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Get your subject lines in order

Get your subject lines in order

MarketingFile - Get your subject lines in order

Producing effective, interesting, curious, exciting and personal subject lines for your email campaigns is challenging. You need it to be informative, summarise the email in a couple of words, fun, intriguing, not to hit spam filters and most importantly get your audience to open the email.

Working with many sized companies in a wide variety of verticals has helped us realise where businesses can go wrong with their email subject lines, and through no fault of their own as writing a “good” subject line is hard – even for the more experienced.

Even before creating an attractive email and ensuring the journey beyond flows seamlessly, the subject is the first thing your audience will see and therefore is by far the most important element of your email campaign. It is the clincher as to whether they go on to open and read your email you’ve spent time and money investing in, so don’t waste it with a poor subject line, or even worse by your email getting caught in spam filters and never even reaching them.

Spam detectors

The art of a subject line is to sell your product or service without using words which can get caught by spam filters. We’ve listed a handful of them, although there are many more, so using tools such as subject checker will help give you an idea of what will get caught in spam filters.

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Keep it short and sweet

The length of your subject line counts, keeping it between 20-40 characters will ensure the whole sentence can be seen in most email clients, any longer and you’ll find it will get condensed.


It might only be a short sentence but do not leave out proper punctuation, the first letter should be capitalised – but don’t write the whole thing in CAPITALS as it will get picked up by spam filters or most likely ignored by your reader for being too ‘shouty’. Something else


This follows along from the point above, no matter what you are sending out – email, mail piece, advertisement, SMS you should always spell check. No excuses for poor or misspelt subject lines.


Without writing all in capitals, give your reader a sense of urgency to open the email. However, if you put a time limit on an offer or promotion then you must stick to the end date, people do not like to feel cheated out of a deal. We’d also like to add leave out the exclamation marks, it doesn’t add the urgency you want to create just annoys the reader!!! (see).


Coming from a data background we can only but tell you how personalised messages can improve open and click through rates on a majority of emails, however there are two things to bear in mind:

  1. Get the name right – if you’re not confident in your data then do not use the first name and keep it generic, its better than sending Mr Adam Smith “Paul, a Christmas treat just for you”… oops.
  2. Keep it relevant to that persons shopping habits – if you’re using their name then you should know what they like and offer it to them.

Remember there is no definitive rule when it comes to subject lines, what works for one business might not for another. It all depends on your testing capability, so just keep on testing those subject lines and see what works best for your customers.

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