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Write Convincing Email Subject Lines With These 10 Tips

Email marketing can be a fantastic way to get a message across to the masses; however, it can be tricky. Getting your customers or future clients to open an email is the most important part of email marketing. If your subject line doesn’t spark curiosity in your readers, it’s either going to junk or will never be seen again. Here are 10 tips for writing convincing subject lines to increase email open rates.

Short subject lines

Leave your subject lines as short as possible. Remember that the maximum display length of the subject line is about 100 characters. However, the sweet spot is even shorter at less than 60 characters. 

Subject lines are a clear case of less is more. Don’t put the whole story in the subject line. With people’s attention rates continuing to decline, you should expect your recipient to spend less than a few seconds on deciding whether to read your email.

Think about how you scroll through emails and determine how long you spend reading one subject line. If you spend more time reading your line than others, it’s too long.

State the content

Stating the content contained within the email is a good way to get right to the point, and including photos or videos can lead to a 42% click-through rate. Letting recipients know that the info contained within the email is interactive and faster than reading will entice them to open your emails, so make sure your subscribers know what they are getting. Say something like “Video: Summarized Earnings Report” over “Earnings Report.”

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Use intriguing words

Using tasteful language can increase the opening rate. Don’t go overboard, but try using unique, less commonly heard language. Instead of saying “Learn How To Use a Camera With Us!” say something like “Capture Images and Memories With Us.” can be a helpful tool in your arsenal. Before you use possibly inflammatory words, be aware of the audience you are sending your email to and verify your words won’t upset anyone. 

Use announcements

Celebrate as much as possible when writing an email subject line. Any time you can share an announcement, especially when it comes to impacting the customer, do it. Announce giveaways, competition winners, a new app update and whatever else you can celebrate with your audience. Just make sure it impacts them personally so they have a reason to dig into what you have shared. 

Include deadlines

Adding a sense of urgency is a good way to increase open rates. These dates do need to be played correctly, however. Having a date too far out will make the reader know they have time. Setting a deadline for a few days or 24 hours before the date of your event is much better. Stress your readers out and make sure they know what to do to not miss your awesome event! Hitting your readers with the cliche “Oh No! You Are Running Out of Time!” creates a situation also known as FOMO or fear of missing out.

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Add questions

Spark the recipient’s curiosity with a question. Depending on what type of response you are looking for, a provocative question is always a great way to get a high open rate. Questioning a fundamental belief results in high opens but low PR. Questioning loyalty can result in building confidence or proving statements wrong. Finally, asking how your customer is can improve loyalty to your startup company.


  • Questioning fundamental belief: “Do you trust the media?”
  • Questioning loyalty: “Are you committed to losing 20 pounds?”
  • Questioning the customer: “Are you OK? We can help.”


Technology has created expanded opportunities for personalized experiences when it comes to sending mass emails. We no longer live in the dark ages of stagnant emails, but in the light of unique experiences for each reader. Many email platforms have ways to include recipients’ first names, last names or both in the crafted email and the subject line. When applicable, include your subscribers’ names. Banking emails do this to get your attention on statements, but you don’t see that on ads. Use names to create formality and add personal attention.

Start with verbs

Your subject line is a call to action and ensuring that you include those actions is important to open rates. Your subject line should include a verb, or it lacks the action element of a call to action. Instead of saying “ The Cost of Living is Crazy!” say “Prepare for Astronomical Living Expenses.” The first example is informative, and the second is persuasive and active. It will get a user to wonder why Toronto is so expensive.

Jokes are good

Add a bit of lightheartedness in your emails and show your customers that you aren’t just a business, you are a startup with humans working for it. Like lots of other content, be careful about what joke you make. Someone is bound to get mad for one reason or another, so use proper email etiquette and don’t say anything offensive. The safest jokes are probably aimed at your company. 


Finally, there’s differentiation. Creating different subject lines and A/B testing them is how to differentiate your emails. Most emailing software tools will allow for A/B tests and automatically select the subject line with the higher open rate. A/B testing is also a great learning experience and can help writers know what content their readers want.

The second part of differentiation is creating different subject lines for segmented lists. Giving different audiences content related to their interests will lead to higher open rates. Combining A/B testing with segmented lists can be hard because it requires writing a lot of content, but good software can make it much easier. 


There are a lot of tips here, and many come directly from English class. Remembering these tips can result in much higher open rates of your emails, leading to higher click-through.

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