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5 Tips to Improve Your Subject Lines

It can be frustrating and annoying that email open rates are lower than average.  So it never hurts to quickly recap top tips and industry best practise to help keep your subject lines performing well.

TIP 1: Length

The number 1 tip to help improve your next subject line is to

Keep it short !

It is always tempting to try and pack everything into the subject line, thinking that this is all a person might read. This might be true, but all email clients, such as Outlook or Gmail only allow for an average of 40 characters to be displayed anyway. Everything after this is hidden until after the email is opened. For example:

Free webinar: Learn how to mitigate against unavoidable revenue loss with our revenue assurance service


Free webinar: Learn how to mitigate agai…

 Make sure the first 40 characters count !

TIP 2: Use Keywords

Since your message must be short, it’s imperative you focus on

Keywords of interest

People skim through subject lines, bland words that are essentially padding are a poor use of your 40 characters. If you know the subject area, you should know critical keywords. If you don’t – Google is your friend. In our example, googling “lost revenue” brings up:

“Profit, Loss and Sales”.

Good candidates to use as “eye magnets” in the subject line.

TIP 3: Urgency

You want your reader to open your email NOW. If its unread for 24 hours, it will likely never be read.

Without a sense of needing to act quickly, the email will drop down the readers mental priority list.  Having a time limit is important to encourage action.

Create a deadline

Tomorrow, 24 hours left, last chance are all good ways to stimulate a sense of urgency.

TIP 4: Fear of Missing Out

The fear of missing out is more powerful than the thought of receiving something good.  For example:

  1. Something good: “Revenue assurance can mitigate sales loses”.
  2. FOMO: “CFOs are protecting themselves against sales loses”.

Immediately a reader is curious HOW the CFO is protecting themselves and doesn’t want to miss the chance to do the same.

Fear is more powerful that safety

TIP 5: A/B Testing

Keep it short, use keywords, create urgency and a fear of missing out. But sometimes, an audience can behave in unexpected ways.

No two audiences are the same

This is why A/B testing is absolutely critical to any campaign.  Test different keywords, an urgent message and a non-urgent one. Test fear and a positive message.

On average, our tips are correct, but maybe your audience is weird tongue-out, so always test, review and test again.

Tools to help

To help guide you in a good direction, there are some tools that try to analyse your subject line and give feedback. Two we like are:

CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer


They can give good advice, but always A/B test for your particular, beautiful audience! Don’t forget to visit our main page on improving open rates, with more advice.

Get in touch and tell us what you need !

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Useful information includes any custom keywords or what roles, markets and skills are of interest.

Any extra information you can provide will help us create the best email list for your requirement.

We look forward to hearing from you.