10 Tips To Write Awesome Email Subject Lines (That Won’t End Up In The Trash)

Emails are probably the only exception to the phrase ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’.

We are bombarded with email after email in our inbox everyday, and most of them get swiped straight to the trash. The subject line is the first thing you’ll see, so it’s extra important to write the perfect one in order to stand out from the sea of emails in your inbox.

There are several characteristics of a subject line that you should aim for. It has to be compelling enough to make you open the email, short and concise enough not to get cut off on mobile devices, and unique enough to compete with the other emails you’re receiving.

If you’re at a loss of how to craft the perfect email subject line, we’ve got you covered with these tips, along with real examples from my own inbox:

Be urgent

Subject lines with urgent, time-sensitive offers often get opened more than those without. This is because creating a sense of urgency can push people to take action, in this case to click on your email. This also takes advantage of the readers’ fear of missing out (or FOMO for short) by including a deadline and encouraging them to click on your email ASAP.


Be personal

Most readers love when emails are directed to them, by including things like their name, interests, previous activity, etc. In fact, personalized subject lines that include names are more likely to be opened than those without. Personalisation comes off as you having an understanding and closeness with your readers, which in turn increases your email open rate.


Be concise

Most of us check our emails on our phones and we all know how subject lines can get annoyingly cut off. A good guideline to adhere to is keeping your subject below 50 characters long, so as to look good on all devices. But remember to also include the necessary information to reel in the reader as well.


Be timely

The time in which you send out your email is also vital to how likely it will be opened.  Sending an email about local restaurants with weekday lunch sets is probably not the best to be sent at 9pm on a Saturday. Instead, sending it just before lunchtime on a weekday will guarantee some hungry readers wanting to find out more.

This email was sent out a few hours before the incredibly hyped boxing match between KSI and Logan Paul. Curious readers opened the email to see what they could find out about the match beforehand.


Be exclusive

Everyone likes feeling special, which you should take into account when writing your subject lines. Including phrases like ‘Exclusive offer’, ‘Private sale’, ‘For your eyes only’ are a great way to pique your readers’ interest and get them to read your email.


Be factual

Try to include numbers or stats in your email subjects to help yourself come across as more trustworthy and straightforward, and avoid vague subjects that people wouldn’t be interested to click on. By displaying a clear message, you’re setting expectations for the content of your email, not to mention that including numbers is an effective practice to use outside of emails too.


Be free

Who doesn’t like to hear the word ‘FREE’? Include this in your subject line (if you are actually giving something away for free, of course) as a sure-fire way to get your readers to click out of curiosity and see how they themselves can get free stuff.


Be intriguing

Asking a question or being mysterious through your subject line can make your readers do a double-take and open your email to satisfy their own curiosity. This could instantly engage your reader and create a dialogue with them. It’s important to note that you should always ask open-ended questions, so they will read your email to find the answer.


Be clever and funny

Having a clever, humorous subject line is always a good idea, because who doesn’t like a good joke or pun? Catchy emails are great for helping you stand out amongst the crowd, but be careful with your humor though. Be careful not to confuse your audience or alienate them.


Be unique

Try thinking of different ways to stand out in your reader’s inbox. Use emojis, fully lower-case or upper-case titles, one-word subject lines, etc. For example, using emojis in your email subject results in 56% higher open rate. Use your creativity to attract attention and not let your email end up being deleted.


Use these tips to up your email marketing game and ensure your messages get through to your customers without ending up in the trash.

ThunderQuote is the most comprehensive business services portal in Singapore, Australia and ASEAN , where hundreds of thousands of dollars of procurement contracts are sourced every month by major companies like Singapore Press Holdings, National Trade Union Congress and more.

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