.

2) Avoid Spam Words

Just like filler words, spam words are a bad idea in subject lines.

If the language you use is too promotional (e.g. using terms like “Free,” or “Buy Now”) or when the words are written in all caps, the email often gets marked as spam.

Instead of trying to sell something, provide value by offering relevant information or sharing your expertise.

That signals to your reader that you are messaging them to contribute something instead of trying to solicit sales … providing content that your reader will be likely to engage with will ultimately keep your marketing emails away from the spam folder.

3) Ask Open-Ended Questions in the Subject Line

Questions spark curiosity and usually inspire recipients to open and read your email.

A common question that works both for social media captions and email subject lines is “Did you know that…”

Whatever question you decide to put in the subject line, make sure that it pertains to the email copy.

Otherwise, you may risk high opens but low clicks.

The expectation in the email subject line should always be met in the email text – remember that. Try out using questions in your subject line and watch your email open rate improve.

4) Include a Deadline in the Subject Line

Deadlines don’t only work wonders for procrastinators, they also work in email subject lines as they create a sense of urgency that encourages readers to prioritize your email.

When sending out a series of emails for one specific event or promotion, make sure to include an upcoming date (for the event or the deadline for a promotion).

Complete the email series with a “now or never” or “last chance” follow-up email and give a short turnaround time of one day or 24 hours. E.g. “Don’t wait. Save % [percent off] this week at [your business].

5) Try a Teaser Subject Line to Get People to Open Your Email

People enjoy previews (think movie trailers) and the same goes for great subject lines. Don’t give away the punchline at the beginning.

Instead, come up with a great hook that sparks the readers’ interest.

6) Provide a Clear Command

Another approach that works well is to provide a clear command that tells readers exactly what to do.

If you have an upcoming event that you want to invite your readers to, you can do that right in the email subject line, writing “Come join us at (insert event)!”

7) Share Something Valuable

Unless you share something of value, people are not going to open or read your email.

Think of who your target audience is, what their problems are, what they need and how you can help them.

That’s a surefire way of getting them interested in your content, products, services, brand, and business.

Therefore, use a value-based subject line in your email, such as “How You Can Earn More and Retire Early.

8) Make an Announcement

Just like providing a command, making an announcement in the email subject line sparks interest.

Whatever it is you have to share, do so directly on the subject with enthusiasm, e.g. by sharing a raffle winner, like “And our $1,000 raffle winners are…”

9) Be Unique in the Email Inbox

Understanding who your audience is and what your business can offer them is essential to your company’s marketing success.

Whatever is your USP (unique selling proposition), highlight it in the email subject line.

Since many people will open emails based on just the sender, you can also add your business name in the subject line (given it is well known).

10) Tell a Joke With Your Email Subject

Everyone loves some good humor and people who literally laugh out loud while reading your email are more likely to continue opening future emails and engage with your content and brand.

That is why sharing a joke in the email subject line can increase your email open rate … people are simply not used to funny content in their email inbox and appreciate the occasional smirk or laugh.

Even if your joke isn’t the best, inspiring a smile on someone’s face can go a long way.

Depending on your brand’s tone of voice, you can try out different wordplays or puns and analyze whether it increases engagement and works for your audience.

11) Write Say Something Unexpected or Intriguing

You may not be able to come up with a funny punchline but how about something unexpected or intriguing?

Sharing surprising information about your industry or a little-known fact about something that would surely interest your reader (e.g. “Did you know that (insert product) can improve your sleep?”).

It could be a statistic or something unusual that readers aren’t used to seeing in sales emails.

An unexpected subject line can grab a reader’s attention, inspire them to open and read it and make your brand and company more memorable to them.

12) Highlight Video and Other Multimedia

According to research, adding the word “video” in your email subject line can double the likelihood of a reader opening your email.

Whether you include a video, podcast, presentation, or other multimedia in your email, it makes your content more engaging and provides more value to the reader … if you do have any multimedia in your email, make sure to let the reader know right from the start – in the email subject line.

Final Thoughts

Email subject lines are crucial to your marketing success as they determine whether someone will read your email or send it straight to the spam or trash folder.

Therefore, your subject line requires some thought and effort. It should be simple, concise, and engaging because most users access their email on their smartphones, your subject line has to be short and stick to 5-7 words.

It also must spark interest to ensure the reader opens and reads your email.

The best way to do this is by following a few tried and tested steps, such as adding multimedia, telling a joke, giving a clear command, sharing valuable, intriguing, or surprising information, making an announcement, avoiding spam words, adding a teaser, asking an open-ended question, or including a deadline to create urgency.

If you follow all these tips, you are sure to increase your open rate, your click rate, and your CTA conversions, thereby growing your sales and your business as a whole.