7 Tips on Writing Email Subject Lines That Will Boost Open Rates

May 15, 2014 Monika Jansen

Email subject lines

Writing email subject lines is as much art as science. Because there’s so much room to be creative, the art of writing email subject lines completely smothers the science of writing one. The science – what works and what doesn’t – is what really matters, though.

So I did some research around the science of writing email subject lines and found this study. I rooted around some more and found even more useful tips on Business Insider. Here’s what I learned:

1. Never use these 4 words

Want your email to be ignored? Then use “free,” “percent off,” “help” and “reminder,” because email recipients hit delete when these words pop up. Case in point: Open rates don’t go above 11% for emails that use these words.

2. Personalization is out, localization is in

Including the recipient’s name in an email subject line doesn’t improve open rates, but including a location, like a city or neighborhood, does. Go figure!

3. Switch up newsletter subject lines

If you send out a newsletter, change the subject line. That means you can’t be lazy and title each one “ABC Company Newsletter.” Instead, give the recipients an idea of the fabulous, interesting, and valuable information they’ll find inside.

4. Keep the subject line to 50 characters

Shorter subject lines (50 characters or less) perform better. The exception? Highly targeted audiences like more information.

5. Identify yourself in the “from” line

This is such a no-brainer to me, but it’s amazing how many people send emails without making it clear what company they’re with. If your email recipients will not immediately recognize your name, definitely use your company name.

6. Put important words at the beginning

Because so much email is read on mobile phones and mobile phones only show 25-30 characters in an email subject line, put your most important words at the beginning.

7. Offer value

I love this tip from Kipp Bodnar, a VP at HubSpot: Your subject line “should be focused on one action. Offer one takeaway, indicate how the reader can make use of it, and specify how you will deliver it.”

What else have you done to improve your email open rates? Share your tips below!

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Image courtesy of blogs.bronto.com

Author information

Monika Jansen

Monika Jansen

Monika Jansen is a freelance copywriter and editor who helps with companies of all shapes on sizes kick their content up to the next level. You can find her online at www.jansencomm.com.

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