Best Practices in Writing email Subject Lines
The most effective email subject lines have three essential characteristics: They are short, provide
description, and generate interest from the end user to further explore the contents of the email itself.
Using cheesy terms or words that come across as spammy will not only decrease the likelihood of a user
continuing on beyond the subject line itself, but it will also trigger spam filters and increase complaint
rates with ISP’s.
Remember, the two things a user will look at when opening an email campaign that will determine what
they do next with your email message are the friendly from in the from line and the subject line. If they
do not recognize who is sending them the email message or if the subject line is poorly created, the
likelihood of them ever seeing the message you worked so hard to create is very low.
Here are some of the most common recommendations when choosing a subject line to promote your
1. Avoid using the words “free,” “help,” “% off,” and “reminder.” These words are heavily used and
trigger email filters with most filtering services. You can search online for a list of words to avoid using
in email subject lines. Here is an example of a list of words and phrases to avoid in subject lines:
2. Referencing a location (i.e., a city, community) can help increase open rates.
3. Don’t use the exact same subject line when sending out redundant emails like newsletters that are
sent weekly. It’s ok to use a group of subject lines that you have tested and rotate them, but using the
same subject lines over and over will accelerate lower open rates.
4. Keep your subject lines short while still providing a description of what the email campaign is all
5. Learn from others. Research examples of subject lines that have worked or failed in the past for
others. Get ideas and use what works while avoiding what doesn’t.
6. Test subject lines with free online tools like this one: http://bit.ly/16I7jy. There are many tools you can
use to test a subject line.
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