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Asked a question 3 years ago

how to write a good subject line for email marketing? What are the best practices?

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A good subject line makes a difference between whether 100 people or 1000 people read your mail. It has the biggest impact on all the underlying metrics because that is the starting point for a user. Amongst hundreds of mails, a user decides to pick and choose the mails he wants to read. And if you miss out on capturing their attention right then, it is a lost opportunity.

Best practices for a good subject line include:

  • Personalize
  • Don’t mislead 
  • Avoid generic sender names
  • Keep it precise 
  • Add an element of mystery/surprise

So, how do you write a great subject line? What are the best practices? Let’s deep dive.


Personalization is a proven technique that works, whether be it the mail body or the subject line. Using the person’s name in the subject line is a great way to immediately catch their attention. It also makes the user feel special among several generic emails. Another level of personalization can be done based on the user’s preferences and behaviour, both of which are highly targeted and work wonders.

Don't mislead

It is a common practice to promise one thing in the subject line and deliver none of it inside the mail body. That always leads to frustration on the user’s end and if it happens repeatedly, they would either unsubscribe or simply stop opening your emails at all. Your loyal users would be disappointed with it too. When they are misled by a fake subject line, they would feel cheated and nobody likes that experience.

Avoid generic sender names

A lot of email marketers avoid focusing on sender names but when users are deciding which emails to read, this is an important factor too. Adding a personal touch to the sender name and avoiding generic names goes a long way. Many marketers add a person’s name. For e.g. ‘Harry from Intercom’. This does two things really well. It adds a human feeling to automated emails and it shows the user what brand has sent it.

Keep it precise

We all know that email subject lines are only visible up to a few words based on the client your users are using. And in mobile, the word count is even less. So, to entice your users within the first 4-5 words is key. Also, it is always a good idea to keep your subject line very short and very precise. No fluff words, just the real context and a good way to put it.

The element of surprise

We all like an element of surprise or mystery while we are opening emails. Don’t reveal everything in your subject line. Make it engaging but mysterious enough so that readers click on it to open and view the mail. And if you do it in a good way consistently, your open rates would shoot up eventually. Many marketers have started using emojis and it’s a great way to engage the millennial audience.

These are some quick and handy tips to follow while you’re writing the next subject line. Although email content matters a lot, a great subject line increases the possibility of it being read in the first place, so it has a significant value.