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  • Writer's pictureNikki Mansell

How to write a successful subject line in Email Marketing

We believe that Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to promote your business online, help build long lasting relationships with your customers, improve loyalty, and generate sales.

And we are not the only ones to think that… you just need to Google Effectiveness of Email Marketing et voila, pages of stats, tips and explainers are there for you to dive into. Email marketing is a comparatively cost-effective way of conveying your message to your targeted audience, updating them on news, sales announcements or invitations etc.

Here are a few tips to get the most out of the ‘You’ve Got Mail’ ping, so let’s go through some of those we like to employ:

First Impressions Count

How many unread emails do you have in your inbox? 50? 150? Or if you’re on countless mailing lists, it could be a lot more!

A whopping '105 billion emails are sent every day, and most are never opened!' (Wordstream, 2021) The chances of your email being ignored is somewhat high, and so your subject line is your first (and sometimes your last) impression on your customers. A great email is worthless if it doesn’t get opened.

“A successful email starts with a subject line that grabs the attention of your recipients... Whatever your approach, it's important to keep your audience in mind, and test different words and phrases to see what they prefer.” MAILCHIMP

Different types of subject lines are used in differing circumstances, but I just wanted to look at a few of the most effective options:

Short and Sweet:

For many recipients, especially those reading your emails on mobile devices, shorter is often better. It’s worth noting that this approach is most applicable with notification emails, such as an order status.

These emails have a specific purpose, and so their subject lines should be specific as well. It is within these order status type emails, you have the option to put ‘add ons’ into the body of your email which your customer can purchase within their existing order.

One Word Wonder:

One effective strategy involves going ultra-minimalist with one-word subject lines or abbreviations.

Looking at the promotions tab of a Gmail account, what stands out to you here?

For me it’s the M3 subject line:

Having Humour:

A humorous subject line can stick out among the more sober emails surrounding it. We believe that you need to have an air of caution here however, and use only if you know your audience well, and your email is targeted.

“We both know you’re not working...”

Displaying Digits:

Incorporating numbers into your subject line attracts attention, as our brains are naturally drawn to digits.

Top 10’s are successful because of this, as lists are easier for our brains to process, they create curiosity, and provide the suggestion of a quick and easy read.

‘3 ways to improve your pins’

Personalised Performers:

Incorporating personalisation techniques into the email subject line is another way to increase open rates.

Having a user’s name is effective but adding location-specific offers or information, could make your click rate soar. Research shows that the most successful marketing word is actually the recipient’s first name. (Campaign Monitor)

Missing out Mentality:

We get concerned about being left behind - of missing out.

A subject line strategy to spur us into a purchase tend to perform well, such as ‘limited time offer!’ or ‘last 10 places available’.

Dos and Don’ts

We believe that your subject line has to be specific enough to entice the reader, but not so specific that the reader doesn’t need to click through.

And please, don’t fall into the trap of using all caps – it will come across as SHOUTING, and don’t fill your subject line with emojis, it will almost undoubtably go straight to junk.


If you would like Bee More Design to help you with your email marketing, please do contact us.

We hope you found this "Part 1" blog useful - keep a look out for Part 2 - where we will give you tips on what you should use for the Main Email Marketing content.


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