Want to know the secret to email marketing success? It’s all about the headline. There is nothing more important.

This is pretty ironic, because, if you are like me, your email flow goes a lot like this:

  • Come up with a topic
  • Write the text
  • Pick a picture

With all this in hand, I head to my email marketing tool to copy and paste. But, wait, I don’t have a subject line! I haven’t put thought into the most important element.

Subject Lines that Get Opened

To write a great subject, you need to understand what captures attention and motivates someone to read more.

Be conversational

Write conversationally. Word your subject line in a friendly tone, much as you would if you were writing to a friend. One way to convey this is to write in sentence case (only the first word is capitalized.)

Be emotional

Subject lines that generate an emotional response are far more likely to be opened than logical subject lines. Make the reader be curious, feel urgency, or in need of an answer.

Be specific

Use concrete details because details help capture attention. Details in your subject line grab your reader’s attention and create an emotional response that drives opens. Specificity also creates a sense of credibility.

How Many Words?

Character limit rules for subject lines are usually driven by character display limits in email in boxes rather than by customer behavior. Being emotional and specific is far more important than fitting into a set number of characters.

Your best guide to the ideal length is the preferences of your specific audience. Some audiences like short subject lines. Others prefer longer ones. Try long and short subject lines and see what works best for your readers.

Learn More

For more email marketing inspiration, see these resources: