Writing Catchy Email Subject Lines

By: Dave Nicosia

January 3, 2017

If your company has any sort of email campaign that you keep up with, you know the struggle of writing a subject line that your readers are actually interested in.

Email inboxes are overstuffed with emails from companies like yours, all competing for the same small attention span.

So to get the attention of your consumer, you have to make sure that your email subject lines are interesting and catchy.

We have compiled a list of 15 useful tips for writing email subject lines. When you consider them, think about your business and whether your company’s image would be compatible with that particular strategy. Some are pretty general, but others are likely to work better for some people than others.

Think about your business and whether your company’s image would be compatible with that particular strategy

Keep them under 50 characters: about 5-7 words. Ever tried to view a long subject line for an email on a mobile device? It’s a pain. You want your subject lines to transcend devices. Also, the shorter the subject is, the more likely it can be read in a glance and thus, read at all.

No spammy language. Go into your ‘junk’ email account. You know the one: it’s the one you sign up for inevitable random things with. If you’ve cleaned it out recently, check your trash folder and look at the language that annoys you. If it annoys you, it will likely annoy your subscribers as well.

Ask questions. If you ask a question in your subject line, you will likely pique the interest of the reader. They want to know the answer to the question, and are more likely to open up the email to see what the answer is.

Include a deadline. A deadline inspires a feeling of urgency in the reader to hurry up and take the action you indicate.

Try a teaser. Similarly to the way questions work, teasers pique the curiosity of the reader, convincing them to open your email to learn more.

Giving commands works very similarly to deadlines. They inspire urgency, and most people are fairly responsive to general, simple commands.

Put a number in the subject line. Your brain is more likely to be interested in “21 Ways to Improve your SEO” than “Ways to improve your SEO.” These list posts are very useful to promote an email being read.

Make an announcement. Have something important to say about your company or your products? Announce it in an email. People are more likely to read an email that contains some sort of special announcement.

Be unique. This seems simple, but is actually extremely difficult. Your readers are bombarded with up to hundreds of emails like yours daily. You need to stand out if you want your emails read.

Tell a joke. People like positivity, they like to laugh and be happy. You can even tell a joke with the punchline inside the email. This encourages opening the email as well.

Say something unexpected. The surprise will interest the readers.

Mention offers in the subject line. People are interested in offers, especially if they’re for email customers only. Emailed coupons with barcodes within the body of the email are a good option, especially if users can have them scanned from their smartphones.

Speak to them as people. Email subject lines that are condescending or speak to large groups are less effective than focusing on individuals. Make it personal, there are ways to have a person’s first name in the subject line.

Mention news and social news. They want something that’s engaging, that applies to their daily lives. Mentioning the news keeps your information current, and keeps your emails interesting. However, avoid topics that are too controversial!

Put important words at the beginning of the subject line. When you’re skimming your emails, you do just that: skim. Placing important words near the beginning allow for people to have a better sense of what you’re trying to convey.

In short, you need to be unique and concise. Writing email subject lines can be a time consuming and frustrating process, but can yield good results in your marketing campaign.