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Email Marketing tips: How to write Good Subject Header Lines

Published: 29th November 2018

Top 10 tips for writing email marketing subject header lines.

Subject header lines, these are often given the least amount of planning and thought, they are often added quickly right before we press the send button.

The subject header line is the first thing that your recipient sees, infact, if the subject header line doesn’t pique the viewer’s interest, then it’s the only part of your mailer that they will look at.

Competition for your viewer’s attention is fiercer than ever, so it’s more important than ever that you make the right first impression.

So, with that in mind, we’ve put together our top 10 tips to writing great subject header lines.

So let’s dive straight in with number 1:

#1 Promise something Good

It’s important to offer people a really good reason for reading your email, this can be achieved by offering something worthwhile. This could be a product offer, or it could be information. Using this approach, really helps to offer your viewers a strong reason to read on.

#2 Use ‘Power Words’

When we say power words, we are talking about sensory or emotive words to attract attention.

These can be descriptive words, used to convey a sense of urgency or importance, these could be words such as “conquer, remarkable, above and beyond, powerful or demanding”. All of these words can be used to create a powerful; statement or introduction.

#3 Use numbers

By using numbers, we are looking to create something that causes the eye to stop scanning and investigate further. Nowadays we all receive a significant volume of emails, so the aim of the game here is to make the viewer stop and read.

Numbers are a great way of achieving this, in a sea of letters, numbers really stand out.

#4 Pique curiosity

This can be done by asking a question, when you ask a question in your email subject header lone, it has two main benefits:

  1. We, as viewers will want to find out the answer to the question, most of us aren’t able to resist the temptation of finding out the answer to a question.

  2. A question requires the use of a question mark, using a symbol in your subject header line has the same effect as a using a number. – it really helps to make your subject header stand out

#5 Keep things simple

It’s important to make your point quickly and word it in such a way that the point of your communication can be clearly understood.

This is a really important one to observe, overly complicated or truncated subject header lines will really kill your read rates. Make you point quickly.

#6 Point out common mistakes

We all like to learn something that makes us a bit better at what we do, by pointing out the common pitfalls of a certain activity or role we can achieve this.

For example:
“the common mistakes made when interviewing candidates”
– by offering advice on how to avoid these pitfalls, your viewer will be tempted to read on.

#7 Don’t be afraid to experiment

The great thing about email marketing is that your results are easily visible with campaign statistics, this means that we can try different approaches and easily see which one of these perform the best with our target audience.

#8 Be adventurous

At any one time, you inbox will more than likely contain at least one newsletter that has a subject header line “latest news form XYZ ltd” or “latest offers from XYZ”, whilst this may deliver the point of the mailer quickly, it’s not particularly interesting

So, with your next newsletter, don’t just send it out entitled ‘newsletter’, try to come up with some a little more dynamic, something that really shouts ‘ READ ME’

#9 Learn from other people

Your inbox will contain lots of mailers and potential inspiration for your next campaign.

Think about which mailers you chose to read, what as it in the subject header line that prompted you to want to read on. This is a great way of learning how to improve your own email marketing and often overlooked. Your own inbox is one of the best learning resources that you have access to.

#10 Use symbols

As we’ve previously discussed, having something in your subject header line that catches the eye of the viewer is a great way to make your email stand out.

Emoji’s are a great way to do this, you can cut and paste these into your subject header line. We’ve all become accustom to using these in our text messaging, so using these in our email marketing is a great way to stand out.


Ok, so there we are. That’s our run down of the top ten ideas to try with your subject header lines.

Why not give these a go with your marketing and let us know how you got on.
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In this week's email marketing tips video, we take a look at how to write good email subject header lines. It's often overlooked, but incredibly important, this is often what your viewer will make their decision to read your email on. In this video, we run down the top ten tips to write really good subject header lines. Try employing some of these in your next email marketing campaigns and watch your open rates improve.
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